The best hidden cafes in Melbourne

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The best hidden cafes in Melbourne


Lot 3

This Sicilian-inspired old train master’s house is 108 years old and generated by a pair of old Attica foes. Designed to cater for the languid Ripponlea groundhog community going to and fro the nearby train station each day, Lot 3 has made its name for its house-made sodas and gooey open sandwiches. They’ve done little to alter the archaic anterior which makes for an unassuming display, but venture inside and a warm, inviting dining room awaits.

3 Glen Eira Ave, Ripponlea


New Day Rising

During weekend business hours it can be mistaken for a buzzing Ikea open-planned kitchen display. There are no material barriers between barista and customer and guests are entitled to peruse the coffee-maker’s modus operandi as they develop their frothy caffeinated delight. New Day Rising is perched around the corner from Nicholson Street’s art deco pride and joy, Milkwood, but long black lovers often trudge by without a double take such is the veiled nature of the café’s façade. The CLT bagel is a must alongside a mean Iced Coffee.

221d Blyth St, Brunswick East


Roller Door Café

Roller door up or roller door down there’s a vigorous industrial bean machine hiding behind there capable of creating coffee beyond your wildest dreams. Suitably located almost within visual frame of North Melbourne’s frenzied train station, it’s another case of look left or you’ll miss it. Greeted simply by ‘Roller Door – Mon-Fri’ you enter to find the baristas comfortably positioned to either chat or make or do both. Bill and Ben may appear out the back in what is the quaintest of courtyards.

13 Stawell Street, West Melbourne


A Minor Place

Often lunch recommendations come from those you least expect. Aunties aren’t your first point of call when it comes to arranging your daily feeding schedule but from a young age Aunt Judy would take me to an innocuous wood-accented 50s’ style cottage to satisfy my advancing hunger. They did a wonderful big breakfast and now they do a brilliant smashed avocado on toast such has been my dining evolution. Hidden behind the northern stretches of Lygon Street, there’s nothing minor about A Minor Place apart from its stature. An affable affogato awaits.

103 Albion St, Brunswick

Mart 130

Another meek stationmaster’s building turned café at the doorstep of a public transport stopover. It’s not an accident if you walk into Mart 130 thinking it was the right place to top up your Myki or validate your PTV concession card. The BLAT’s a treat and the cold pressed juices are devine but watch out for those errant tee shots cannoning in from the nearby driving range.

107A Canterbury Rd, Middle Park


Meandering down Canning Street, a rabble of floral umbrella shades protrude above an aqua sheathed brick corner-house – what an effervescent homely design one considers. You’re then interrupted by a nonchalantly aproned bearded fellow straightening some conveniently placed stools and tables out the front and all oblivion is annulled. Everything about Café BÜ is cute – the colours of the coffee mugs, the minimalist sweets and pastries menu and the quirky rooftop deck overhung by teeming succulents. Five Senses beans makes for great coffee.

585A Canning St, Carlton North


Mixed Business

At Mixed Business you’re surrounded by the chaotic Queens Parade at the fore, the cold domineering Terminus Hotel at your left and an old brick childcare centre on your right – it’s hidden by way of isolation. There’s no coffee culture in this area of Clifton Hill and while it sits awkwardly on one of Melbourne’s busiest inner-city motorways, the rush doesn’t plague the café staff. The former furniture restoration shop offers a killer ploughmans brekky and rich Mörk hot chocolate.

486 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill


Alley Tunes

They’ve put two and two together to make four. Vinyl seekers traditionally love their coffee and not often are they able indulge in a post adventure reward right there and then. Alley Tunes have solved that problem by installing a coffee machine to supplement that longing thirst. The seating plan is modest and the chairs appear to have been stolen from my VCE exam room but their long black is deadly. It’s a beautiful coexistence, but some can’t define it making for an inconspicuous and sometimes bypassed arrangement.

660A Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn


“Strictly no admittance – all enquiries at office 2nd floor”. The message emblazoned on Krimper’s entry door is both disconcerting and thrilling at the same time. Are we not allowed to enter or is this just an obsolete message of a time gone by? A quick push of the door and all our queries are answered. We are greeted by rustic old sawmill brick walls and an art deco dining area. The Krimper burger is massive and you can buy beers too.

20 Guildford Lane, CBD