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Entertainment & Nightlife in Melbourne Australia


Melbourne nightlife is 24 hours, loud, colourful and anything goes. Door policies can be strict but once inside high quality entertainment is guaranteed. DJ's, live music, artists, beautiful people and so much more can be found. There truly is something for everyone and every taste.

Alongside it's many clubs, Melbourne is also a fast-rising festival city. Global event companies such as ID&T, Global Gathering, Ministry of Sound and Trance Energy have begun taking notice of the city and bringing their events.

Melbourne is also home to a vibrant and varied entertainment culture. See ballet, classical concerts, opera and plays in Melbourne's ornate theatres.

Fitzroy is one of the best neighbourhoods for traditional pubs, stylish bars, cafés and live music. The city is well regarded for its live music scene and venues vary from major performance venues to backstreet pubs. Beachside St Kilda has one of the best – the Esplanade Hotel, or Espy, as well as a burgeoning café scene. Chapel St in South Yarra is where to head if you fancy mingling with the beautiful people.

The central business district hosts a plethora of very stylish bars, the best of which are normally tucked away down narrow streets and laneways.

Australian licensing laws are very similar to those in the UK i.e. you are not allowed to be drunk on licensed premises. In practice though, Melbourne venues and bouncers draw the line very low. Ejection from a premises can be expected for fighting, vomiting, or frequent falling over. Some pubs and clubs are quicker to eject patrons than others, but it's only ever a short walk to another. Licensing is more liberal then what one may be used to, as you can still expect to find a drink past 2 am. This has lead to a culture of late night drinking where some venues won't get busy until some time after 11 pm, especially true during summer.

Melburnians often draw a distinction between 'bars', meaning the small watering holes described above, and 'pubs' which are larger establishments in the usual Australian or British sense of the word. Melbourne's pubs, particularly those in the city and inner suburbs, usually serve restaurant-standard food and a wide range of local and imported beers. Pubs usually offer lunch from approximately midday to 2 pm, and reopen their kitchens for dinner from approximately 6 pm to 9 pm.

To find out what's happening, check the Friday entertainment guide in The Age, Melbourne's daily broadsheet.

Places to Unwind

Performing Arts

Melbourne is the most dynamic performing-arts city in Australia. Its theaters offer the gamut, from offbeat independent productions to large-scale Broadway-style musicals. The city is also the home of the most prestigious festivals, with the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival ( and the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival (, attracting top Australian and international talent.

Venues all over the city participate in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and the Fringe Festival sees the streets, pubs, theatres, and restaurants playing host to everyone from jugglers and fire-eaters to musicians and independent productions covering all art forms. Try to get tickets if you're in town during either festival, but keep in mind that hotels fill up fast at these times. Another good time to plan your visit is during the annual Melbourne International Film Festival (, when new releases, shorts, and avant-garde movies play at venues around the city.

The official government entertainment information site,, shows "What's On" in the theatre world for up to two months in advance, as well as what's happening in dance, film, comedy, music, exhibitions, sports and tours.

The best place to buy tickets for everything from theatre to major sporting events, and to obtain details on schedules, is Ticketmaster (

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