Wheres the Best Arcade in Melbourne

Wheres the Best Arcade in Melbourne

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Posted 2011-08-24 by Sue Williamsfollow
Where’s the Best Arcade in Melbourne?



I'm often impressed by our ornate, old-world arcades as I walk around Melbourne. They're a tourist icon for good reason. And I love the way they hide their extravagance until the last moment. It's not until you step inside that they hit you with their lavish, over-the-top interiors.

So which arcade is Melbourne's best? There's a lot to choose from, with 15 arcades throughout the city (according to the pronouncements of Wikipedia ). And that's before we even get started on laneways.

For me, it's a tough battle between three – Block, Royal and Cathedral Arcades.

At first glance, Block Arcade, at 280 - 286 Collins St, seems like a hair-in-a-bun, frosty piano teacher type of arcade. Built in 1893 and modelled on Galleria Vittoria in Milan, this is a place that looks seriously cultured, even forbidding. There are mosaic tiles on the floor, a glass canopy roof, and an overload of decorative arches and carved stone.



But you soon realise it isn't at all unwelcoming - anyone can wander inside, even if you're wearing your Ugg boots.



Anyway, how can a place that houses Haighs Chocolates and the cakes of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms actually be hostile?



But let's move swiftly on - it's important the committed arcade-viewer remains focused.

Royal Arcade , at 335 Bourke Street Mall, connects the mall with Little Collins and Elizabeth Streets.



Built in 1869, it's Melbourne's oldest trading arcade. It's also kind of democratic – it's been owned by its tenants since the 1950's. I really like its international feel – the carved figures of Gog and Magog striking the clock, the statue of the Greek mythological character, Chronos, and the Russian doll shop Babushka's .



A gentle word of warning, though, for any fatigued arcade-observers suffering low blood sugar – there are considerable distractions at Koko Black and wide-ranging temptations presented by the lollyologists of Suga .

Then there's art-deco Cathedral Arcade and, in my view, the most understated of the three. Constructed in 1925, running underneath the Nicholas Building, it connects arty-writer Flinders Lane with the spruiking end of Swanston Street.



This is an arcade that runs more along raffish, eclectic lines. A mix of wonderful leadlighting, a soaring glass arch, independent designers and artists, strangely fused with the lingering smell of fast food. It's one of the few places you can still experience lift ladies - and the fascinating lift man.

So what do you think? If you have an arcade of preference, please feel free to leave a comment below

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219742 - 2023-06-16 07:54:35

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