Sydney may have the glamour and glitz of the Harbour and Bondi, and Brisbane may have endless sand and backpacker bar-crawl carnage but every Aussie knows cosmopolitan Melbourne is the place to go for some electrifying live music. Victoria’s capital has always had more of a communal vibe and its music scene has consistently led the way Down Under.
You’ll find local bands testing out their own tunes at practically every other pub North of the Yarra River, whilst Southside has loads of breezy, open bars with polished outfits banging out covers. With so much to choose from, you can almost feel like you’re lost on a musical Walkabout, so we’re here to help!
From classic rock dives to sophisticated jazz bars, here are our five favourite venues to check out in marvellous Melbs!
Prince Bandroom, St Kilda.
We have to start with this legendary spot in the Prince Of Wales pub on Fitzroy Street. It’s been hosting eclectic live music for 60 years now and is a Melbourne institution. Dark and grungy with a low stage and ceiling that crams everyone into a heaving, rocking mass, it’s exactly the authentic no-frills experience that draws everyone in town here at some point or another.
Corner Hotel, Richmond.
Next to the train station, the Corner Hotel is another linchpin of the Melbourne music scene. Every major international act hitting ‘Straya plays the Corner Hotel – think everyone from The White Stripes to Lorde! A great beer garden, rooftop trivia nights and pretty bonza pub grub, it’s always worth seeing what’s on, or just popping in to enjoy the vibes.
Yah Yah’s, Fitzroy.
A medium size venue with a late night licence (2000-0500 on weekends), it’s a great way to end an evening, or head early and stay for nine hours! As well as having a top roster of DJ’s, Yah Yah’s regularly focuses on up and coming local acts, often with an experimental edge. Sexy lighting and good acoustics make for a chic vibe where patrons can relax and socialise whilst still focusing on the music.
Birds’s Basement, Singers Lane.
Just south of Nomads hostel, Bird’s Basement is the first “outpost” of the legendary Birdland jazz cub in NYC. Stunning deep blue decor with old school neon trim, the spacious seating area and intimate stage make for a slinky slice of Big Apple style in Australia’s second city. A who’s who of global talent and local up and comers blow their stuff regularly. Plus it has two dinner shows per evening which means you can make it the start of a night or the main feature. Charlie Parker would approve!
Finally, one of the newer venues on this list. Howler has quickly made a name for itself as a top spot for local and international acts. An achingly cool bar – halfway between a summer park and a factory floor – leads on to a wide band room. Loads of space to bop around and have a boogie at the back or jump around at the front, it’s an awesome room; crazy to think only a few years ago it was an abandoned shed by the train tracks!
Feet tip-tapping in anticipation? Ours too! If you want to read more about this quirky, creative and uber-cool city give our Melbourne travel guide a nosey…