Melbourne's bustling laneways and tree-lined streets are renowned for their incrediblechoice of places to eat and drink - from stylish sidewalk cafes and dark, hidden-awaybars to elegant award-winning restaurants and cheap and cheerful eateries. But it has not always been this way. As little as fifty years ago the six o'clock swill heldthe pubs in its crazed binge-drinking grip and as little as twenty years ago you couldbreak the law trying to get a drink with your meal. Now the city has blossomed intoa cosmopolitan food-lover's paradise, which is all thanks to the changes to Victoria'sliquor licensing legislation in 1988. Regarded as a hero in restaurant and bar circles, Professor John Nieuwenhuysen wasthe driving force behind these changes with his visionary and controversial reporton the existing liquor legislation. The recommendations within the NieuwenhuysenReport changed Victoria's licensing laws from the most conservative in the country tothe most liberal and saw an explosion of creativity and innovation in bars, cafes, winebars, bottleshops, wineries and restaurants around the state. Respected food veterans Mietta O'Donnell, Donlevy Fitzpatrick and StephanieAlexander were among many who seized the opportunity to throw off the shackles ofan antiquated, restricting licensing regime and use the new freedoms to provide a trulycivilised wining and dining culture. Much-loved institutions such as Jimmy Watson's,Pellegrini's and Grossi Florentino followed suit while the new laws also saw the firstwave of groundbreaking drinking establishments led by Meyer's Place bar, the first ofthe now prolific ‘Melbourne-style' laneway bars. With a deft and humorous touch Michael Harden charts the movers and shakersbehind Melbourne's transformation into the thriving, intriguing city it is today. Colourfully captured in photographs old and new, Melbourne shows why this city istruly deserving of its reputation as a world-renowned drinking and eating destination.