Melbourne’s hidden music hotspots

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.

Cherry Bar

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.

A group of people dancing in a bar

Cherry Bar

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.

A dimly lit bar with a large couch and overhanging chandelier lights

Murmur Piano Bar

Paris Cat

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.

A group of spirit bottles at a bar and behind a band is reflected in a mirror

The Paris Cat


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.

Butterfly Club

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.

A wall covered in framed art pieces and fairy lights

The Butterfly Club


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.

A group of people on a balcony at a party

The balcony at Ferdydurke

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.

Bird’s Basement

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.

More Music…

Loop Project Space and Bar – creative hub which features an ever changing program of music, film, art, mixed media and more

NGV Friday Nights – Running on Fridays during MoMA’s exhibition at NGV, these nighttime jazz sessions feature the likes of Maurice BrownSpeedballRemi and more.

Discover more music venues in the city or find out about Melbourne’s secret jazz venues.