The Laird Hotel
Laird Hotel is a gay bar just off Hoddle Street in the inner-eastern suburb of Abbotsford that has traded for over 30 years and is recognised throughout the gay community both locally and abroad. The hotel’s history dates back to the mid 19th century, making this venue one of the oldest hotels in Melbourne. But since changing hands in 1980, this bar has been a primarily men-only venue, and is now a space that attracts a more masculine crowd, from leather men to bears as well just your average guys.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8pm-late
Watch out for: a relaxed atmosphere
Laird Hotel, 149 Gipps St, Abbotsford VIC, Australia, +61 3 9417 2832
In the heart of St. Kilda is one of the most frequented gay bars in Melbourne, the GH Hotel. The main bar lines one side of the dance floor, facing the stage that hosts performances from local and international drag queens, who are often joined by the renowned Melbourne-based group of male dancers, Boylesque, as well as pop-stars from around the world. This is one of Melbourne’s high-class venues with top-quality sound and light systems. The GH is a place where you can come wearing what you like, with whomever you like, and be yourself.
Opening hours: Wed-Thu 12-11pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-3am; Sun 12-11pm
Watch out for: Drag Bingo every Wednesday night
GH Hotel, 1 Brighton Rd, St Kilda VIC, Australia, +61 3 9534 4189
One of the newer nights on the gay scene is Fabuland, here to add colour and rainbows to your Friday nights, and make them just that extra bit more fabulous. Fabuland is the home of the creative and flamboyant team of performers, The Fabuland Fabulettes, who are here to entertain and dazzle you throughout the night. Fabuland is one of the few gay nights in Melbourne’s CBD, making it incredibly well located, and a great place to unashamedly party your night away.
Opening hours: Fri 8pm-late
Watch out for: the extravagant and entertaining drag shows
Inflation, 60 King St, Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9614 6122
Friday and Saturday nights out have gotten so mainstream nowadays, but thankfully Thursgay is there to start your weekend the way it was meant to be started: early. Mr Wow’s Emporium is an alternative bar in the centre of Melbourne that offers its space every Thursday to cater to a different crowd. Every Thursday you can come down to 97B Smith Street to party late into the night, meet some new people, and then collectively let out a groan of regret come Friday morning when you’re back at work or uni. Although Thursgay has ‘gay’ in the name, this night welcomes people who identify as any letter of the LGBTIQ community.
Opening hours: Thu 9pm-late
Watch out for: discounted espresso martinis from 9-10pm
Mr Wow’s Emporium, 97B Smith St, Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9419 2992
The Peel Hotel
The Peel Hotel remains one of Melbourne’s primary gay bars, as well as being one of the city’s few permanent gay venues with free entry. Being one of the few bars in the city that is open until the late hours of the morning means that this is the perfect place to continue the party without being told to go home. For many gay guys in Melbourne, it’s a rite of passage to end your night of crazy partying at the peel, where the DJ is still spinning well into the morning.
Opening hours: Thu 9pm-8am; Fri 9pm-9am; Sat 9pm-9.30am
Watch out for: free entry and late opening hours
The Peel Hotel, 113 Wellington St, Collingwood VIC, Australia, +61 3 9419 4762
Located in alternative inner-city suburb of Fitzroy is Sircuit Bar, a gay bar that has no tolerance for aggression, and is passionate about providing a space free from judgement and nasty behaviour. Sircuit Bar is open Wednesday to Sunday, offering different events each night, from pool competitions on a Tuesday and drag shows on a Wednesday to Apollo, men only night on a Saturday night. Sircuit is also home of the iconic themed pop-up bar, which pays homage to the Australian gay icon Kylie Minogue, Bar Kylie.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 7.30pm-late
Watch out for:the friendly, judgement free environment
Sircuit Bar, 103-105 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC, Australia, +61 3 9416 3960