Anyone for coffee? / by Mario Mirabile

Central Melbourne was originally laid out of a regular grid of broad streets north of the Yarra River. The major public buildings, businesses and grand residences filled the main streets, while the smaller and seedier businesses and factories occupied the smaller east-west streets. These had names often prefixed with a "Little", the balance of the name matching that of it's neighboring major thoroughfare. A further step down in prestige was the maze of laneways and alleys which ran between streets major and minor, and behind buildings, offering places to dump rubbish and the occasional body.

Today, the lanes and alleys have become Melbourne institutions and something of a tourist drawcard. Tour guides are available to lead you through the maze of byways which are frequently adorned with elaborate street art. Others have sprouted cafes like mushrooms in spring, often appearing in he most confined and unlikely places. If you like coffee, come to Melbourne. You won't be able to walk 10 paces without finding yet another spot to satisfy your caffeine craving.