Little Collins Street is one of Melbourne’s best lane-ways. The ‘Little Streets’ were originally built as service access for the grand avenue style city streets (like Collins Street) and these impressive lane-ways have become the much loved icons of our grand city.
I often remark that one of the best ways to see Melbourne in an hour is to walk Little Collins from King to Spring Streets. You will find Melbourne’s best assortment of great things on this lane-way. Starting on Little Collins near the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is one of my favourite restaurant/bar combinations Bistro Vue and Bar Vue. At Bistro Vue you’ll find some of the best classic French food with a bit of an Aussie twist. Bar Vue is a wonderful place for champagne and oysters and the tarte tatin is the best in Melbourne, so bring your sweet tooth. Just across the road is another great watering hole called Dikstein’s Corner Bar. It is an easy going casual place for wine or beers and some great pizza. Melbourne’s oldest pub, The Mitre Tavern, is just down the lane from Dikstein’s and you get the feel you are back in the 1880’s at this historic pub. You can also try the Saint and Rogue pub which is also close to the hotel. It is one of my favourite watering holes and has a English pub atmosphere.
A little further down the street and you will see a wonderful bricked lane-way called McKillop Street. Here you will find Red Spice Road which is a modern Asian restaurant. For Australian Master Chef fans you will notice three gigantic paintings of Po who is the owner’s partner. If you prefer Yum Cha you will find the fabulous Oriental Tea House just around the corner.
If shopping is more your thing, Little Collins is perfectly suited to a great Melbourne adventure. Start with one of my favourite boutiques Canturi Jewels. Their jewellery is typically either organic or geometric in design and these world famous pieces have shown up in movies like Australia, The Matrix and Moulin Rouge. Their showroom is all windows so you can even have a browse without entering the store. My tip is to take the plunge and enter so you can enjoy the best of Australian design. You really will be able to appreciate the world class quality of their pieces.
For clothing there are several great shops on Little Collins. A favourite haute style boutique is Assin, filled with European and Japanese designers. This basement’s minimalist space has some of the best fashion in town for both men and women, so look for the red paint splotch on the window before descending into fashion paradise.
In the Royal Arcade find the small sign for Marais named after the fashionable district in Paris. Follow the stairs to the first floor for their men’s fashion boutique. Here you will find some of the best designers on the planet (Marais also has a brand new flagship store for women on Bourke Street). Still craving more fashion, head upstairs one more flight for the Somewhere Store for urban chic fashions for him and her.
Up the top end of Little Collins you will find Eastern Market Fabrica another fashion forward favourite for Melbourne’s in the know crowd. It’s down McGrath’s Lane at 61 Little Collins. Some other favourites are Nudie Jeans; Rap Products for gifts; and Jay Dillon for jubilant menswear, shoes and accessories. For book lovers you must visit Readers Feast in the old Georges departments store, they have knowledgeable staff and one of Melbourne’s best selections of books.
Towards the top end of Little Collins are some of my favourite bars and eateries. Bar Lourinha has an excellent selection of wines and serves some of the best Spanish Tapas in town. If Italian is more your style one of the best Italian bistro’s in the city is Lupino which is now opening seven days a week. If you are looking for a traditional fine dining Italian menu you can’t go past Il Bacaro which is one of the most intimate and romantic restaurants around.
Have a sweet tooth? The French patisseries Le Petit Gateau and Laurent both have Little Collins addresses. You can also find some of Melbourne’s best coffees on this lane-way at Sensory Lab or at Ortigio. If cocktails are more your thing, try Bar Americano on Presgrave Place. It’s standing room only but the bevvies are beautiful and they also do a great coffee for those who need a little pick me up to keep exploring Little Collins Street.
So now you are in the know about one of our favourite lane-ways so make sure you give Little Collins Street a bit of street time when next in the friendliest and most livable city in the world.