In the final edition of our Melbourne Survival Guide, we have a different format, and a special guest Melbournian to run you through some great coffee places.
Introducing Michael “EmJaeCaer” Carmody of Legacy Esports to give you his perspective crossing good coffee over with some alley bashing.
The true art of the alley bash, has a few key rules.
– You must minimise the usage of MAJOR East-West roads, if it has “Little” in the name then you are good.
– You are not allowed to use a Major North-South road at all. This defeats the entire purpose of exploring the nooks and crannies of this amazing city.
– You must get lost and backtrack your steps at least twice.
Click the Google Maps icons to open the app direct to any of these locations!
Alley bashing was highlighted in the last Survival Guide and so I aim to prove just why this particular activity is very Melbourne and well worth the investment of your time.
Start at the Elizabeth St exit of Flinders St station, and cross over into Degraves St. This is your first Melbourne Alley. Breathe it in. But this is touristy, we are going deep folks, hold onto your belt buckles.
On your way through is Tulip Coffee with an orange aesthetic I can’t help but feel Tim Wendel’s Dutch influences. It’s a cramped hole in the wall and the coffee is okay. This will become a theme.
Degraves Espresso is just up the alley and is very iconic and touristy. Escape North onto Flinders Lane. Just across is Centre Place. It’s a very Harry Potter-like alley yielding to a more commercial plaza as you approach Collins St. Cross Collins St, and head a little left to find the amazing tiled mosaic walkways of The Block Arcade. As always take your time to admire all the details crafted into these buildings.
Through to Little Collins and ‘head west young person’ until you cross Elizabeth St and hit Industry Beans. It has a pristine aesthetic which brooks no confusion that coffee is a process to be perfected through precise craft. It’s a stronger brew using their “Coffee on Tap” process that will amaze you with how quick your coffee arrives fresh and hot, they have a distinct bean roasting flavour from their own beans.
Further down Little Collins heading West, opposite the famous 8bit is a smaller coffee place that’s part of a chain, called ‘Ina Rush’ with okay coffee (too much sweetened almond milk, overpowers the coffee) “for Melbourne”. But it’s one I can recommend for a wide range of fresh soups ready to go, a key comfort in Melbourne’s amazing climate. Here we are near the legal heart of town, there will be many suits. GG EZ is a sparrow’s fart around the corner, but that’s for tonight!
Head North on McKillop St and cross Bourke St. Head for the Maccas grab a cheeky snack if you need, and head up Hardware Lane. Once you hit Little Bourke, turn right.
Now for my pick of the Best Coffee Place. Brother Baba Budan.
You will walk past it. Probably twice, despite the gold lettering on the window. The quintessential Melbourne hole in the wall, with a sterling reputation.
Very smooth and very distinctive roast. They revel in their own flavour and create a distinctive quality coffee that you won’t find anywhere else. Savour it, I am sorry for destroying your coffee experience forevermore by comparison.
East on Little Bourke towards the shopping district heart of Melbourne. Venture here with a blindfolded partner and stout hip pocket. Navigate the entrance past H&M, and head north into the shopping centre, ducking past Uniqlo and keep threading your way through this shiny, over polished merchant maze until you emerge onto Lonsdale St under neath the pedestrian bridge into Melbourne Central OR are walking across it. Avert your eyes from the unholy perversion that is Nespresso. Cross into Melbourne Central the left ventricle of Melbourne’s shopping heart, with a nod to T2 for the non coffee plebs out there as you pass through.
Cross Little Lonsdale and approach the northernmost natural boundary of Melbourne’s CBD grid, Melbourne Central through to Latrobe St. North of here we start to morph into Carlton, Brunswick and the University precincts, but without limiting the scope, this article would never end. EB Games is here, as well as the underground Melbourne Central station connecting you to anywhere else (except of course, the airport…) make sure to reach the atrium on the hour to observe the cheesy and touristy show put on by the giant watch opposite the lead shot tower.
Now for the return journey. Head East from the watch and emerge on Swanston St and cross to the State Library lawn. The library itself is worth a visit but onward we travel for now.
Skirt around the entrance of the Library to the south east, and past Strike Bowling Bar and back into Little Lonsdale heading east. We’re heading for the Paris end of town.
Cross over Russell St, and head down Hayward Lane. Cross Lonsdale and look really hard for Corrs Lane. Yes it is the tiny crack between two Asian food places. Head south,and we are into the heart of China Town.
Left on Little Bourke and then after 100m right into Market Lane. A beer at Hofbrauhaus is acceptable at this point.
You emerge on to Bourke St, cross carefully as we are at the Business End of Melbourne. Walk across the plaza of Southern Cross Lane, don’t make eye contact with anyone. Most people here are soulless corporate types and public servants. AXIL coffee roasters used to be indie and Melbourne hipster. But became too successful and now run shops in places like this. Coffee is STILL better than Sydney’s though.
A quick dogleg into Pink Lane and if your bold cut through Collins Quarter to emerge on Collins St. Otherwise for a less trespass-ey feel you can walk down exhibition street. Or the 120 Collins St building lobby. This is the Parisian boutique end of Melbourne and the centre of its Commercial heart. Enter the lobby of 101 Collins St, admire the art, but head for the rear entrance onto Flinders Lane.
Garden State Hotel is a great venue, non gaming related for a lunchtime meal and beer. But we are here for one reason only.
This is the beginning of Melbourne graffiti mural laneways. Amazing art, stupid taggers, official and unofficial, it’s a very unique part of the Melbourne CBD. Walk west on Flinders Lane and cross over Russel St again. A nod to Chin Chin for AMAZING food, if you can fit it in and afford it, your taste buds will thank you, and forgive you for or all the crap you made them endure in your life thus far.
Just over Russell St is the last southward alley to bash in our epic journey. Hosier Lane
Epic art, and many people taking photos. Oh and the bloody Culture Kings store who stupidly thought their entrance wouldn’t get tagged opening a store in a graffiti lane. smdh.
Grab a coffee from the Youth Projects to support a good cause and reward yourself for experiencing Melbourne in the best way possible. South of here is the previously Snowball mentioned ACMI, in Fed Square, which is just across from Flinders St Station our departure point.
Thank you for taking this trip around Melbourne with me!
What this is, is a guide for you to follow, get lost, and discover Melbourne’s unique charm. Use this a signpost, and understand why I advocate for this amazing city as strongly as I do.
That does it for the Melbourne Survival Guide from Snowball Esports. Be sure to grab your tickets to the Melbourne Esports Open if you haven’t already.
This article was not sponsored by any of the featured locations.