Melbourne's top gay bars
In a relatively short space of time Sircuit Bar has thoroughly engrained itself on the Melbourne scene. With the frankly stylish ground floor space that's more New York than we're used to (think exposed brick walls and industrial chic) the huge central bar services boys from all sides. There are plenty of pool tables for those want to square off with one another, and a cruising maze upstairs so the winner takes all. A constantly revolving roster of theme nights means everyone has at least one reason to visit, from the leather lads and wannabe cowboys on a bucking bronco to camper drag lovers.
Technically more of a club than a pub, the Peel does have a more relaxed front bar, and opens from 9pm. It’s also somewhat of a legend on the scene, infamous as the place you end up when things get very, very messy. Whatever your take on the Peel, the place is always crammed to the rafters, and everyone's always having a blast. Interdimensional powers transformed the layout without the joint ever seemingly having closed, and low there's now a massive courtyard so smokers can party on without feeling like a leper colony. It's huge, it stays open very, very late, and it's probably your dirty secret. You know you love it.
The Prince is a legend of Melbourne's vibrant beachfront suburb, St Kilda. It's a funny old creature and a game of two halves - namely the straight half and the gay half. Somehow the left-hand bar got claimed by the LGBT brigade, while the pool tables and sport-playing TVs next door remain the domain of the straight blokes. Somehow it just works, and everyone mingles quite happily out front. A magical door leads through to the secreted burlesque-style gay club beyond, and Monday nights' Dollar Pots are super-gay and super cheap, even if the pots ain't quite $1 anymore.
New owners have given this old stalwart of the Melbourne scene a bit of a fancy facelift. Out goes the old crusty rock bar that once co-habited peacefully, replaced with a much more glittery gay bar to match the infamous Saturday night club shenanigans. These days the cocktails are far more complex than Jack and Coke. Enjoy Wednesday drag bingo, Thursday karaoke, with the sexy and amazing Boylesque show on Fridays, and then a tad more drag with three live shows during Saturday's Classic extravaganza. They’re also experimenting with special events and themed nights. The beer's cheap, and so are the boys.
This one's a bit of a cheeky addition. Not technically a gay pub for whatever reason - and the reasons really are lost in the mists of time - Sunday afternoons got claimed by the gay hordes. Even the owners are a bit perplexed. It certainly isn't official, and you won't find it mentioned on the website, but every gay guy and gal within a 5-mile radius shows up and shows off in the sun-drenched terrace up on the roof. Get there early, because it will be thronging in no time and you'll need the best people-watching vantage point.
Gay saunas and cruise lounges
Looking to get some action without navigating Grindr? You can always go to an SOPV.