Wherever you lie on the musical spectrum, you’ll agree that there’s nothing quite like the Melbourne music scene; dynamic, inclusive and at times, down-right dirty. Well, we’ve got your top venues to experience the best live music Melbourne has to offer.
7-11 Dawson St, Brunswick VIC 3056
Tucked away behind a Brunswick car park, you’ll find the ever-so-charming, Howler. What starts as a conceptual beer garden, moves into a quant dining area and stops at an intimate stage room. Every room is conceptually designed, from the garden oasis DJ booth, to the dimly-lit band room.
Structural beams, brick walling and dim-lighting house alternative acts from around the globe and while Howler is certainly the more contemporary of the Melbourne music venues, it still houses every kind of genre, permeating character and depth throughout it’s walls.
99 Smith St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Ah, Yah Yah’s. Sitting comfortably between garbage dive bar and bustling music venue, every Melbournian has a soft spot for this “weekend club for zombies.”
A Fitzroy staple, Yah Yah’s showcases some of the best Aussie-made bands from 5pm onwards. Ranging from grunge, punk, hip-hop, rock and indie, there’s a little something for everyone, not to mention they have resident DJ’s till 5am if you’re in the mood for a boogie.
AC/DC Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
One of Melbourne’s most iconic Rock venues, our beloved Cherry Bar has been an institution since 1999.
Located on the famous AC/DC lane in the heart of Melbourne’s business district, Cherry Bar has maintained its position as a grunge-rock jewel in the heart of the corporate world for over a decade. Even with its modest 230 capacity, this music venue has housed some of the best Rock n’ Roll prodigies from around the globe. However, don’t be shy to wander in on a lonely Monday night, the Cherry Bar fables have included pop-ins from Jack Black, Axl Rose, the Artic Monkeys and more.
125 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Formerly The HiFi, Max Watt’s has been hosting a range of International acts, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD for over 16 years.
These guys have seen some of the largest musical acts from around the world including Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, O.F.W.G.K.T.A, The Jezabels, Art Vs. Science and Laura Marling. In addition to this, Max Watt’s also play host to a variety of events, including the inaugural Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
While they may not be the grungiest of the Melbourne music venues, Max Watt’s holds a 900 person capacity, two fully licenced bars and an all-encompassing stage, so that you can view your favourite acts in style.
154 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
The grandeur of Forum Melbourne is not missed by most. Over a century old, this live music venue is one of the most architecturally charming buildings in town.
Boasting two high-end venues in one, Forum caters to everything from bands, singers, comedians and live festivals. A fabulous creation of fantasy, the Forum Melbourne continues to provide quality entertainment in all forms, to every Melbournian.
The Corner Hotel
57 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121
Showcasing the best of both worlds, Corner Hotel combines a chic, rooftop bar with their dimly-lit, band room downstairs.
Certainly a cultural institution for music lovers, Corner Hotel showcase a range of Aussie and International acts up to seven nights a week. Once you’ve danced your socks off, head upstairs and grab something to eat in their minimalist, greenery-clad beer garden. This music venue encapsulates everything a Melbournian needs; good food, great bands and an impressive drinks selection. Don’t be turned off by the rather obstructive pillars in the band room, over time they have become a staple of debauchery and more often than not, a couple music-lovers will end up hanging off them during a particularly good chorus.
Grace Darling Hotel
114 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Melbourne’s second oldest pub and a North-side treasure, Grace Darling Hotel hosts a number of local live music acts and has produced some of the best emerging acts in Melbourne.
This local haunt consists of a restaurant, public bar, and two band rooms, not to mention the sidewalk beer garden that’s inviting, diverse and perfect for after work drinks. Located in the heart of vibrant Smith Street, Collingwood, Grace Darling Hotel is one of the best supporters of local and live music in Melbourne.
Northcote Social Club
301 High St, Northcote VIC 3070
Another North side beauty, Northcote Social Club supports indie and underground talent from around the globe.
Offering up a cosy band room, this live venue celebrates the smaller bands of the world. So, if you’re not in the mood for bustling, sweaty crowds, Northcote Social can offer you up a more intimate live music experience. Not to mention, their newly-renovated decking space is warm and inviting, equipped with a modern and delicious pub menu.
140 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056
The Brunny is an institution committed to cheap drinks and good vibes. A little bit derelict and a lot a bit charming, this music venue serves up all sorts of late-night party experiences.
Free live music is almost always in tow and takes place in a velvet-clad band stage, tucked away in the corner of their beer garden during the warmer months, or the inside stage, which is used year round. This casual music venue is perfect for having a couple beers outside, while listening to some local tunes.
Toff in Town
252 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Making up just one of the premier venues in the 6-storey superstructure that is known as Curtin House, The Toff is regarded as one of Melbourne’s premier live music venues.
With a broad range of acts from music, dance, comedy and theatre, this cabaret-inspired venue has a lot to offer. A decadent little haunt, the Toff hosts live music most weeknights, which turn into resident DJs playing until late.
Get fancy with their extensive Thai menu, ranging from from ginger beer roast chicken to peking duck pancakes, this music venue is stylish in all aspects.
By Jessie Castle
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