Rock n’ Roll isn’t dead, it’s just hiding; here are the best dive bars, pubs and venues where you can find rock n’ roll alive and well.
Melbourne’s live music scene is iconic; you don’t have to search far and wide to find excellent music spots as they pretty much run up and smack you in the face with a big fat riff. In fact it was difficult for me to pick just five venues, so don’t judge me if I’ve missed your favourite – I was spoilt for choice. So here are 5 awesome spots where you will find rock n’ roll not just surviving but thriving in Melbourne.
Cherry Bar has a reputation for being one of, if not THE best rock and roll bars in the world. Located on AC/DC lane right in the central business district of Melbourne. Cherry bar is the place to visit if you want to catch a gig with both local and/or international bands playing every evening before 11pm. The grungy aesthetic takes you back to basics, summed up as truly authentic rock and roll at its best. If you’re anything like me you’ll be feeling right at home as soon as you step through the doors. Just don’t show up in a suit… you won’t get let in. Cherry’s sister bar Yah Yah’s is also worth checking out. Located on Smith Street in Fitzroy.
The Public Bar
North Melbourne’s live music hub The Public Bar has had an impressive bunch of musicians of most genres play in their cave like band room. Dim red lights reflect off the disco ball and dance around the room, while you sink deep into the couches and relax to the sweet sounds of live music. This pub is what I imagine live music venues were like back in the 90’s. With a typical fusion of warn out furniture, dim lighting and the sweet smell of shampoo from all of the head banging that goes on.
The Old Bar
Top pick for music aficionados, The Old Bar hosts an eclectic mix live music 7 nights a week. Disrupting the well-kept streets of Fitzroy, there is no BS about this place. They play shows and they serve beer, I couldn’t agree more with this quote from the website, “Local man, Drew Watson once described The Old Bar as the worst bar he has ever been to. He is wrong.” All jokes aside this is a cool place to hang out. Pinball machines, a nice little courtyard out back and a killer vibe. They also host other cool stuff such as art exhibitions, knitting nights and a VHS Club. The Old bar is very proud of their staff football team called The Old Bar Unicorns. Head in for a beer and let the good time roll.
The Ding Dong Lounge
The Ding Dong Lounge has been hosting live alternative musicians and DJ’s since its opening in 1998. Founded by the Cosmic Psychos drummer Bill Walsh, The Ding Dong Lounge is one of Melbourne’s coolest dive bars located in a Chinatown laneway. The bar is reminiscent of live music venues that were scattered across New York in the 70’s. The sunken DF in the band room is framed by comfortable retro booths, meaning that you can get in amongst the action while the bands are playing or just sit back and relax. This place is so cool it’s even had rock royalty such Tom York and Jack
One of the newest live music venues to arrive on the scene in Melbourne, Howler has everyone talking with tribute going to their beautiful multifunctional concept space. A warehouse building that’s been converted to a slick live music and art space and it’s seriously making an impression with scensters and live music buffs across Melbourne. The outdoor area provides a perfect space for sunny Sunday afternoons and acoustic tunes while the venue boast a more intimate theatre area perfect for gigs.
Other notable Mentions Melbourne: The Corner Hotel, Northcote social Club, Princes Band Room, The Forum Theatre, Festival Hall, Shebeen, Grumpys, The Brunswick Hotel, The Post Office Hotel and many, many more.