Melbourne is filled with eclectic music tastes; you can dash from a night of disco to a sexy jazz gig to a techno-infused warehouse party all in a matter of hours. More often than not, a Melbourne location has a gig seven nights of the week. Live music lovers will agree that the artists and their talent isn’t always enough, but stumble across a random gig at the right location, and you might have the time of your life. Here are our 10 favorite venues in Melbourne.
The Gasometer Hotel
Located in the rather obscure — but never dull — Collingwood, The Gasometer Hotel has undergone a transformation in recent years and has emerged as not only a gig and party venue, but also a place with pretty decent food. The main appeal of “The Gaso” is the roof; it opens, allowing you to boogie down under both the stars and a giant disco ball. This place hosts anything from rock gigs and electronica-infused day parties to reggae and folk.
Howler appeared more or less overnight from the skeleton of a derelict shed along the train line in Brunswick. It was the beginning of what has become a new wave of venues for Brunswick, Howler being one of the area’s best. The band room is out back, so first you walk through the outdoor/indoor room (one of the most unique bar settings you will ever encounter) and the main bar area where a live DJ is likely to be providing tunes. Attracting both local and international acts, Howler is well worth checking out.
Brunswick Street is not lacking for music venues, but the Evelyn certainly stands out. It regularly boasts residencies that showcase supreme local talent, gigs, and $10.00 jugs on Tuesdays. The Evelyn Hotel genre hops, never getting too caught up in any particular style, but rather focusing on gigs that captivate the whole audience. In addition to the spacious band room, there is also a rooftop.
Nightclub, Bar, Pub, Cocktails, $
A bar in a shipping container with seating made out of wooden pallets in the middle of Chinatown, Section 8 ticks a few unique boxes and is in the heart of CBD Melbourne. Section 8 has hosted everything from Dancehall dance battles (complete with live DJs) to block parties. The music covers all genres, and it is always fresh. Section 8 is always good for an afternoon session; the music never fails, even if it is just for the backdrop on your conversation.
Bar, Australian, $$
The Corner Hotel is a true institution of the Melbourne music scene. It has a pretty spectacular beer garden that’s available for functions or simply frolicking. In the band room, your ears are always left ringing, and it’s basically everything you could hope for. Over the course of the Corner’s history, its hallowed stage has hosted an array of local up-and-comers, as well as early 2000s pop magicians Morcheeba and The Dandy Warhols.
The Toff In Town
Known for being a part of the infamous Swanston Street Cookie Building, The Toff In Town is part restaurant and part dance floor – when you walk in, turn right for the music. There is a regular stream of excellent DJs on stage, as well as an assortment of gigs and the occasional interactive activity, like a Justin Beiber–themed dance class. The Toff In Town is often a good fallback when you aren’t sure where to go in the city.
Bar, Contemporary, $$
You simply can’t pass up Cherry Bar; it’s located on AC/DC Lane! Don’t be fooled, though; it’s not all rock (although there is plenty of it). There is a variety of live music, and many talented musicians have stepped onto its tiny, tiny stage at some point in their career. If you scour the webpage closely you will find a number of free gigs; Monday night open mic is well worth dropping in on at least once.
St Kilda may be delightful in the warmer months, but come winter it’s freezing cold, and you need a pretty damn good reason to head there. Enter Prince Bandroom: nightclub, party venue, and home of some of the best gigs in Melbourne. Known in a past life as the Prince of Wales Bandroom, its hallowed walls have hosted live music for over 60 years. Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, and Regurgitator have all played in the underground band room at one point or another.
Rubix is a much-loved part of Melbourne’s underground music scene. Located quite literally on the wrong side of the train tracks in Brunswick, this place is the answer to all your warehouse party needs and desires. Events at Rubix aren’t just gigs, they’re full-sensory parties. The music is always next level, but it’s the atmosphere that makes Rubix Warehouse. Fans of electronic, techno, and drum-and-bass music will be happiest here.
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