What I love about Melbourne is that nothing is predictable or ordinary, especially in the laneways; “The harder it is to find, the groovier it will be,” says one local.
On Russell Place in the center of Melbourne, through an unassuming front door is the wonderful Gin Palace, a basement bar of crushed velvet, deep leather chairs and animal prints. There are 60 gins on the menu and a cool, relaxed vibe, like stumbling into a gorgeous living room where there is an amazing party in full swing.
Other hangouts are just pure whimsy. Chuckle Park, in a tiny lane off Little Collins Street, describes itself as “one of the shiniest diamonds in the rough that is Melbourne’s laneway scene” and is, in fact, eccentricity itself; a fake grass floor, red plastic seating, plants growing in jars strung overhead and a vintage caravan at one end dispensing jugs of Sangria, sliders and meatballs. A statue of the Virgin Mary perches on top of the caravan, swathed in plastic flower garlands. Lunchtime crowds are drinking merrily.
On Tattersalls Lane, there is an even weirder bar, Section8, housed in an old container with wooden palettes for seats and abundant graffiti. Potted palms soften the grungy look, while urban grooves entertain a crowd who act as though it is perfectly normal to be sitting in what is effectively a wire cage, on bits of old wood.
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