Melbourne: Nightlife

Australia's multicultural hub

Melbourne Nightlife

Fancy a margarita as sharp as the crowd that surrounds you? Melbourne’s bar culture awaits you. Dance clubs are spread throughout the Central Business District, although several venues in South Yarra and Fitzroy are worth checking out. For live bands, hit the clubs in Fitzroy, Richmond and St. Kilda. Wander the city’s broad boulevards and narrow lanes to discover a wealth of places in which to enjoy a drink, kick back or dance until dawn. Once-forgotten warehouses and obscure old buildings have emerged as designer-cool caves for patrons’ drinking pleasure. Choose from cocktail lounges and vibrant pubs to underground dance dens and unsigned doors that conceal a warm welcome.

Melbourne’s most famous pub is the Young & Jackson. The crowds keep coming for its comprehensive range of beers, its delectable meals, its unmistakable central location and its legendary nude portrait called Chloe. For vibrancy and a good beer, try the smart and inviting Portland Hotel, which brews its own selection. In the west-end it is the quaint Mitre Tavern, which, at more than 130 years old, is one of Melbourne’s oldest pubs and the watering hole of choice for the city’s office workers who spill out into the lane on fine nights.

Hungry as well as thirsty? A whole host of pubs and bars offer a menu every bit as satisfying as their drinks list. Join the suit brigade in the Cellar Bar at Grossi Florentino, a Melbourne culinary institution. Meet friends beneath the chandeliers of Syracuse, set in an opulent space that used to be the dining room of a grand old hotel. BearBrass, named after the original name of Melbourne, is a sleek riverside bar at the Southgate complex commanding sensational views of the city. Hairy Canary, right in the heart of town, is another drawcard for hungry, thirsty, cosmopolitan city workers.

Melbourne does a fine line in bars heavy with atmosphere and heaving with cool. They are mostly discovered through word of mouth, with underplayed promotion adding to the intrigue. Many are in lanes or in lanes off lanes and the list is as long as the hunt can be to find them, here contains but a few pointers. The very popular Meyers Place is one of the city’s original no-signage bars, handled, simply by the lane it occupies. It’s dimly lit and comes with a funky fit-out by one of the city’s leading architectural firms. Find the apple-green door and you will discover Tony Starr’s Kitten Club, a favourite after-work cocktail lounge with a dining section and a glamorous Holly Golightly ambience. Just down the road is Ffour, where contemporary design takes on new meaning. It doubles as a club, cocktail bar and even multi-media artspace. If you like your drinks of the stirred, not shaken variety, another place to head is the Gin Palace, which draws a sophisticated crowd with its plush interior and generous range of gins, vodkas and cocktails, ensure you ask about their martini tastings.

The Melbourne Supper Club has become an institution. It’s known for its fine drinks list and club-like atmosphere. You will definitely require your best tracking instincts to find The Croft Institute, with its science-lab décor, and other bars in obscure lanes including Misty Place and Double O, which attract customers as cool as their interiors designs.