Be spoiled for choice as you browse the restaurants and bars of this atmospheric dining district, hidden in a laneway in Melbourne’s CBD.
True to the city’s reputation for hiding its treasures down secret alleyways, one of Melbourne’s finest dining districts is tucked away in Hardware Lane. This inner-city laneway offers a pocket of excellent restaurants and bars along a pedestrianised strip. Get swept up in the atmosphere of this buzzing district and take your pick from a selection of international and contemporary restaurants while local buskers play live jazz.
While many of the restaurants in Hardware Lane are open for lunch, the laneway truly comes alive at night. Swinging lanterns and the orange flames of gas heaters illuminate the strip of sheltered outdoor dining areas and give the lane a warm ambiance. Walk up and down the lane, browsing the menus and specialties of each restaurant. From traditional Italian and French fare to contemporary pan-Asian dishes, Hardware Lane has a wide selection of dining options. Wait staff may offer you special deals on wines or starter dishes to help you with your decision.
The best seats in Hardware Lane are at the outdoor tables that spill into the laneway itself. After you have chosen a restaurant and taken a seat, you can experience the lane’s nighttime mood and people-watch. Sit back and enjoy intriguing dishes paired with local wines.
Many nights of the week, a rotating collection of musicians congregates outside the restaurants and plays easy jazz tunes while you dine. Some restaurants offer live music entertainment indoors, too. If you enjoy the music, don’t forget to tip or purchase a CD.
After dinner, try barhopping down Hardware Lane and try a range of local or imported wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks. Order delicious cocktails or try beers that are brewed in nearby neighbourhoods.
Hardware Lane is open daily for free, although different restaurants and bars will have different opening hours. The lane is pedestrianised between 11.00am and 11.00pm. Approximately halfway between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street in Melbourne’s downtown area, Hardware Lane runs north to south and is bordered by Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street. The nearest train station is Melbourne Central, located approximately 8-minutes’ walk away, and trams operate on the lane’s adjacent streets.