Last year, for a bit of fun, I created the concept of The Warburton Quarter of Melbourne; you can read my original post here. It's the stretch of Little Bourke Street that runs from Elizabeth Street for about 80 metres to the junction with Warburton Alley and Warburton Lane, including these and the other three alleys that run to either side.
I labelled it thus because it's a vibrant little zone next to where I live, which seems to have more of its share of cool cafes and bars, and interesting shops.
But change comes to us all, even to the Quarter. Here's an update...
Manchester Press, 8 Rankins Lane
The memorable gallery/cafe Brood Box sadly closed down last year, and the space was empty for months. Then, a few weeks ago, we noticed a new sign pointing down the laneway. The new cafe, Manchester Press, makes great use of the old warehouse space by decking it out in a pseudo-industrial design. Solid timber tables, big metal lampshades, and for some reason a giant bowling pin in one corner. The coffee and food is good, with a focus on bagels.
Little Mule, 19 Somerset Place
This new shop has it all - if you're keen on both bicycles and coffee. That's right: it's simultaneously a business that builds custom-made bikes, and a place that serves coffee and food. The two combine in its simple interior, a scattering of benches and sofas with bicycles literally hanging off the walls. Great place.
Shanghai Street, 342 Little Bourke Street
This is our new favourite excuse for not cooking dinner. Situated almost directly beneath our apartment, it's a simple Chinese restaurant that does a good line in dumplings. We've used them so much now that we've graduated to the practice of ringing our order through then slipping downstairs to collect it. My hot tip is the fried pork mini-buns (item 5 to its friends).
Read my introduction to The Warburton Quarter here.