Some of Melbourne's most fascinating attractions are not out in the open- they're hidden below ground level. Descend the stairs and make discoveries about your city which lurked below your feet on one of the most heavily travelled streets the whole time.
A few steps below ground level in some former fruit storage rooms is one of Melbourne's coolest nightclubs. Located conveniently beside Flinders Station in Banana Alley Vault 8, Platform One consists of two domed brick tunnels. The quirky shape and sturdy construction of the tunnels make for some interesting acoustics as the latest dance tracks are blared every weekend. Despite appearing small from the outside, Platform One is larger than it looks and the dancefloor is quite long. Beyond the dancefloor is an always-busy bar, surrounded by an ample amount of couches.
Platform One is open on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm. Code Red is the Saturday night event, which each week has either a featured performer (they frequently play host to well-known acts including Vandalism and Hook n Sling) or a themed night. Recent offerings have included a Halloween party, a neon party complete with a UV lighting scheme and a Mexican night. Saturday nights are usually a young, just-turned-eighteen crowd whilst Friday nights are home to a more seasoned patronage.
Entry is $15 before 11pm, and $20 after. A cloakroom is available, which you'll want to drop your jacket off at as it can get quite toasty inside.
Also known as the Degraves Street Subway, Campbell Arcade is home to kitsch clothing stores, zine stores and art projects. The Sticky Institute, home to scores of zines, badge machines and cards, is a must-visit. Stock up on vinyl at Wax Museum Records, peruse the indie clothing at The Cat's Meow, browse the handmade jewellery and homewares at Corky Saint Clair. Twelve display cabinets in the subway showcase work from Platform, Melbourne's longest running public art initiative.
Enter via the steps where Flinders Street meets Degraves. For a prominent entrance in such a busy location, Campbell Arcade, which connects to an entry to Flinders Street Station, is surprisingly deserted most of the time.
City Basement Books
The intriguing City Basement Books.
Get lost amongst endless rows of rare and fascinating pre-loved books at City Basement Books, tucked underground Flinders Street. While it seems like a labyrinth, their collection is actually quite well-ordered. They boast a huge range of genres, including Australiana, modern first editions and ancient history. Whether you are a rare book collector, enjoy perusing unusual texts or are just looking for a novel to read, Basement City Books will not disappoint.
By the way, if you don't fancy an underground literary adventure and want to locate any book in particular, you can order via their website. With a searchable index of their offerings as well as categories you can browse, it's too easy to find what you're after.
Visit the store in all its sprawling glory at 342 Flinders Street (entry via the stairs), and keep up with their latest finds by following their Twitter account.