Mr Mark Jessen
29 Best Live Music Venues in Melbourne | Man of Many
With a huge rooftop beergarden, a couple of stages, and an impressive alumni list, the Corner Hotel is a mainstay of live music in Melbourne.
1. Corner Hotel
Since its inception in 2004, the Northcote Social Club has become ground-zero for Melbourne’s indie music scene. The stage is smaller than some of its peer live music venues, but that only enhances the vibe in a room that’s specifically designed for watching a gig. There’s live music almost every night of the week, and there’s a free three-band show every Monday.
2. Northcote Social Club
The Tote has been Melbourne’s go-to venue for punk, metal, psychedelic, and all things rock’n’roll since the 80s. The roster of performers is long and august and includes Australian rock royalty like Jet, Silverchair, and the Hoodoo Gurus.
3. The Tote
Featuring some of the hottest local and international indie rock bands and DJs, The Gasometer Hotel—or Gasos to those in the know—is one of the only live music pubs in Melbourne where you can rock out under an open sky.
4. The Gasometer Hotel
This North Fitzroy bar is full of twists, turns, and surprises; not the least of which is a fully-functional miniature cinema in the back. The 30-seat cinema is available for hire every night of the week, and frequently the host of intimate movie screenings and cozy live music performances.
5. LongPlay
Take a classic Melbourne pub with a comfort food dominated menu and a tap list featuring all the usual suspects, add a diverse line-up of musical talent, and a deceptively large band room to host said talent, and you’ve got The Workers Club.
6. The Workers Club
In a city with a rich history of debased revelry and merrymaking, The Grace Darling Hotel has seen it all—she is Melbourne’s second oldest pub, after all.
7. The Grace Darling Hotel
A sprawling garden lounge with a soaring glass ceiling, the best burgers in town (allegedly) and a solid line-up of local craft beer, AND a state of the band room hosting some of the hottest acts around: What more could you want from a live music bar in Melbourne?
8. Howler
140 years of history came roaring back to life in 2018 when the Esplanade Hotel—the beloved seaside establishment known affectionately as The Espy—reopened after a massive reno.
9. The Espy
The Toff in Town is a lot of things: a suave and seductive late-night bar, a hideout in the middle of the CBD, a place to grab a coveted train carriage booth and enjoy a meal and a cocktail… but it’s a live music venue first and foremost, and one of the best places to catch a show in the CBD.
10. The Toff in Town
Comfy cafe by day, intimate gig space by night; Some Velvet Morning is Melbourne’s ultimate retro live music bar. The all-acoustic tunes happen out the back on a small fold-out stage which is frequently graced by some of the most talented blues, folk, and jazz artists in the city.
11. Some Velvet Morning
Folks yearning for the old Fitzroy will find a home away from home in Bar Open, Brunswick St’s notorious (in all the right ways) pub with a flair for roots and rock’n’roll.
12. Bar Open
A staple in the Melbourne live music scene, The Evelyn Hotel is a longstanding pub renowned for cheap drinks, good times, and shows every day of the week.
13. The Evelyn
You wouldn’t be remiss to call The Prince Bandroom Melbourne’s quintessential live music venue. Part of the greater Prince Hotel complex, TBP has been a hot spot for live music since the 70s and is well deserved of its legendary status as one of Melbourne’s best known and best-loved venues.
14. The Prince Bandroom
Billed as Fitzroy’s best-kept secret, The Catfish slings good booze, Philly Cheese Steaks worth telling your friends about, and great live music; all without a drop of pretence.
15. The Catfish
It’s got a few names: a container in a carpark; the pop-up bar that won’t die… but officially it’s known as Section 8. And to those in the know, it’s also known as one of the best damn times in Melbourne.
16. Section 8
It ain’t a small feat to be deemed “the world’s best jazz club” by Lonely Planet. But that’s exactly the designation Melbourne’s own Bennetts Lane Jazz Club received.
17. Bennetts Lane Jazz Club
The appeal of Cherry Bar, according to staff and regulars alike, is straightforward: it’s “pretty much the best rock n roll bar in the world”. A veritable Melbourne institution, they recently closed the doors of their founding location in ACDC Lane after an almost 20-year stint… only to move 400m down the road.
18. Cherry Bar
Alrighty, on to the big boys. The venues below are where you’ll catch Melbourne’s largest shows. Some of the most recognisable names in music have played at these theatres and stadiums, and they all excel at turning a concert into a spectacle you won’t forget any time soon.
Melbourne’s Best Purpose-Built Live Music Venues and Stadiums
If Melbourne subculture had a physical home, it might just be Rubix Warehouse. With walls adorned with the work of talented local street artists and a dim industrial vibe, the venue successfully blurs the lines between edgy underground funhouse and high-tech warehouse club.
19. Rubix Warehouse
Most commonly known as a sporting venue, Margaret Court Arena is also known to throw a banging party from time to time.
20. Margaret Court Arena
If you’re heading to a big-ticket live music show in Melbourne, chances are it’ll be at Rod Laver Arena. Since their first show—AC/DC back in ’88, no biggie—they’ve put on so many world-class concerts that the list of artists who haven’t played at the Rod is longer than the list who have.
21. Rod Laver Arena
AAMI Park popped their live music cherry back in 2011 when they hosted the Foo Fighters and more than 60K punters over two nights. There’s more focus on sports events at this Melbourne stadium, but they hold their own against landmark neighbours like the MCG and Rod Laver Arena as one of the city’s premier stadium venues for live music.
22. AAMI Park
Located smack-bang in the middle of the CBD, Marvel Stadium is Melbourne’s sexiest stadium. (Ah, hang on, is that a thing? Well we’re making it a thing!)
23. Marvel Stadium
The mother of all Melbourne stadiums, the venue to which all other venues owe an undying respect; nothing comes close to the MCG. For generations, Melbournians have flocked to the ‘G to witness moments they’ll remember forever; mostly at sporting matches, but also at packed-to-the-rafters concerts.
24. MCG
Festival Hall has a long and storied history and has served as the venue for concerts and sporting events (notably boxing, earning it the nickname “the House of Stoush”) for over 100 years.
25. Festival Hall
Complete with an ornate arched roof and twin domed towers, the Palais Theatre is an icon of the eclectic Art Deco architecture of the 1920s and the largest seated theatre in the country.
26. Palais Theatre
Another icon of early 20th century Melbourne, the Forum Theatre is one of the city’s top stops for live music. Oasis, Tame Impala, Midnight Oil, and tons of other huge artists have graced the stage, and they continue to welcome artists from all stripes.
27. Forum Theatre
If you like your concerts on the lawn, look no further than the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne’s best outdoor live music venue.
28. Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Melbourne’s premier mid-size live music venue, 170 Russell has been getting gig-goers dancing for more than 50 years.
29. 170 Russell
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