Most of the central city's dance clubs are along the King Street strip, or near the corner of Queen Street and Little Collins Street. Clubs usually open at 9 or 10 weekends and some weeknights, and stay open until the early-morning hours. Expect to pay a small cover at most clubs—between A$15 and A$20.

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  • 1. Esplanade Hotel

    St. Kilda

    Not only is this hallowed live music venue a great place to see local bands, but the Esplanade, or "Espy," is a historic pub—built in 1878—listed with the National Trust. Following a three-year renovation, she has retained her iconic band room, and added a swag of new bar spaces and three restaurants including My Tiger for Cantonese cuisine, in vibrant, beautiful settings: grab a table on the terrace to be seen.

    11 The Esplanade, Melbourne, Victoria, 3182, Australia
  • 2. Gin Palace

    City Center

    Reminiscent of Hollywood's golden era, Gin Palace is a must-visit for gin lovers, with knowledgeable staff and more than enough types of martinis to satisfy any taste, and a brace of gin and tonics featuring Australian and international craft gins and exotic tonics.

    10 Russell Pl.
    - 03 - 9654–0533
  • 3. The Everleigh


    One of the city's best cocktail bars, the Everleigh also makes a perfect spot for couples, with dark lighting, soft tunes, and glamorous, 1920s decor. Expect hand-cut ice, fine spirits, and genuinely expert bartenders.

    150–156 Gertrude St., Melbourne, Victoria, 3065, Australia
  • 4. Alehouse Project

    Brunswick East

    Regarded as having one of the best craft beer lists in the city, with a strong emphasis on Australian brews, this local favorite also has an excellent menu, matched especially to the beers on offer. Head to the beer garden out back in the warmer months.

    98 Lygon St.
    - 03 - 9387–1218
  • 5. Cherry Bar

    City Center

    This iconic and intimate, this rowdy rock 'n' roll bar is located on AC/DC Lane. The address alone says it all.

    AC/DC La.
    - 03 - 9639–8122
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  • 6. Comic's Lounge

    North Melbourne

    This comedy club is a good place for a laugh.

    26 Errol St.
    - 03 - 9348–9488
  • 7. Cookie

    City Center

    Located in a lofty warehouse-style space with exposed ceiling pipes and a balcony, Cookie focuses on domestic and international craft beer and great Thai food.

    252 Swanston St.
    - 03 - 9663–7660
  • 8. Corner Hotel


    The Corner Hotel has alternative, reggae, rock, blues, and jazz gigs with an emphasis on homegrown bands. Tasty pub meals can be had on the rooftop for a pre-gig dinner or in the beer garden, 'Round the Corner.

    57 Swan St.
    - 03 - 9427–7300 - bar
  • 9. Embla

    City Center

    Welcoming but still sophisticated, Embla is a throwback to and an improvement on Melbourne's original small bar scene. An accessible but often obscure wine list is accompanied by wholesome gourmet snacks from the wood-fired oven that are cooked to perfection.

    122 Russell St.
    - 0455 - 122-121
  • 10. Max Watt's House of Music

    City Center

    This popular venue is known for live local and lesser-known international rock bands, and as a stand-up venue during the International Comedy Festival.

    125 Swanston St.
    - 1300 - 843–443 - tickets
  • 11. Melbourne Supper Club

    City Center

    Age-buffed leather sofas, cigars, and an exhaustive wine list characterize this classy club. For views and cocktails, continue upstairs to the rooftop terrace bar Siglo, which overlooks the neoclassic architecture of Victoria's state parliament building.

    161 Spring St., Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
  • 12. Mitre Tavern

    City Center

    One of the oldest pubs in town, pulling pints since 1868, locals love the unpretentious vibe of this British-style establishment in the city's financial district. It's especially popular with nine-to-fivers who like an after-work drink in the beer garden.

    5 Bank Pl.
    - 03 - 9670–5644
  • 13. Ms Collins

    City Center

    A bar from Tuesday to Saturday, with food designed by some of Melbourne's top chefs, Ms Collins turns Latin American on Thursday and R&B club on Friday night.

    425 Collins St.
    - 03 - 8614–2222
  • 14. Palais Theatre

    St. Kilda

    This theater, which first opened in 1927, features film, music festival openings, and concerts by Australian and international acts such as the Soweto Gospel Choir and Joe Bonamassa.

    Lower Esplanade
    - 03 - 8537–7677
  • 15. Polly


    Mix with colorful and quirky clientele in an equally fun 1920s design with red-velvet lounges, gilt mirrors, and chandeliers. Also enjoy a traditional or contemporary cocktail—there are 55 concoctions to choose from.

    401 Brunswick St.
    - 03 - 9417–0880
  • 16. Prince of Wales

    St. Kilda

    For rock and roll, punk, and grunge, head to the Prince Bandroom at the Prince of Wales, which attracts a straight and gay crowd. Ticket prices vary widely, depending on the gig.

    29 Fitzroy St., Melbourne, Victoria, 3182, Australia
  • 17. Retreat Hotel


    This expansive pub has local bands performing most nights of the week. It also has one of the city's best beer gardens.

    280 Sydney Rd., Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 18. Revolver Upstairs


    This bar caters predominantly to young partygoers, with early-morning recovery sessions—a time for revelers around town to keep on partying—that are especially popular.

    229 Chapel St.
  • 19. Section 8

    City Center

    A shipping container located in an old parking lot in Chinatown, set in an alleyway filled with street art, Section 8 is all things Melbourne. The reliably trendy bar is popular with the artsy student crowd enjoying a drink (and maybe a dance) in this mostly outdoor bar.

    27–29 Tattersalls La., Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia
  • 20. Spotted Mallard


    In addition hosting live bands, this venue also has trivia nights and serves a range of microbrewery beers.

    314 Sydney Rd.
    - 03 - 9380–8818

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