Music Room is a tiny, soundproof space hidden behind wood panelling in the first floor toilet
alcove on the way up the red-and-blue lit stairs to rooftop bar Her. Every night, DJs spin loud
and proud, and lights in the low, perforated wood ceiling flash red across the crowd of young,
trendy and attractive Melbourites lounging on the one long couch and bumping their heads to
the enveloping music.
Despite the volume in this small space, the sound quality is excellent because – as the name
would suggest – it’s all about the music here. Rather than a back bar of liquor bottles, a wall of shelves stacked with vinyl records takes centre stage alongside the DJ booth, which runs half the length of the room, so there’s always a good view of the nightly mixmasters. The usual laptop and mixer setup is replaced with three proper turntables. No hitting play on a pre-mixed set here, my friends.
Everyone here is young and cool, dressed in their Melbourne trendy best, and it’s refreshingly
diverse. While most of Melbourne’s music venues, especially late night DJ focused ones, are
still unfortunately self-segregated, here it seems more about a mood than a tribe. No one is here for the bump and grind, or even the ‘gram, instead enjoying this little enclave that feels like you’ve been magically shrunk and found yourself on the inside of a high-end sound system.
There’s a strong element of otherworldliness here, like Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix show The Get Down, that makes Music Room feel both dreamlike and grounding. Think the chillout tent at a festival, but classier and less drug-fucked. Even when the room is full, which is often on the weekend requiring a potentially long wait outside in the alley, it doesn’t feel like a rave or a mosh pit. More like finding the best room at a great house party – personal space respected while adjusted for the reality of a packed space.
As the music shifts to disco on a chilled out Sunday night, a couple makes out gently on a
central table. This is less a desperate, munted, midnight pash, but more a sweet moment in
what feels like a semi-private spot. The bouncers and bar staff are friendly and humble in an
environment where they probably don’t have to be, so big points there. Long story short, it’s nice here.
The drinks, too, are classy but casual, and there’s some real thought and skill behind the
cocktail list. An Espresso Martini on tap is served without the care or flare of a dedicated cocktail bar, but tastes just as good and is served as quickly as a pot of beer. The Pavlova Pornstar is exactly the kind of drink you want in a spot like this, made with pavlova-flavoured vodka, passionfruit and sparkling wine. It tastes like all your fluffy g-string fantasies come true.
There are also Negronis, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Martinis on the list if your idea of class steers a little more ‘50s, as well as smashable lagers on tap and easy going wines by the glass, plus lots of fancy Champagne by the bottle for when that baller feeling strikes. In short, it’s a lot more than a nightclub drinks list without making the choices too hard. If you like to drink well, or you just want a drink you don’t have to think about, Music Room has you covered. They’ll even bring your drink to the table should the room be quiet enough.
There’s nothing else like Music Room in Melbourne; an intimate, classy, DJ focused venue,
open until 3am, where the tunes come first and simply being in the room makes you feel like
you’ve found the secret back room of an amazing after party. If Music Room be the food of love, play on.