Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stick your laneway

Melbourne, the coffee capital of Australia. I will wear that. You can get good coffee almost everywhere in Australia now, but it wasn't always the case. Melbourne led the way. The worst pretending to proper coffee I have had was in the Queen Victoria building in Sydney. Not only was the coffee atrocious, it was served in a kind of awkward tulip shaped mug with a handle. Worse, it cost a third more than a decent cup in Melbourne would have cost.

How outrageous was that McDonalds paid piece on Ospray Winfrey's Australian promotion? The Melbourne inner cafe latte set despise McCafes and would not be seen dead in them. Starbucks has failed in areas where the inner cafe latte set congregate.

But do not be mistaken, do not be misled, Melbourne's laneway culture is a load of shed.
A few people who have graduated on from spraying graffiti on trains to spraying advanced 101 graffiti on laneway walls.

This coolest bar that you have to fight your way through stinking dumpmaster bins to get to will close in two weeks, only to have another owner/sucker come along and spend heaps to renovate and so the cycle goes on.

Am I sounding old and bitter and ranty? I mean to. Melbourne's so called and overpromoted laneway culture has no relevance to me. I have my fave places in the city to eat, drink or whatever outdoors, and none are in laneways.

Don't get me wrong though. I like our laneways and how they have been changed into something beyond just being service lanes, but truly, the laneway culture thing has gone overboard.

Now shop verandah bars where you sit on the awning of shop roofs are another matter. I like them.


  1. I loved your wide streets with tables and chairs all down many of them In South Melbourne I think. In some really narrow streets they still do outside cafes making it hell for wheelchairs, the blind, walking frames etc...we had a starbucks here but the didn't last long - now there is an excellent coffee shop locally owned...

  2. Noticed the City of Stonnington has markers in footpaths (in some streets) to designate the boundary for outdoor dining space instead of sprawling all over the place.

  3. "Am I sounding old and bitter and ranty?"

    Yes! But in this case ENTIRELY justified and TOTALLY on the money.

    You didn't say it, but I will. It's a complete wank!

  4. Hear hear! The inner city laneway 'trend' is too snooty and pretentious for me.

    If I want to sip coffee near stinking wheelie bins and last night's drunks' piss, I can do that in my own suburb of Flemington :)

  5. Yes MC. Outdoor dining is good when there is space. PM, another victory over Starbucks.

    They have Jayne, and like their parking restrictions, they don't enforce it.

    LS, Japanese tourist walks along Heffernan Lane looking for laneway culture. Comes to Section 8 with its booming heavy bass music and nods to his wife, Melbourne laneway culture, and continues on to QV shopping centre for some bad sushi.

    Nicely put Kath. But Flemington is ever so nice really.

  6. Bitter and ranty is good. I'm sick of pretentiousness fullstop.

  7. Fen, I just imagine Japanese tourists searching around for this mythical laneway culture.