Since my last time in Melbourne about two years ago, a lot has happened in its nightlife and music scene. A ton of the venues that I was familiar with have sadly closed down in the meantime, while also a variety of new clubs have opened. I still wouldn’t call myself an expert when it comes to going out in Melbourne, but I already got to see a good amount of different venues. So if you have no idea yet where to go out, my guide on underground music clubs in Australia’s culture capitol might be helpful.
Last updated: 29.03.20
The Gasometer Hotel
The Gasometer Hotel is a summer venue located in Collingwood that hosts weekly concerts and DJ events. If you are a fan of day parties, this might be the perfect place for you. Especially their popular daydreams parties during summer have made partying on a Sunday afternoon an inherent part of Melbourne’s party scene. The whole layout with the open roof and balcony, the hip and friendly crowd and overall the whole vibe of the place actually reminded me a little bit of my favourite club Heidegluehen in Berlin. It is the kind of place that you walk out of at the end of the night and have made a bunch of new friends. If only, they would invest in a better sound system.
Sub Club is a night club located in a dodgy side alley in Melbourne’s CBD and actually has one of the best line-ups each week. With its steep cellar steps, dark dance floor and powerful sound system, it is one of the best techno setups in town and probably the most underground venue on this list. While it might not be the most stylish and hip place, you will instead find a very open-minded space that welcomes everyone and anyone to enjoy good music together, without anyone taking themselves too seriously.
Colour is a relatively new music venue in Melbourne’s CBD dedicated to concerts and DJ-events. It is definitely worth having an eye on this one, since they tend to bring internationally known artists to Melbourne then and again, such as Shanti Celeste, Laurence Guy and Jayda G. You get to chose between the main floor with high ceilings and a solid soundsystem, and the second, smaller floor upstairs. Colour seems to attract a friendly, hip and rather cool crowd, that might not be the most energetic at all times though.
Radar is another one of Melbourne’s night clubs that just recently opened. It is situated in the CBD and hosts DJ events each week, some of them including big names from the electronic music scene such as Octo Octa, Eris Drew and the Egyptian Lover, but also many local artists. And I am yet to check out one of their 24 hour parties on the weekend. The venue definitely has the typical underground atmosphere with its industrial look and minimalist lightings. It’s generally a nicely open space with a good layout and welcoming atmosphere. Plus, the sound system seems to be pretty decent which is not something I take for granted here in Melbourne.
Revolver Upstairs, also called Revs, used to be my favourite venue in Melbourne. It is situated in the famous Chapel Street in South Melbourne, and I found it to be the closest to a Berlin-like rave atmosphere that you can get in down under. It has multiple floors and is open the whole weekend without closing. Their Sunday night to Monday morning parties used to be my go to, but recently they have turned out to be a bit of a hit or miss situation. Still, Sunday night is usually the best time to visit revs and the time when you will most likely find the best atmosphere and a high energy dance floor till the early morning. Plus, recently they have been regularly inviting big names like Honey Dijon, Haai or Leon Vinehall to these events instead of just having the Rev’s residents play.
New Guernica’s concept is definitely one that sticks out. It has one of the most interesting club layouts in Melbourne and reminds me a little bit of the Berlin clubs with all its corners, seperate rooms, hiding places and a dance floor that looks like a kitchen. You can usually party there on the nights from Thursday to Saturday, with the line-ups varying each event between drum n bass, techno and disco. So chose wisely which night you visit, since the crowd can be quite young and messy at some nights and also the music might not be your taste.
Glamorama is a night venue located at Melbourne’s famous Brunswick street in Fitzroy alongside other bars and restaurants. You could describe it as a hybrid between a bar and a club where you can have some drinks with your friends in one of the sitting booths and run to the dance floor for a solid boogie in between. This might mean that on some nights the dance floor could stay rather empty, but depending on the line-up, it can still be a good night with a big, dancing crowd.
Bourke Street Courtyard
Bourke Street Courtyard is rather a live music venue than a night club. It is located on Bourke Street, not far from Southern Cross Station. The historic building offers one main dance floor that is covered by a glass roof and let’s the natural daylight in – so perfect for day parties. And depending on the event, there might be a second dance floor open. DJs like Project Pablo and Joey Negro have played here, so it is worth having an eye on it. The atmosphere and crowd of the party highly depend on the event though.
Another night club for electronic music, located in Melbourne’s CBD, is Brown Alley. It is one of the oddest buildings and club layouts in Melbourne and certainly doesn’t impress with nice aesthetics. The atmosphere is dungeon like and rather dodgy. However, the sound system is decent and if you’re lucky you can catch really good line-ups in there, from Gerd Janson to Job Jobse and Nina Kraviz.