Laneway Learning – Higgs Boson and hugging bisons

If you’ve been to Melbourne, you’ve probably noticed the lack of places to get a good coffee. (\sarcasm)

Yeah, right.

More like the abundance of places – cafes, bakeries, bistros, restaurants and on and on. Try searching for “Best Coffee in Melbourne” and see if you find any definitive results. I didn’t.

So the difficulty to compete on just coffee and food in Melbourne may actually be a good thing – because it forces places to come up with outrageous and quirky ideas to get customers through the door. Or they just copy someone’s outrageous and quirky idea.

Take Laneway Learning at The Little Mule Cafe in the CBD.
They run a series of classes taught by a variety of people on different topics.When I first heard about it, I was all “What a creative, innovative and original idea.” but then I did some research and found out they were inspired by the Brooklyn Brainery in New York, which runs a similar concept of classes taught by ordinary people. Cheap, Accessible and Fun.
So Tom, the guy who initially visited the Brooklyn Brainery and brought it to Melbourne, talks more about the concept here.

But let me give you a sample of the menu;

Karate: Self Defence
Unconventional Baking
Wine: A One Night Palate Trainer
Urban Beekeeping
Citizen Science – Astronomy for all
Makeup and You

So I went to the class on Higgs Boson. It was, surprise surprise, very theoretical but at the most basic level. But if you check out their facebook page here, you’ll see pictures of more interactive classes such as Next Level Cupcakes and Steampunk.

When they say ‘Cheap classes on anything and everything’, they kinda mean it.
Classes run for roughly an hour to 90 minutes, but it depends on the subject. Prices are around $12 a person. And all classes are held on site at The Little Mule Cafe in the evenings. Classes sell out FAST, so get in quick. You can email them and request them to repeat a class, or ask to be put on the wait list in case a few people drop out.

The kitchen is still open during classes, so you can grab a soup or a cup of coffee whilst you contemplate the universe or learn how to pickle a tomato (do people even do that? I have no idea).

I think it’s a great idea. Even if it may not be “original” in some people’s narrow definition of the word, but it does provide a great example of how a good idea can be adapted and appropriated (even in this case it was pretty much just the geographical shift of the concept from New York to Melbourne) – but I don’t think the people at Brooklyn Brainery would mine. But even if they did, would Laneway Learning be in the wrong? I don’t think so.

If you’re interested in taking a class, check them out here –


LuWOW Weekends

Aloha Melbourne.

So if you’ve been living in Melbourne for a while, you’ve probably heard of outrageous tiki bar, The LuWOW. And if you haven’t, well consider your weekend planned.

Other than literally putting the WOW in Luau, this bar is doing a lot of things right. A lot of nightspots claim to be “different”, but this one that definitely delivers. Wander in here unintentionally one winter evening and you might easily forget you’re in Melbourne. From the over-the-top decor to the embellished cocktails, this is the kind of place you take a lot of pictures.

The atmosphere is fun (how couldn’t it be) and the patrons are friendly (difficult to be obnoxious at a tiki bar). But let’s get down to one of the main reasons people come here – the cocktails. So, The LuWOW is not particularly a budget venue, you can walk in free before 8pm but there is a cover charge afterwards. Cocktails will set you back typically between $15-$25, with everything being rum based to keep with the trend.
I had the Gruesome Grog, three different kinds of rum and a floating eyeball (!) But, my favourite was the coconutty Lava Flow. Expect a little finger puppet or Hula Lady to go with your generously portioned cocktails.

The LuWOW is separated into two venues, the bar at the front called “The Island Village” which is open Wednesday through to Saturday. With its private ‘huts’ and table service (no fighting to get the bartender’s attention!) it’s perfect if you want to have a few drinks before you get into the swing of things.
“The Forbidden Temple” opens up only on Fridays and Saturdays from 9pm, with its own bar, dance floor, stage and army of go-go dancers. There are live acts as well as a DJ, so be sure to check the website for details on entertainment.

They are quite strict on dress code, with this very detailed description of what is not allowed

If you’re looking for something eccentric and quirky, The LuWOW is worth a try. check out their website here.

Address- 62-70 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Trading days- Wed to Sat (with The Forbidden Temple open only Fri-Sat)
Opening hours- 5pm til late
Entry is free before 8pm, a drink can set you back about $15-$25. The entire menu can be found here.