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Underground Melbourne

Underground Melbourne

Melbourne is the undisputed king of best-kept secrets.  From hidden cheese cellars to occasional pop-up cinemas, we’ve only just scratched the surface.  Here’s a list of some of the best things going on right now... that we know about, at least. 


Spring Street Cheese Cellar

In a windowless basement right next to Parliament Station, some of the world’s best cheeses are aged and sold only once their peak condition has been reached by Anthony Femia, who placed fourth in the World Contest of the Best Cheesemonger Competition in France not long ago.  You can hire a table for a tasting via the restaurant over the road, but it’s just as good to descend the orange spiral staircase and taste as you go, surrounded by that pervasive, glorious stench. 

Basement, 157 Spring Street, Melbourne


Lyon HouseMuseum 

Part family home and part museum, Lyon HouseMuseum houses one of the country’s best private collections of contemporary Australian art.  Family living areas flow around the museum and domestic furniture clashes with installations and large scale paintings in this especially designed building in Kew.

219 Cotham Road, Kew



A motorcycle workshop-turned-bar where there’s no roof, the walls are covered with artworks for sale, the coffee is strong by day and the music is loud by night is the right kind of place.  The craft beer is plentiful but food is restricted to bags of twisties and Margherita pizzas, which is why the people who know about it come here to dance, not eat.  Workshop’s live music and DJ partnerships are something very close to their heart – and will soon be to yours, too.

Level 1, 413 Elizabeth St, Melbourne


Cibi’s Japanese breakfast is almost certainly what made it famous.  Only served on Saturdays and consisting of miso with a series of carefully presented sides including a very Japanese potato salad, tiny slivers of vegetables and miniature ovals of tamago, it’s based on owner Meg Tanaka’s grandmother’s recipe.  This, and the wind-up robots made by the last surviving tin toy manufacturer in Tokyo, make this another warehouse worth seeking out amongst the industrial backstreets of Collingwood. 

45 Keele St, Collingwood


Thomas Olive 

Upstairs above Saint Crispin, shinily tiled Thomas Olive is Melbourne’s king of the secret aperitif.  The hidden stairway to Thomas Olive may be hard to find but the pay-off is worth it.  All oysters, charcuterie and epic cocktails (bartender James Tait is ex-Der Raum), this is the best bits of France in one of the best bits of Collingwood.

300 Smith St, Collingwood

Deja View

Nestled in collaborative powerhouse Magic Johnston, Deja-View is a pop-up cinema that is open fortnightly throughout winter and serves up Little Creatures booze and epic flavoured treats (cinnamon and coconut popcorn, anyone?) while screening 90's flicks with their original supporting trailers.  This season’s program is due to be unveiled this month. 


Houhai Dumpling House 

Freshly made dumplings make for a bit of a wait at the table.  Thomas, the owner who used to run an art gallery in China, works as fast as he can and if you spend more than $300 in a month you can take one of his oil pantings off the wall and home with you.  (This would be quite a feat, given nothing on the menu is over $12.) They deliver, have a liquor licence and are open in the mornings. 

470 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill


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