Melbourne’s fondness for a drink or three is reflected in its abundance of excellent bars and pubs – from places so obscure and cutting-edge you’ll only know they exist by word of mouth, to large establishments catering to broader and louder tastes. In general, bars stay open to around 1am during the week and 3am at weekends, while some clubs are open until 5am or 7am at the weekend. Some of the more upmarket places have dress codes. A number of drinking places are also listed under “Live music”. For online guides to the city’s drinking spots try melbournepubs.com or barfinder.com.au, and for special offers and happy hours, visit thehappiesthour.com.
Melbourne’s club culture is as vibrant as its bar scene. The hot spots are Chapel St in South Yarra and the CBD, but clubs take root anywhere they can, from big commercial nights in the suburbs to obscure experimental sessions in inner-city laneways. International DJs visit frequently, and local talent keeps the scene thriving. The bigger the night, the more the cover charge, though it rarely tops $15 unless there’s an international guest.
Melbourne’s gay and lesbian venues are concentrated around the areas of South Yarra and Prahran in the south, and Collingwood and Fitzroy in the north. While there are still several staunch gay-only bars, the trend is increasingly moving to mixed venues that are gay friendly.