Melbourne is considered Australia's bar capital and hub of live music, comedy and Broadway music theatre.
Many of Melbourne's smarter bars are tucked away in the city's numerous narrow lanes. Across the Yarra River, Southgate provides the arts precinct with a strip of bars with riverside views. Entrance to most clubs is free but a fee may be applicable on weekends. For gay nightspots, head for the inner suburb of South Yarra, with various pubs, clubs and discos clustered around Commercial Road.
Free listings magazines include Beat (www.beat.com.au) and Friday's The Age newspaper (www.theage.com.au) contains the entertainment listings supplement. Information is available online (www.streetsofmelbourne.com.au).
You can book cheap tickets for most venues throughout Melbourne at the Half-Tix booth, Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street (tel: +61 3 9650 9420;www.halftixmelbourne.com). Advance tickets can be bought through Ticketek (tel: 132 849, in Australia only; www.ticketek.com.au).
Bars in Melbourne
Exposed brickwork, red hues and dark timber create a warm, immaculately presented venue. Sample a cocktail during 2-for-1 happy hour, or perhaps you'd prefer a little nibble from the tasty array of bar fare.Address: , Basement, 71 Hardware Lane, Melbourne,
Telephone: +61 3 9600 1454.
One of the latest additions to St Kilda's eclectic bar scene, Freddie Wimpoles is a beer lover's paradise with 13 craft beers on tap. The bar is named after Frederick Wimpole, who bought The George Hotel – the venue's location – in 1873 and was the director of the Melbourne Co-operative Brewing Company. The quirky décor includes neon lights, taxidermy deer heads, a jukebox and a wall made entirely out of beer cans.Address: St Kilda, 125 Fitzroy Street, Melbourne,
Telephone: + 61 3 9525 4041.
Loop Project Space and Bar is a hipster hangout, housing a tiny dancefloor and an ever changing "project space" with audio visual performances, ensuring there's more to watch than just the wallpaper while sipping from a seasonal list of cocktails. Other drinks on offer in this elite open-to-5am venue include a variety of wines, cider, beers and even mulled wine in a thermos – during winter of course.Address: , 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne,
Telephone: + 61 3 9654 0500.
Clubs in Melbourne
Alumbra at Central Pier
For the Saturday night megaclub experience with the cream of Melbourne's DJ talent on hand and a suitable Docklands setting as a backdrop, Alumbra ticks all the boxes. Club and house classics give way on Sunday to funk and soul grooves and the weekly Sunday Soul Sessions night regularly features live band Afodescia.Address: Docklands, Shed 9, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne,
Telephone: + 61 3 8623 9666.
With four different areas across three levels, Brown Alley is probably the largest club in Melbourne. It regularly hosts some of the coolest local and international DJs, whose sets range from psy-trance and electro to deep house. Significantly, Brown Alley is the proud owner of a 24-hour liquor licence and one of the best sound systems in the city.Address: , 585 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne,
Telephone: +61 3 9670 8599.
Seven is one of Melbourne's premier nightclubs. With the best in high-tech sound and lighting equipment and two levels of dance floors, this is the perfect spot to groove the night away to tunes turned out by talented local and international artists.Address: , 52 Albert Road, Melbourne, 3205
Telephone: + 61 3 9690 7877.
Live music in Melbourne
The Evelyn is a popular student hangout in Fitzroy, not far from the University of Melbourne. It caters to a wide demographic of music lovers with up to eight gigs a week, booking both local up-and-coming acts and more well-known touring artists.Address: Fitzroy, 351 Brunswick Street, Melbourne,
Telephone: +61 3 9419 5500.
Located just outside of central Melbourne, The Croxton first opened in 1844 but the huge ballroom that now hosts weekly concerts was not built until the mid-twentieth century. After a recent renovation, the venue is slowly rebuilding the prestige it lost with the decline of eighties rock - when anyone who's anyone (including ACDC, INXS, and Men at Work) wanted to play at the Croc.Address: Thornbury, 607 High Street, Melbourne,
Telephone: +61 3 9480 2233.
The Prince of Wales Bandroom
Host of live music in the seaside suburb of St Kilda for six decades, The Prince has played host to some of the world's best and well-known artists and DJs such as Lenny Kravitz, Jack Johnson, Scissor Sisters, Ben Harper, Pink, Coldplay, Bright Eyes and Goldfrapp to name but a few.Address: St Kilda, 29 Fitzroy Street, Melbourne,
Telephone: +61 3 9536 1168.