Get us in your inbox

Search
Drag queen on stage at Sircuit
Photograph: Dean Acuri

The best gay bars in Melbourne

From the rough and ready Collingwood scene to the thrills and sparkles of Commercial Road, here is your guide to the queer bar scene

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
Advertising

Melbourne gets heaps of monthly parties and weekly nights catered to the LGBTIQ+ community, but sometimes it's nice to just have a drink in a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere. From pubs offering laid-back pints and drink specials to venues where you can take in drag performances, cabaret and more while sipping on a cocktail, here are our favourite spots that cater to Melbourne's queer community. 

Looking to see fabulously dressed queens? Here are the best drag shows in Melbourne.

Melbourne's top gay bars

  • Gay and lesbian
  • Abbotsford

This Collingwood 'bear and leather' bar opened in 1980 and has remained one of Australia's longest-running gay-owned and operated venues. In 1998, VCAT granted the Laird 'male-only' status, but it occasionally opens its doors to the wider community for events. It's open seven nights a week for same-sex attracted cisgender and transgender males, and it hosts a variety of events like the weekly 'Spit and Polish' leather and fetish night, a morals-free trivia night and 'blokeoke' nights. 

  • Gay and lesbian
  • Collingwood

 

This pop dance club and gay bar hybrid is known for being open until 7am on Fridays and Saturdays, so it's basically the perfect club for kick-ons. Similar to the Laird, the Peel is proudly a gay male venue and is designed specifically for gay men. You can attend as a guest as long as you're respectful and mindful of your behaviour during your visit. 

Advertising
  • Bars
  • St Kilda

The Prince of Wales Hotel is a Frankenstein’s monster of a pub. Within its walls are a boutique hotel, a casual bar, a dining room restaurant and a huge band room, and it's become known as one of Melbourne's oldest gay-friendly pubs. If you're not so keen on sticky floored bars that turn into clubs at night, then this easy-going joint is for you. 

  • Gay and lesbian
  • Richmond

DT's has been Richmond's premiere gay joint for many years, and it's a relaxed affair where every colour of the rainbow is welcome to come to relax and have a drink. Try your hand at the weekly big gay trivia night and try to win food and beverage vouchers, or book in for drag nights featuring legendary performers like Miss Candee, Judy La Bonk and Laura Gravity. 

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Fitzroy

Since opening in 2011, this Smith Street cocktail bar has become the go-to spot in Fitzroy for cabaret, queer events and drag performances. On top of regular events like the 'Fellas in Frocks' comedy drag show and 'Red Light Confidential' burlesque night, there's always something new to look forward to, so keep an eye on the website. If you're not feeling a show, you can always book in for booths, bar stools and outdoor seating in the stable. 

  • Bars
  • Gay bars
  • Footscray

This community-run establishment opened in 2018, and its co-owned by 200 people who all chipped in to get the party started. The result? A super friendly, cooperative and colourful bar that hosts a fabulous array of entertainment for people from all backgrounds. Swing by for drag bingo, dance parties, drag performances, comedy shows and more, and be sure to check out its brand new cocktail bar for a spicy Margarita or a Pornstar Martini.

Advertising
  • Gay and lesbian
  • Fitzroy

This Fitzroy bar has become renowned for its vast array of weekly specials offering cheap drinks, food and entertainment from Wednesdays to Sundays. Enjoy cheap pints, RDTs and drink buckets while dancing the night away with award-winning DJs, and keep an eye out for ticketed parties and events that often sell out. ADAM takes over Sircuit on Mondays, hosting a ticketed nude social night with men comfortably having a drink and playing pool in the buff.

  • Gay and lesbian
  • Collingwood

Alright, so this is technically a gay pool and sauna centre that also happens to have a bar, but if you're keen to pair your bev with a soak, then make your way to Collingwood. Wet often hosts events like queer pool parties, nude nights, under 30s nights and even nights specifically for bears, cubs, otters and pandas and the people who love them. Be sure to drink responsibly, because high temperatures, wet areas and alcohol don't mix well.

Advertising
  • Clubs
  • Gay clubs
  • South Yarra

Poof Doof definitely crosses over into nightclub territory, so give it a miss if you're looking for something quieter and more relaxed. But if you like your drinks paired with amped up tunes, then wander through the dark doors and prepare to groove beneath the disco ball. 

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising