LGBT

LGBT events, gay clubs and bars and all that's queer in Melbourne

Bars

The best gay bars in Melbourne

You would think what with the fanfare surrounding Sydney's annual Mardi Gras festival that the harbour city was the clear ringleader of Australia's gay scene, but Melbourne certainly gives its sibling some decent rivalry. After you're all partied out (for tonight), tick off our five ways to show your pride in Melbourne, or up your 'extra-curricular' game by visiting our top five sex shops.

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Sex and dating

Sex on premises venues in Melbourne

Guys, looking to get some action without navigating Grindr? You can always go to an SOPV. Here are Melbourne’s top five gay saunas and cruise lounges – remember to play safe. While you're at it, check out our list of top gay bars and pick-up bars.

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Gay and lesbian

The best outdoor queer-friendly bars in Melbourne

Summer’s the perfect time for birds of a feather to preen themselves, particularly if you're already out and about getting your Midsumma fix. We've found four outdoor bars for al fresco drinking and perving. Looking to push on? Check out the best gay bars and karaoke spots in Melbourne.

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Gay and lesbian

Hares & Hyenas

Having been in operation for over 20 years, you’d expect Hares & Hyenas to be a well-oiled machine… but this humble-looking bookshop is more like a super power-packing transformer. Bookshelves stuffed with fiction, biographies, humour, photography, erotica, religion, gender, coming out, fanzines, health and educational tomes can be wheeled away so that the room is adapted into a venue with theatre seating, a stage, and a lighting and sound system. Whatever mode it’s in, there’s a fully licensed bar and café, and an exhibition lining the walls at all times. Hares & Hyenas is the project of Rowland Thomson and Crusader Hillis, who met at Melbourne University in 1975 and became partners a few years later. In the 1980s, Hillis owned an art-house video shop in Elwood, while Thomson co-owned Dizzy Spinners on Brunswick Street – an early incarnation of the current Polyester Records. In 1991 they joined forces to open Hares & Hyenas, which moved all over Melbourne before settling in Johnston Street’s Spanish quarter, where they’ve been made to feel welcome. “The changes in 20 years are fairly staggering,” notes Thomson. “People only used to come in wearing sunglasses.” It’s now become a hub for not only the queer community, but anyone interested in socialising in a literary setting. Hares & Hyenas plays host to two book groups, a stitch’n’bitch, ButchFemmeTrans, Rainbow Girls and Rainbow Guys, to name but a few regular meet-ups, and has put on 350 spoken word events. “We also did

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Edward II

Reckon our leaders are terrible? It seems they had nothing on Edward II. The 14th century English king screwed up his reign so monumentally that his wife raised an army against him and he was toppled by his own son. Opinions change, of course, and now his greatest flaw has become his most endearing quality; despite intense pressure, he refused to give up the man he loved, Piers Gaveston.  Malthouse Theatre artistic director Matt Lutton had been fishing around for a queer play for a while, spurred by the fact that “you don’t really see any plays about gay public figures. Most gay characters are either private individuals or Disney villains.” Despite the implied outing of Jafar in this comment, Lutton has a point, citing Angels in America’s Roy Cohn as the only theatrical depiction of a famous gay man he can think of. And in that play, he virtually is a Disney villain. Christopher Marlowe’s 1592 version of Edward II has been radically reworked and updated by Lutton and playwright Anthony Weigh, stripping back the cast to five and focussing on “the lure and the destructive nature of individualism”. The result sounds more like a domestic family drama than the historical epic we might have expected. Johnny Carr, who plays the ineffectual monarch, agrees. “The original Marlowe is quite convoluted, quite sprawling, whereas Anthony’s take is really lean, really precise.” The overt queer politics have been played down, too. Obvious parallels to gay marriage will no doubt simmer under

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Things to do

Men of Substance and Style

Once upon a time, being a man meant stepping in line. Now, it's those that break out from the crowd to find there own path that we admire most. Here are some of the agenda-setters working in Australia today – from barbers shaping the style of the guys in their states, to the game changers disrupting the way we do everything from dessert to social networking.

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Things to do

Friday night fireworks at the Docklands

Who doesn't love fireworks? This winter, put a bit of colour into your Friday night with free fireworks displays at the Docklands.  The action begins at the waterfront from 7.30pm, but rock up early for a line-up of food trucks, roving performers and live music. From kids to couples, everyone is welcome – just make sure to check social media before you head out if the weather isn't looking great.  While you're in the Docklands, why not make an adventure of it? Get there early for a spin on the ice at the O'Brien Group Arena nearby, hitch a ride on the glittering Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, or check out the range of pubs, bars and eateries in the area. Read more about Friday night fireworks at The Docklands.

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Bars

Dewar's Lock Inn

One of the great joys of being a whisky fan is trying the endless varieties that exist all over the world. In August and September, the world's most awarded blended whisky – Dewar's – is offering you the chance to enjoy free tastings, cocktails, sliders, scotch eggs and live music at a pop-up whisky cellar at the Grace Darling Hotel. Come join for a dram!

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