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.
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.
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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Blanc de Blanc
After sizzling hot runs in Sydney, London and Adelaide, Blanc de Blanc is finally making its way to Melbourne for a season of Champagne-fuelled cabaret. The evening of adults-only circus, dance, acrobatics and other antics will be heating up the Spiegeltent at Map 57, a brand new arts precinct in St Kilda. This winter cast of quirky performers – comedians, models, show girls, singers, contortionists and aerial artists – will turn the night into a mad romp that begins in a sophisticated Parisian cabaret venue and slowly transforms into a crazed nightclub party. Expect bubbles, burlesque, balloons, sequins and tops off, for a hands down good time. "If Baz Luhrmann made a nightclub it'd be like this" – Time Out Sydney Find out more about Blanc de Blanc.
This month at Knowledge Market
The Knowledge Market is an initiative of Victoria Harbour, Melbourne's waterfront residential development on the CBD's doorstep. A thriving hub of peer-to-peer networking and local creativity, the Knowledge Market has an ever-changing rotation of activities that anyone can get involved with – some that are about benefitting your business, and others that are all about enriching your life. Jiva Wellbeing have just partnered with the Knowledge Market to bring casual yoga classes five days a week. Also, Spendlove and Lamb will be giving their insights into storytelling, digital strategy, content production and management for businesses, through a three-hour workshop on May 25. You can also hear the sweet sounds of the Melbourne Acapella Singers, or join in on the fun yourself. It's free and anyone can rock up and sing – no experience necessary, with sessions on May 4, 13, 20 and 25. The young guns from Melbourne City Rotaract Club meet on Tuesday evenings to foster ways to create positive change in the local community. Your Time Matters business talks offer practical advice for start-ups and local businesses. The next seminar will focus on Networking with a Twist, dishing out the secrets for getting the maximum mileage out of your business networking relationships, taking place on Thursday May 11 at 5pm. There's loads more workshops, free events, creative kick-starters and inspiring networking opportunities, so make sure you keep your eye on the Knowledge Market. Find
At Alluvial Restaurant the past never feels far away. You’ll find the dining room located between Collins Street’s Rialto and Winfield buildings, both of which were built in the 1890s during the twilight years of Melbourne’s gold rush; the former is designed in Venetian neo-gothic style. Once a laneway, Alluvial Restaurant is now a soaring glass atrium, running all the way from Collins Street to Flinders Lane. Look up, and you’ll notice floors of five-star hotel rooms that once served as wool and wheat stores. Look down, and you might miss another of Alluvial Restaurant’s secrets: beneath the floorboards is the original bluestone cobbled laneway. While Alluvial Restaurant embraces its history, there is nothing passé about chef Tijn Bremmers’ menu, which takes inspiration from Melbourne’s many diverse cultures and brings them to life using local produce, fresh herbs from the hotel’s rooftop garden and honey harvested from their rooftop beehives. Start with finely sliced kingfish ceviche, topped with thin ribbons of cucumber and flanked by button-sized dollops of zingy lemon gel. Seafood lovers will also jump on the squid ink linguine – heirloom tomatoes and crayfish butter providing a rich sauce to the fat tiger prawns. Moreton Bay bugs come adorned with flavoursome crisp chicken skin, along with mild, melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin ravioli. And those crunchy, smoked paprika fries with garlic aioli? Follow your instinct and order them. When it comes to choosing a wine from the 1
Have a Scandinavian cooking experience with ASKO
Dreaming of Scandinavia lately? You’re not alone. It seems everyone is vibing on those misty northern European countries quite a bit lately. Luckily you can now get your Scandinavian fix without the expensive plane ticket. ASKO Appliances are hosting a Scandinavian cooking experience at their head office in Moorabbin. Hosted by ASKO’s dedicated professional in-house chef Paul Mounsey (from Cooking with Steam), this cooking demonstration will dive into the flavoursome world of Scandinavian cooking. Guests can enjoy food and learn how to create meals using ASKO’s feature-rich appliances. A sample menu of the day consists of steamed asparagus and duck egg, herb and mustard crusted eye fillet, 52ºC steamed Atlantic salmon fillet and a reverse lemon tart. ASKO cooking demonstrations aren’t like your regular sit-and-watch demonstrations, however. These events encourage full cooperation and involvement. The best part? ASKO demonstrations are free to attend. The next event will take place on Wednesday April 18 from 11am to 2pm at ASKO Head Office at 35 Sunmore Close in Moorabbin. Due to small class sizes, bookings are essential.