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.
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 Murmur Kitchen (formerly Portello Rosso). Visit them Tuesday to Saturday every week to create your very own Billy Joel experience.
The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar
Venture further than your usual CBD radius and you’ll be rewarded with a rollicking good time at Last Chance. Located in a grungy yet charming classic rock venue on Victoria Street, you’re bound to find the usual suspects making their home amongst more modern touches – including a vegan menu. Open until 7am and offering up to 8 shows a week, live music is far from dead at Last Chance.
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.
Rising from the ashes of the Belleville, Globe Alley touts itself as a dive bar ‘for the rest of us’. Hidden off Little Bourke, you can expect heaps of free gigs filling up this second floor house of fun every week – from jazz nights to musical horror shows and even the odd Dolly Parton tune (or two). Plus the menu ain’t too shabby, with stacked burgers and vegan fried chicken on offer for all.
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.
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 high tea featuring the tunes of Dean Martin, music from James Bond and even Elvis.
Loop Project Space and Bar – a creative hub which features an ever changing program of music, film, art, mixed media and more
NGV Friday Nights – running on Fridays during the Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition, these nighttime sessions feature the likes of CLYPSO, Slum Sociable, Sloan Peterson and more.
Discover more music venues in the city.