When I lived in Fitzroy, the Provincial was the beating heart of a Saturday night out on Brunswick Street. It was shambolic and rough, but the people were friendly and the evenings were always a ton of fun. There would often be bands playing live music inside, and street artists outside like fire eaters or buskers. Today it looks just as rough outside as it ever did, but the pub itself feels a little more upmarket now. I guess that reflects the lifestyles of the locals, as all the inner suburbs of Melbourne gentrify along with rising house prices.
Address: 299 Brunswick Street
One of Melbourne's oldest buildings, the Princess Theater has been putting on performances since 1854. Today it is the center of musical productions in the city, with classics like Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story and more modern runs like Mamma Mia!
Address: 163 Spring Street
Directions: Tram to Spring Street/Bourke Street or train to Parliament.
If you like loud music in grubby bars you'll probably fall in love with the Espy, and it doesn't seem to have changed much in the years since I used to hang out here in 1995. It's possible they haven't even painted it. It has a perfect spot - facing the bay on the Esplanade. You'll want to come here early on a Saturday evening after a day on the beach, to get the best seat for the night's entertainment.
Dress Code: Casual.
Address: 11 The Esplanade
On the banks of the River Yarra, in the depths of the park, you can find an open air concert venue which has played host to some of the biggest names ever to visit Melbourne, including Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and The Beach Boys. It has a capacity of just of ten thousand, but holds the record for the greatest attendance at a music event in the southern hemisphere, when two hundred thousand turned up in 1967 to watch the Seekers.
My personal memory of this stage was in 1994 when I stumbled upon it by accident when walking the parks with my friend one lazy summer's day. We heard the sounds of R.E.M. coming from behind a grassy hill. We climbed it to enjoy a free live performance of one of the greatest bands in the world.
Directions: Near the Arts Centre.
We drank at several different venues on our 2014 trip
In brunswick, Went to brunswick mess hall bar which was nice with craft beers.($9-11 for a handle). Then to Cornish Arms, another craft beer pub fairly quiet but decent enough. $20 for a jug (4 pots)
In the centre Young and Jacksons is a pub located right opposite flinders street station. It's a big place with Aussie and craft beers, approx $10. Food is good. Chicken and Parma ham is $20.
Currently living overseas (but Australian) I have realised on coming back to melb on a short trip how primitive the local bar and club scene here is. Unless u are under 25 yrs old and local u basically do not get in. And btw I am Caucasian Australian, professional job and totally sober when lining up to get into bars. They don't want anyone if not in the young local kids scene. I have no idea how melbourne tries to promote itself to the world as an international city. I will personally be telling all my friends in Asia, Caucasian and other, to never come to Melb for a fun holiday or to expect a 'real' city if here on a business trip. To promote itself as a city of great bars and clubs to see while here is a joke. I just hope all the bouncers from Melb get refused entry to all bars in Asia for absolutely no reason. Embarrassed to be Australian!
Address: Melbourne CBDRelated to:
- Business Travel
The Flying Saucer Club is run by the same crowd who gave us the Caravan Music Club in the wilds of Oakleigh.
Located in the Art Deco former front dining room of the Caulfield RSL, complete with candlelit tables and a fireplace topped by a deer's head, it is a pretty intimate music venue, catering for up to crowds of 300 or so. It is not crowded, sweaty or smoky so one can enjoy getting up close and personal with the performers.
The eclectic program includes contemporary music, cabaret, spoken word, burlesque, comedy and musical theatre.
Prices are very reasonable, ranging from $20-$30 standing, or $30-$50 for reserved seats at tables (where you can enjoy the bistro style pub food at moderate prices before the show). Drinks are sold at the bar (also at fair prices)
Whilst a Music venue and the RSL may seem like strange bedfellows, signage leads one past the poker machines and old diggers at the bar to the venue, and all seems to work smoothly.
Dress Code: Thankfully there is no evidence of a dress code, sparing patrons the attentions of bouncers and wankers
Address: 4 St Georges Road, Elsternwick
Directions: 5 minutes from Elsternwick Station (Sandringham Line)
A few steps from Stop #45 of the 67 Tram on Glenhuntly Road
Check www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au for bus timetables
There is a taxi rank near the train station.
Phone: 03 9528 3600
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
P.J. Obrien's is a chain of pubs in Australia. I had to come here bcause one of my friend's family owns the chain so I had to check it out. We came here on a hot day and just wanted to get into some airconditioning.
The pub is a nice size and looks like a typical Irish Pub. Dark wood accents, plenty of bar tables and seats at the bar. Liz and I chose to have a seat at the bar and enjoy some of the live crisket on the TV. I enjoyed an ice cold beer while my wife had a coke. It was a nice time here, relaxing, having drinks, watching cricket...definitely a good place to hang out.
They also serve traditional pub grub if your in the mood for some food. We passed on the food as we had already had a huge lunch of mussels about an hour before.
Ferdydurke and Section 8 are two best examples of Melbourne's alleyway bar culture. Both next door to eachother, they offer unparalleled vibe and atmosphere in terms of cool and urban.
3 levels tall, Ferdydurke sports a new-york loft type style. Music is interesting and crowd is friendly and easy-going. Definitely worth checking out! I found this hidden gem using the Night Genie iPhone app, which is great for finding other cool venues.
