The 10 Best Live Music Venues In Melbourne
For some people music is one of the main reasons they might head to Melbourne, while others simply might not be aware of the rich musical history we have here. Either way, if you’re new to town or even just new to the scene then you might want to check out the places where all the magic happens – somewhere that you might catch the next Nick Cave or Gareth Liddiard starting out.
1.The Corner Hotel - Richmond
One of Melbourne’s musical cornerstones (sorry about the pun) and a home away from home for many interstate and international acts, what we know today as The Corner first gained notoriety as a jazz club in the 1940s and in more recent decades has become one of Melbourne’s premier small-to-medium-sized rock n’ roll venues. Expect a wide range of genres, great beer and great pub food.
2. The Tote - Collingwood
Mamasita is not only one of the hottest Mexican restaurants in town it is also one of the most accommodating to those that suffer from any kind of food intolerance. The entire menu is either gluten free or can be made gluten free (except for a few desserts). There is also a menu card available on request indicating the main allergens present in every dish, such as onion, garlic, egg, chili and dairy. On top of this, the staff are super friendly and willing to cater to dietary requirements – so ensure you share your food restrictions with them.
3. The Old Bar - Fitzroy
A dive bar in the absolute best sense of the term. Come here if you want to be packed in like sardines in front of a tiny stage and don’t mind a busted ear drum. In other words, this is another great place for a good old punk rock night out. No kitchen here but a great selection of beers more than make up for it. The Oldie’s also home to periodic art exhibitions so keep an eye out on their website.
4. The Northcote Social Club - Northcote
There are a lot of reasons why it’s worth making the trip out to Northcote and this place is one of the best ones. Like the Corner, a lot of larger touring acts come through to play at the Northcote. It’s easy to get to by train or tram, and has a great, gastro-pub style menu, too.
5. Cherry Bar - Melbourne
It’s on AC/DC Lane. Enough said, really. Keeping the old-school rock n’roll flag flying in the city centre, it’s a favourite haunt for many touring rock bands and is also famed for its soul and funk nights. There’s nothing quite like a packed floor at Cherry.
6. The Evelyn Hotel - Fitzroy
You’ve probably got a local pub near you that feels like an old friend. Fitzroy institution, The Evelyn, is exactly that to those lucky enough to live nearby – with the added bonus of having a huge band room for a pub of its size, which hosts all manner of different genres, and local bands right up to the occasional overseas act. They don’t do food here but feel free to BYO; it’s on Brunswick St, where you’re already spoiled for choice in that department.
7. Bennett’s Lane - Melbourne
Jazz ain’t dead. Often hailed as one of Australia’s best jazz clubs, Bennett’s Lane has been host to a dizzying array of big jazz names since it first opened more than two decades ago. Oh, and the late legend Prince played a secret show here in 2003 that’s gone down in history, or infamy if you were one of the people who lined up and missed out.
8. The John Curtin Hotel - Carlton
This rather unassuming Carlton pub has a big upstairs band room that is one of the city’s best and hosts performers in a wide variety of different genres almost every night of the week. It’s also home to some great food (including various pop-up kitchens from time to time) and a wide range of different beers. It’s only a short walk north of the CBD.
9. The Gasometer - Collingwood
An imposing corner pub with striking red walls and a band room that has a retracting roof. A summer night at the Gaso has to be seen to be believed. If you’re hungry, the gourmet menu goes beyond your typical pub fare and has a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options to boot.
10. The Toff In Town – Melbourne
This one is a lot more than just a room with a stage – that’s just one side of The Toff, the other side being a classy bar/restaurant with intimate booths and a menu of delectable Asian-inspired cuisine. After you’ve had a cocktail and some nibbles, poke your head into the band room and treat your ears to the venue’s state-of-the-art sound system usually found only in much larger venues. Catching your favourite bands here is a real treat.
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