Melbourne is renowned for its stellar nightlife, and if you’re looking to have an unforgettable evening, then this is the list for you. From frightful night tours to foodie festivals, after-hours art exhibitions and rooftop cinema – nights in Melbourne are never boring.
Whenever a major exhibition rolls into the National Gallery of Victoria, it is accompanied by a collection of events including the Friday Nights series. The pairing of art and music allows visitors after-hours access to the latest exhibition while enjoying the finest emerging and established local and international music acts, DJ sets, food and bars.
Among the many quirky bars hidden across Melbourne is Berlin Bar, which transports you to Cold War Germany. Once cleared at the checkpoint you’ll make your way into bleak East Berlin or the lavish West Berlin, where a boozy history lesson awaits. Order a cocktail and immerse yourself in Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. The bar is accessible via Chinatown’s Little Bourke Street.
Once occupied by Victoria’s most notorious criminals, the Old Melbourne Gaol now operates as a museum with a range of spine-tingling night tours on offer. Explore the original cell blocks in A Night in the Watch House, tour the gaol with a hangman in the Hangman’s Night Tour and listen to frightful stories in Ghost? What Ghosts! Cast in candlelight, these tours will provide a thoroughly terrifying insight into prison life.
Unleash your inner superstar at one of Melbourne’s many karaoke bars. From FM Karaoke on Bourke Street, Jankara on Russell Street, KBOX Karaoke on La Trobe Street and karaoke at Strike Bowling on Little Lonsdale Street, these venues embrace embarrassment and celebrate performance which are rarely pitch perfect. Let loose with friends or colleagues. You never know, you may discover a hidden talent.
Milk the Cow
Cheesemonger, European, $$$
Satisfy those late-night cheese cravings at Milk the Cow, a sophisticated wine and cheese bar. This licensed fromagerie boasts a selection of more than 150 artisan cheeses from across the globe as well as seasonal cheeses which are available to enjoy on site, by the gram or in a takeaway Cheesebox. Try a Cheesemonger’s Choice Cheeseboard, the Cheese & Booze Flights or indulge with an individual fondu pot in winter and artisan cheese gelato in summer.
In addition to the many rooftop bars, Melbourne also boasts rooftop cinemas where movie buffs can catch the latest blockbusters, cult classics and family favourites under the stars. Throughout the warmer months, Rooftop Cinema above Curtin House and Lido Rooftop on Glenferrie Road host nightly screenings where you can sit back, enjoy a snack and watch your favourite films while surrounded by Melbourne’s sparkling city skyline.
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
Bar, Restaurant, Australian, Vegetarian, $$$
Unique to Melbourne, the fleet of Colonial Tramcar Restaurants has been a popular culinary experience since 1983. Enjoy the seasonal menu and quality Australian wines as you dine within the opulent burgundy trams while beholding city sights. The all-inclusive moving menu includes three, four or five-course meals with vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Located in North Melbourne, The Comics Lounge is Australia’s longest-running comedy club. Generating laughs six nights a week, guests are treated to Joe King’s Bistro dinner and a three-act comedy show featuring both local and international comic geniuses. Performers include radio and television personalities such as Dave Hughes, Adam Hills and Carl Barron.
Visiting the historic Queen Victoria Market is on every Victorian to-do list, but for a slightly different experience visit the QVM’s Wednesday Night Market. Throughout the summer and winter months from 5pm, the market hosts global food traders, speciality and design stalls as well as live music and roving entertainment.
For dazzling panoramic views of Melbourne’s skyline, take a ride on Melbourne Star.Towering over the Docklands at 120 meters, “the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel”, features 21 air-conditioned cabins which offer 360º views of Melbourne, Port Phillip Bay, the Dandenong Ranges, Mount Macedon and Arthur’s Seat. Take a turn at dusk to watch the sunset or watch the glittering cityscape at night.
Pulling into High Street Preston, The Food Truck Park is a street food hub which hosts themed block parties including Pizzafest, Gluten Free Fest, Burger Bash, Mexican Street Food Weekend and more. Dine among the convoy of food trucks, listen to great music and mingle with other foodies. The fully licensed venue also features Barry’s Bar, which serves craft beer and cider on tap, and the best part is that the venue is pooch friendly and family friendly.