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

The best gay bars 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.

Sex on premises venues in Melbourne
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.

The best outdoor queer-friendly bars in Melbourne
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.

Hares & Hyenas
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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The ultimate Tassie road trip you never knew you needed
Travel

The ultimate Tassie road trip you never knew you needed

Tassie is small enough to conquer in an extra long weekend but big enough to support all the incredible farm-to-table eateries, small-batch distilleries and eye-popping nature that it’s become known for. The best way to get there is by ship – Spirit of Tasmania, to be exact. The reason? Taking your own car to traverse this stunning isle means you can explore more than just the big cities. So take a break from Hobart and explore the rest of Tasmania, where the number of gorgeous things you’ll see and experience is bonkers high.

The George on Collins is launching two tasting menus from ex-MasterChef Khanh Ong
Restaurants

The George on Collins is launching two tasting menus from ex-MasterChef Khanh Ong

Once upon a time, there was the power lunch – a meal where high rollers took their wheeling and dealing out into restaurants around the city. The George on Collins has revamped the idea with a focus on the time it takes to get the most out of your meal in what they’re calling the Hour of Power. Designed to show off the flavour-packed creations of their new partner – MasterChef 2018 contestant and DJ, Khanh Ong – two new “feed me” menus will be available for lunch and dinner from Tuesday–Friday and Saturday evenings starting June 4. Photograph: Supplied There is the Little Hanoi for $42pp, where Khanh selects favourite dishes for you from the  extensive Vietnamese menu. Think Bo La Lot, grilled beef and betel leaf skewers, lamb cutlets with tamarind and millionaire eggplant with Vietnamese mint and sesame dressing. If you’re feeling a little hungrier, and have a little more time on your hands, option two is rightfully named the Big Saigon. For $58 per person, feast on more of the menu with a few sweet treats thrown in. Expect banana parfait and chocolate mousse, or ricotta, pineapple and jackfruit spring rolls with ginger syrup and green peppercorn ice cream. Whether it's a swift, satisfying lunch meeting or you want to get in a quick dinner before a show or night on the town, it’s going to be a fuss-free choice. Photograph: Supplied Ong, whose infectious smile and passion for Asian cuisine made him a viewer favourite in the MasterChef kitchen last year, has revitalised

LAC

LAC

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo was established in 1985 by Princess Caroline of Hanover (in accordance with her mother, Grace of Monaco’s wishes) and has since become one of the world’s most exciting ballet companies. “For a ballet company, they’re so different to what we do, but they’re really creating ballet of the 21st century,” the Australian Ballet's artistic director David McAllister says. The Australian Ballet has invited the company to Melbourne with this new, critically acclaimed take on Swan Lake, choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot. His production is dark, sexy and features costumes by Winter Olympics designer Philippe Guillotel. “As Jean-Christophe always does, he approaches it from a very contemporary angle,” McAllister says. “It’s the same Swan Lake story – the white swan versus the black swan – but in this production they’re played by different people.”

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Wunderage

Wunderage

Every circus is set up basically the same, right? You take one big top (preferably red and white striped), add a stage for the performers, some seats for the audience and maybe some barriers to separate the two. Circus Oz isn’t one for doing things like everyone else though. Circus Oz is shaking up the rules of circus with Wunderage: an immersive new show with no seats and no barriers between you and the performers. In Wunderage the audience isn’t just watching the show passively from the sidelines – instead they see it unfold all around them. Through mind-boggling physical feats, humour and an inspiring live score, Wunderage treads a tightrope (literally and figuratively) between who we are and who we might become. Step into the performance space and discover a room filled with giant blue boulders and tightropes up to four metres high. The performers move freely throughout the space – it’s hard to predict where they’ll appear next as they effortlessly ride bicycles on highwires, do handstands on teetering towers and flip, twist and somersault off precarious platforms. Try to keep calm as the acrobats twirl majestically in aerial slings and clamber up and down Chinese poles. The show is a collaboration with Brisbane performance art group Company2, who have infused it with the group’s sense of poetic theatricality, humour and fondness for pushing boundaries. Wunderage is a playful, heart-warming show that explores the desire for people to be something they are not. Wun

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