Melbourne is a town brimming with tunes. From cabaret, jazz, folk, rock or anything in between, there’s a place just waiting for you in the laneways of the CBD. So rug up, get out and discover the soundtrack of the city.
Melbourne’s original rock bar, Cherry Bar put down its roots in the ‘90s, and quickly blossomed as an edgy rock ‘n’ roll hangout. That’s a big reason why the grimy alley it lives on was renamed ACDC Lane in 2004, after the legendary Aussie rockers. This intimate venue is probably still one of the best places to see live bands in the central city.
Murmur Piano Bar
One of Melbourne’s original laneway bars, Murmur relaunched earlier this year as Murmur Piano Bar. Tucked away in the sneaky little side street of Warburton Lane, Murmur pairs piano parties with classic cocktails and authentic Spanish tapas provided by downstairs restaurant Portello Rosso. Visit them Tuesday to Saturday every week to create your very own Billy Joel experience.
Discreetly hidden in Goldie Place, Paris Cat has an intimate Bohemian style. The Cat has hosted many heavy hitters over the years including Don Burrows, The Aaron Goldberg Trio, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. With reserved tables and a well-stocked bar, it’s the perfect place to get cosy on a winter’s night.
Created by the team behind The Toff in Town, Magic Mountain and Cookie, Boney is a seven day-a-week restaurant, bar and band room. Open late on most nights, Boney is where you come to dance… till you can’t. Fill up on tasty morsels from the Asian-inspired menu – and then work it off to music by independent live acts and local and international DJs.
A cosy temple to all things camp and kitsch, the Butterfly Club features a revolving door of cabaret, comedy, burlesque and more. Their long-running Glee Club (Tuesdays), billed as ‘the hippest sing-a-long choir in town’, is no-audition choral night of good times and good music. Or, swing by after 10.30pm for Fab Fridays, to request your favourite song from their legendary piano man.
Named after the 1937 novel by Polish author Witold Gombrowicz, Ferdydurke is… well… different. Deemed subversive, the novel – an exploration of identity, culture and politics – was banned by the Nazis, Stalinists and the Polish Communist regime. Ferdydurke, the bar, is similarly an exploration of identity and proudly non-conformist. Music is a mix of local and international bands and DJs. You’ll find Ferdydurke on Tattersalls Lane.
The Toff in Town
Walk up the stairs to the second floor of Curtin House, the city’s original ‘vertical laneway’ to find The Toff’s stage room. This stylish live performance venue has hosted the likes of Dan Sultan, the Cat Empire and the inimitable Katie Noonan.
Little sister to the well-known New York jazz venue Birdland, Bird’s Basement serves up smooth sounds guaranteed to keep jazz connoisseurs happy. Book for dinner show at 7.45pm or if you’re a night owl, the supper show starts from 10pm. If you’re feeling adventurous, Monday’s improv night is a wild ride featuring a rotating line up of local and international artists.
Speakeasy HQ packs in the punters with a tantalising mix of cabaret, burlesque, comedy and quirky performances. On Fridays, grab a nightcap at their Vaudeville and Burlesque night and relax in a gold-rush era style evening of entertainment. Or settle back with a martini and listen to ‘piano prodigy’ Dr Max in the Sly Bar Piano Lounge, Saturday nights in August.
Loop Project Space and Bar – creative hub which features an ever changing program of music, film, art, mixed media and more