Everyone likes to feel like they’re in on a secret or an exclusive spot they’re the first to know about. As Australia’s (and arguably all of Oceania’s) undisputed capital of urban cool, Melbourne is home to more than its fair share of buzzing laneways which have been brought to life over recent decades through vibrant street art, sharp dressed locals and an intoxicating array of edgy bars, cafes and word class eateries. Yes, Melburnians can get a little snobby about their “cultural capital” title, but it’s for a good reason, with this city’s famous coffee culture setting the standard overseas. After poking our head into the city’s web of backstreets and laneways, True Local are happy to serve you this list of Melbourne’s best hidden cafes:
103 Albion Street, Brunswick VIC
Not necessarily hidden, A Minor Place is still an unexpected find on Albion Road in Melbourne’s grungy northside neighbourhood of Brunswick. Set in one of the old fashioned early 20th century weatherboard houses that characterise much of Melbourne’s inner north, A Minor Place offers loyal locals a relaxed, unpretentious space to enjoy a delicious catch up meal with friends or a quiet coffee ahead of a busy day. How about the goods on offer? Start off your day with Sauteed Chilli Mushroom Dukkah ($18), followed by a Nourish Bowl for lunch ($16.50) and washed down with a calming Chai Latte ($4).
“This cosy little cafe/house is located on what seems like the back streets of Brunswick. We just happened to stumble across it one morning heading into the city for breakfast. Firstly the staff are quirky and love a bit of banter, which is a nice experience. The coffee is amazing, and their breakfasts are not your standard… but everything is super tasty! Worth taking some time out of your day to check it out” – ArtVandelay
585 Canning Street, Carlton North VIC
Set in a charming, run down milk bar with strong industrial chic vibes in Melbourne’s cosmopolitan Carlton North, Café Bü was opened in 2014 by mother and son duo Amanda and Nick Büsst to give their neighbourhood yet another quality coffee option. Whilst not hidden down a CBD laneway, Café Bü is far enough off the beaten track of Melbourne’s main thoroughfares to warrant a mention in this article. For those seeking a bite to fuel their day, popular choices include Eggs on Toast ($12) and Smashed Avo on Toast ($17), whilst fine brews include Five Sense Coffee ($4 a pop) and Cold Pressed Juice ($7 each).
“This place is so nice with a lovely balcony. The cafe is great for a sunny day. My friends and I often go here for a coffee or to just hang out. Staff are very nice here! Once I came here and they forgot about my drink so they made it up to us and gave us a free cookie which was really nice! I would definitely recommend this place, especially if you want to take pictures for Instagram” – Lolaraean9
12 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Street Melbourne VIC
Nestled in an intimate nook in Campbell Arcade, below Melbourne’s busy Flinders Street Station, Cup of Truth is reminiscent of the great subway cafes found in New York City in its urban attitude. Tiny in size (this café is literally a hole in the wall), Cup of Truth has been serving up world class brews to the city’s commuters for a number of years now, with their simple menu covering regular Coffee ($4 for small), Espresso at $3 a pop, Filtered Coffee at $4 a pop, Slices for $4.50, Cookies for $3.50 and Doughnuts for $5 each.
“Superb coffees situated inside entrance/exit to city railway station. Owner was super friendly even in busy times” – jarrahblue
20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne VIC
Hipster as can be, Krimper is one of the newer additions to Melbourne’s vibrant coffee/laneway hospitality scene, having opened in an old warehouse in 2016 in the CBD’s Guildford Lane. With its owner Mun Soon a designer and architect himself, Krimper’s interior design is one of its most important features – as can be seen through its artful use of minimal lighting, water blasted brick walls and tastefully rustic furniture. As for the food itself, top menu picks range from Smoked Salmon Scram ($19), a decadent Brekkie Platter ($22) whilst coffee choices include a simple Flat White for $4 to fancy Filtered Coffee for $6.
“I’ve lived in the city for near on 3 years now and this is still my favorite breakfast spot. An incredibly beautiful restaurant, fantastic coffee, and a constantly rotating menu that shows a passion for innovation and quality” – InnerWestWayne
11-13 Stawell Street, West Melbourne VIC
First opened in November 2010 as a 3 stool takeaway coffee shop, situated in what was once a tool shed in grungy West Melbourne, the Roller Door Café has now grown to include a full commercial kitchen, heated courtyard, a cosy dining area and a ‘roller door larder’ that showcases top items currently for sale. Nestled just off busy Dynon Road that connects the city centre with the increasingly gentrified Inner West, Roller Door serves up small plates perfect for sharing – like their Black Bean Tacos ($5), colourful Acai Bowls for brekkie ($15), Espresso Syndicate coffees from $3.50 and a selection of fresh cocktails at a reasonable price.
“Had a long black, chicken tacos and huge backyard tea in the very cool back yard. Friendly staff great food offering and specialty coffee up there with Melbourne’s best. Definitely worth a visit” – Harry Humphries