Dress Code: No dresscode
Address: tattersalls lane, melbourneRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
If your a student in Melbourne you should check this site out! Its been posted around RMIT university and I think that it's super useful!
It has every student drink deal from all the best places for students to hang out.
Just present your student card and you'll get cheap drinks.
Highly highly recommend
Jack Lad and The Butterfly Club proudly presents
‘It’s the hand we’re dealt’
Three JJJacks is a darkly twisted, risque and irreverently funny foray into the Cabaret/Burlesque world where convention flies out the window, morals are shredded to confetti and passions are heated to hellish extremes. (Jack Lad) Paul Moder hosts and performs as three insane lads each called Jack. They are...
Reverend Jack - a conflicted fire and brimstone preacher with dubious faith and an eye for fallen women.
Doctor Jack - a disbarred practitioner with a questionable assortment of pills and medicines and a cure for broken hearts and wasted souls.
Springheel Jack - English gentleman of ye olde London Streets, with a razor wit and a blade to match.
Accompanying the Jacks are three beautiful and decadent temptress (all played by Madame ‘Mama’ Natalia) who entice with lilting voice, bared flesh and quicksilver tongue.
But each is destined for an unknown outcome with the three JJJacks. One will be saved, one will be healed...one will be murdered.
Featuring songs by Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, David Bowie and Puscifer, Three JJJacks is a show like no other that will leave you titillated, terrified, laughing and liberated.
Two shows only. Friday 16th and Saturday 17th, December. 10.30PM late show. Tickets $20-25.00 at www.thebutterflyclub.com or phone 9690 2000.
Warning: Show may contain nudity, violence, sex scenes, language and scenes that may offend.
Dress Code: Relaxed but not street bum
Address: 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205
Directions: Off Clarendon Street, just down from South Melbourne town hall
Phone: (03) 9690 2000
- Arts and Culture
- Theater Travel
My visit to this club was an unexpected joy! We walked past a sign for an Indian Restaurant and noticed fake grass and bouncers, so we decided to go in. Up the stairs, we found the cutest little club! Quaint little gazebo rooms and park benches decorated with trees and flowers - just gorgeous - thought I'd fallen down Alice's rabbit hole!
Reminds me of the Hula Bula bar in Perth, but better (roomier, better tasting and better priced drinks). Great music provided by monthly programmed guest musicians.
After work weekday drinks $5 per drink from 5pm - 8pm. After work Fridays 2-4-1 drinks from 5pm. $25 cocktail jugs! Must try the Japanese Slipper.
Open weekdays from 5pm, Saturdays from 9pm and Sundays from 8pm.
Address: Level 2, 322 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Directions: Follow the green grass underneath the yellow Indian restaurant sign
Phone: +61 3 9650 4494
Website: http://www.newguernica.com.auRelated to:
Transport is a regular nightspot right opposite Flinders Street Station and at the beginning of Federation Square. To be honest, it's quite an average spot, and I can take you to much better.
It's simply a really popular place because of it's popular tunes and it's popular location. This place is a nice place for a dance after getting some drinks somewhere else. Please note that late at night the line to get in might get fairly long.
Dress Code: Pants and shirt - no sneakers. Dress Fancy on a Saturday night.
Phone: +61 3 9542 8808
Sequestered in a laneway off Chinatown, Section 8 definitely manages to fill a niche: never in all my years have I had a drink on a shipping container. The outdoor venue is perfect for summertime social gatherings, with fun indie music and eclectic seating arrangements sure to make everyone say "wow!"
All the seats are really shipping crates. The bathroom is a shipping container. All the walls are absolutely covered in beautiful spray-paint art. The bartenders are tattooed and have a healthy attitude. The drinks are cheap and good (none of the crappy headache waiting to happen brew here) and during lunchtime they serve huge gourmet hot dogs for $8. Check out the photos and see for yourself why you should never miss this place in your trip to Melbourne.
Dress Code: Casual is fine, thongs are not.
Address: 27-29 Tattersalls Ln
Directions: it's one lane off the intersection of Lonsdale and Swanston.
- Budget Travel
Walking down a quiet alley you get to the unusual eyesore of an old metal bicycle suspended high up on a wall.
There is no sign, no lights, no real way to tell that behind the thick wooden door under the bicycle is actually one one Melbourne's best-hidden secrets. Double Happiness is a "in-the-know" only bar that runs a fantastic communist theme bar-scene. Everthing is decidedly red in nature, from the lighting in the bar to the communist propoganda photos and posters on the walls, and to the Maoist cocktail menu. Grab a "Great Leap Forward" - a vodka lychee affair with delicious limes and soda water. A long neck of Tsing-Tao is $13 and should get you nicely social.
A nice touch - behind the bar are a series of lockers that reward frequent visitors - bottles bought at the bar can be placed unfinished inside a locker and kept safe until your next visit.
Dress Code: Dress neat - jeans and shirt are okay but this is primarily a casual business venue: you'd fit in best with business pants or a skirt and a button shirt.
Definitely no thongs.
Address: Level 1, 21 Liverpool St
Directions: Get off the train at Parliament station and walk down Bourke Street, look for Liverpool St as a small laneway on the right-hand side of the street.
Phone: +61 3 9650 4488
- Budget Travel