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Last updated : Nov 2009
Melbourne Nightlife
Melbourne Nightlife - TravelPuppy.com
Many Melbourne venues function variously as bars, clubs and live music rooms, depending on the night and the time. The diverse nature of the bars and clubs means that the dress code also varies enormously, generally the trendier the place, the stricter the dress code.

The snooty trend of selecting customers according to style is unfortunately becoming apparent in parts of cosmopolitan Melbourne. Entrance to clubs is free but a fee is often introduced after 9.00 pm at weekends.

Gay Melbourne has its base in the inner suburb of South Yarra, with several pubs, clubs and discos clustered around Commercial Road. Other inner city districts, such as St Kilda and Fitzroy, by Port Philip Bay, feature further options for a city that loves to be out after dark.

Extremely relaxed licensing hours mean that it is possible to drink through the night. The minimum drinking age is 18 years old. The average price for a beer served in a bar is A $5, whilst in a nightclub it is more likely to be around A $6.

Free listings magazines incorporate Inpress and Beat. Friday’s Age newspaper contains the entertainment listings supplement EG. Information is available online:




Centrally located cocktail bars include:

Gin Palace, a very popular bar

Address: 190 Little Collins Street

Hairy Canary, an extremely smart bar

Address: 212 Little Collins Street

Other great places to enjoy cocktails include:

Chesterfield lounges

Address: Melbourne Supper Club, 161 Spring Street

Jimmy Watsons Wine Bar,
a renowned place to enjoy an array of wines

Address: 333 Lygon Street, Carlton (Melbourne’s Little Italy)

Places which attract the younger crowds, feature arty interiors and transform into clubs later at night include:


Address: Duckboard Place

Misty Place

Address: 3-5 Hosier Lane

Both of which are hidden away in the CBD lanes

1 of the most popular bars in Southgate is:

Walters Wine Bar
, noted for its fabulous wines, good food and great views

Address: Upper Level, Southgate

The inner city neighbourhood of Prahran has a series of inviting bars, ranging from:

Blue Bar, a lively bar

Address: 330 Chapel Street

La La Land, a cosy and relaxed bar

Address: 134 Chapel Street.


Crown Casino, in the Crown Entertainment Complex, Southgate, is open 24 hours a day and offers craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker machines.

The dress code is smart casual, however, a jacket and tie is required for some areas. Players must be 18 years and over, a driver’s licence, birth certificate or passport are all adequate as proof of age.


Within Melbourne’s CBD, Tatou, is a bar / restaurant that becomes a nightclub which plays progressive hard house every Saturday.

Address: 377 Little Collins Street,

Metrois a large venue that offers a wide assortment of musical styles on different nights.

Address: 20-30 Bourke Street

The funk, jazz and dub beats of The Laundry attract a regular, active crowd.

Address: 50 Johnston Street, Fitzroy.

Rotating guest DJ's attract the party people to Room 680.

Address: 680 Glenferrie Road, in inner eastern Hawthorn.

The entertainment at Revolver, ranges from breakbeat and drum’n’bass to soul and funk, featuring some top DJ's as well as live acts every night.

Address: 229 Chapel Street, Prahran.

Several of the biggest international touring DJs play house, funk and R&B at QBH

Address: 1 Queensbridge Street, South Melbourne.

The white cocoon shape of the Glow Bar attracts a hip young crowd for soul and Chicago house, as well as film and performance nights during the week.

Address: 422 Queen Street,

Cultural Events

The importance of the arts scene in Melbourne is highlighted by the support received by the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts (telephone: (03) 9662 4242), held every October.

Artists, musicians, writers, actors and dancers from dozens of countries around the world descend on the theatres and galleries of Melbourne, for a 17 day cultural feast. It also boasts a Fringe Festival, which is smaller, definitely more off beat, however, kicks off with a parade and huge party in Brunswick Street.

3 days in March are given over to the Melbourne Moomba Festival (telephone: (03) 9658 8566), which is Australia’s largest outdoor festival. There are open air performances, night time parades, firework displays and even water-skiing competitions.

The 3 week Melbourne International Comedy Festival (telephone: (03) 9417 7711) is Australia’s top comedy event, attracting many local and international acts every April.

In July, the fans of the Australian and international film world are drawn to the city for the Melbourne International Film Festival (telephone: (03) 9417 2011), which has been running since 1951.


Dancehouse is an exhilarating venue for innovative dance and physical theatre and has a well deserved reputation in the contemporary dance field.

Address: 150 Princes Street, North Carlton
Telephone: (03) 9347 2860
Website address: www.dancehouse.com.au


Reflecting its European self image, Melbourne has many independent arthouse cinemas, including:

Cinema Como
Address: At the corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street, South Yarra
Telephone: (03) 9827 7533)

Cinema Nova

Address: 380 Lygon Street, Carlton
Telephone: (03) 9347 5331)

The Lumière

Address: 108 Lonsdale Street
Telephone: (03) 9639 1055)

Address: 45 Collins Street
Telephone: (03) 9650 2100).

