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If you had a dollar for every time Centre Place has been photographed by tourists, you'd be very rich indeed. Lined by hole-in-the-wall cafes, reminiscent of somewhere Continental such as Rome, this laneway offers a variety of food experiences topped with buskers and street art.
It's at its best at lunchtime, when foodie highlights include ShanDong MaMa Mini, Chinese dumpling specialists (facebook.com/shandongmama); The Soup Place, serving from big pots arrayed on shelves; Jungle Juice (facebook.com/junglejuice.bar.1), with its bagels and fresh juices; Cafe Vicolino, with a menu of wraps, panini and other popular dishes; and Aix Creperie, delivering a range of sweet and savoury crepes to its snug two-person tables.
Other assets include City Snippers, an old school barber's shop with a 100 year old timber barber's chair; and the bar pleasures of Hell's Kitchen, located above the shops.
This sloping alley set with rough bluestone paving stones is the epicentre of Melbourne's street art scene. There are always visitors huddled along here taking photos, as the walls are like a textbook featuring every sort of street art - tags, paste-ups, stencils and enormous colourful murals. The art is even more concentrated in connected Rutledge Lane, which wraps back to Hosier in a U-shape.
If you'd like to double-up on the Melbourne experience by combining street art and good coffee, the café Good 2 Go (facebook.com/Good2GoCoffee) is located halfway down. It's connected to The Living Room project, which provides healthcare and support for homeless and other disadvantaged people.
Melbourne has never forgotten the day in 1976 that AC/DC rode along Swanston Street on a truck to film a video clip for It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll). The legendary band was later immortalised by the renaming of this laneway.
Beyond the street sign with its distinctive lightning slash, the musical traditions of the lane are upheld by Cherry (cherrybar.com.au). This popular live music venue hosts rock and roll bands.
At the bottom of the alley is Peruvian restaurant Pastuso (pastuso.com.au), within a big airy interior with coloured floor tiles. As the laneway curves around to become Duckboard Place, you'll find Tonka (tonkarestaurant.com.au) serving contemporary Indian cuisine. One more turn brings you to Mary Fortune (maryfortune.com.au), a wine bar paying homage to Melbourne's first female crime writer.
Why should Chinatown miss out on the Melbourne laneway fun? This narrow alleyway lined with old brick buildings has plenty of atmosphere by night.
Entering from Little Bourke Street, the first eatery is Rice Workshop (riceworkshop.com.au), serving tasty Japanese street food. Further up is Gaylord (gaylordindianrestaurant.com.au), an old-school North Indian restaurant.
However, the stars of Tattersalls are a string of Shanghai-style Chinese restaurants. The most popular of these is the Shanghai Dumpling House, outside which you'll often find queues.
Finish the evening at Section 8 (section8.com.au), an open-air venue where the drinks are served from a converted shipping container. A classier choice upstairs is Ferdydurke (ferdydurke.com.au), serving Russian-style dumplings and upmarket hot dogs, along with cocktails and nightly music from DJs.
This laneway off the top of Bourke Street is a distillation of everything the city's small bar scene has to offer. Within a short stumbling distance are several great drinking holes, including the city's oldest laneway bar, Meyers Place (meyersplace.com.au).
The austere modern interior of Loop Bar (looponline.com.au) doubles as an arts venue, hosting film events and music gigs. A rooftop outpost, Loop Roof (looprooftopbar.com.au), is a cocktail bar and restaurant with impressive city views.
Lily Black's (lilyblacks.com.au) revives the golden age of cocktails via its deco interior and inventive drinks, while San Telmo (santelmo.com.au) serves Argentinian cuisine. The longest-lived food option here is the Waiters Club, which has been serving simple Italian dishes since the 1940s.
Like a hot soak? The laneway is also home to traditional Japanese bathhouse Onsen Ma (onsenma.com.au).
This brick-paved laneway can resemble a tourist trap with its insistent touts, but its outdoor seating beneath old warehouse facades is an atmospheric place to dine.
By night there's live music to accompany the food and drink. Amigos (amigos.com.au) serves Mexican dishes along with tequila and tapas; Il Nostro Posto (ilnostroposto.com.au) dishes up Italian food; Aloi Na (aloina.net.au) serves Thai cuisine; and newcomer Kirk's Wine Bar (kirkswinebar.com) has a great drinks list.
In a basement near the Lonsdale Street end, Golden Monkey (goldenmonkey.com.au) is an Asian-themed bar with a glamorous candlelit interior. The drabber Bourke Street end is enlivened by Campari House (camparihouse.com.au), serving Italian food and cocktails. Its rooftop bar is a cosy place to wind up your Melbourne laneway explorations, with a pizza on the table and a beer in hand.