The brilliant art deco Astor Theatre hosts the St Kilda Film Festival for experimental film every April.

Address: At the corner of Chapel Street and Dandenong Road
Telephone: (03) 9510 1414)

The local IMAX Theatre is also fairly popular
Address: Rathdowne Street, Carlton
Telephone: (03) 9663 5454).

Mainstream fare is screened at the Hoyts Cinema Centre
Address: 140 Bourke Street
Telephone: (03) 9663 3303

and at Hoyts multiplexes throughout suburban Melbourne.

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), reputed to be the world’s 1st ever feature length film, was made in and around Melbourne. Other Australian movie classics set or filmed in Melbourne include:

    Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  Phar Lap (1983)
Death in Brunswick (1991) and Romper Stomper (1992) both achieved international applause. Recent broad comedies The Castle (1997) and The Wog Boy (2000) were massive hits in Australia. Reflecting the recent trend of Hollywood production moving to Australia, The Queen of the Damned (2002) was shot in Melbourne.

Literary Notes

Melbourne has enjoyed its share of internationally highly praised writers. C J Dennis, who lived in the small town of Toolangi, north of Melbourne, rose to national fame as Victoria’s most well known writer with his urban romance in verse, The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke (1915).

The works of Victorian writers of this period, including Dennis, reflected upon the impact of the gold rush and the business of making money. Painter and writer Norman Lindsay, who came from the small town of Creswick (near Ballarat), is the author of the irreverent Australian children’s classic, The Magic Pudding (1917).

1 of the most astounding novels to come out of Melbourne is Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory (1950). Loosely based on the affairs and dealings of notorious Melbourne businessman John Wren, the book scandalised Melbourne society and Hardy was prosecuted for criminal libel.

British author Neville Shute’s novel On The Beach (1957), another literary cause célèbre, depicts Melbourne as the last outpost of a world wracked by nuclear desolation .

Melbourne playwright Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1957) pioneered dramatic realism in Australia, while criticising enriching stereotypes.

Classic modern novels include Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967) by Joan Lindsay, and George Johnston’s My Brother Jack (1964), perhaps the ultimate novel of Melbourne between the wars. Peter Carey set 1 of his best works, Illywhacker (1985), in the city, and his Booker Prize winning The True History of the Kelly Gang (2001) also features Melbourne as a setting. Helen Garner, whose novels, such as Monkey Grip (1977), are mainly set in Melbourne, has also attracted a wide following.

The grunge lit of the 1990's produced writers such as Christos Tsiolkas, whose Loaded (1995) portrays the town as a netherworld of drugs and sex. Criminal Mark Chopper Read wrote From The Inside (1991) in the H Division of Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison. While affronted by the literary establishment, Read’s lively underworld confessions are among the most popular contemporary writing in Australia.

Opera Australia
(telephone: (03) 9685 3777) regularly appears at the Melbourne Concert Hall, located in the Victorian Arts Complex, as does the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (telephone: (03) 9626 1111).

There is a range of live music in Melbourne. On the city’s north side, alternative bands, including interstate and international acts, can be seen at The Tote, 71 Johnston Street, Collingwood, whilst heavier punk style acts often perform at The Arthouse, 616 Elizabeth Street.

The Corner Hotel
is another large band venue that books acts of all kinds.

Address: 57 Swan Street, Richmond.

In St Kilda, the legendary ‘Espy’, The Esplanade Hotel is almost certainly Australia’s most famous alternative and rock music venue, featuring a big line up of bands every night, as well as regular comedy shows.

Address: 11 Upper Esplanade,

Nearby, the Prince Bandroom hosts the blend of local, interstate and international acts, as well as club nights.

Address: 29 Fitzroy Street

In the CBD, The 9th Ward, 298 Flinders Lane, features a huge variety of bands and DJs, whilst Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, 25 Bennetts Lane, is Melbourne’s prime spot for jazz artists, both international and Australian.


Melbourne has a large number of theatres situated throughout the city centre and in the suburbs.

The Regent Theatre hosts elaborate musical productions

Address: Collins Street
Telephone: (03) 9299 9500)

Theatres such as the Athenaeum and the Princess produce Shakespeare, contemporary plays and musicals.

The Athenaeum
Address: Collins Street
Telephone: (03) 9650 1500)

The Princess
Address: Spring Street
Telephone: (03) 9299 9800),

The Melbourne Theatre Company is the oldest professional theatre company in Australia.

Address: Ferrars Street, Southbank
Telephone: (03) 9684 4500
Website address: www.mtc.com.au

Playbox Theatre Centre, Monash University (telephone: (03) 9685 5100) generates new dramatic works promoting Australia’s cultural diversity.