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
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
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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Blue Ribbon Day
Across Victoria, since 1837, 159 police officers have died in the course of fulfilling their duties. On Thursday September 29, all Victorians can help memorialise them by taking part in Blue Ribbon Day, which raises funds for emergency facilities to be built in the name of those police who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Run by the Victorian Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, the campaign has high profile sponsors this year in Woolworths, Crown Resorts, BankVic, Westfield and more. To show your support, you can donate at Woolworths Supermarkets before and on Blue Ribbon Day. Donations can also be made at the website and at police stations.
Pizza & Hip Hop
Fratelli Fresh is keeping your knock-off session fresh with their weekly pizza and hip hop night every Friday and Saturday. From 10pm, fresh pizzas will be coming out of the oven for $15 (perfect for those late-night munchies). The bar will be pumping out drink specials for the late-night revellers, so look out for the $7.50 special on select beer and wine, and sip on $10 Aperol Spritzes. top DJs will be spinning the best hip hop tunes at Alfred Place Melbourne's top DJs will be spinning the best hip hop tunes at Alfred Place and Fratelli Fresh has lined-up these headliners over the next few weeks, who will all be accompanied by local DJ talent. Friday September 9: Helena EllisSaturday September 10: DJ Moto (from Kiss FM)Friday September 16: Duchess KaySaturday September 17: DJ AK
The best places to watch the AFL grand final
Wear your colours and get into the spirit of the grand final day at five of Melbourne's best venues to watch one of the biggest games of the year. The Botanical, Portsea Hotel, Skinny Dog Hotel, Half Moon or the Penny Black will be ready for your grand final day celebrations with barbecues, after parties and tipping competitions. The BotanicalThe Botanical is probably the lushest place you'll watch the game from. Live coverage at this high-end South Yarra pub kicks off on plasma screens from 10am. Start your day with a grand final big breakfast special or head in a little later for the barbecue, but don't miss the tipping competition at the Main Bar. Predict who will win and by how many points to win a two litre growler of craft beer, and a gift voucher for a dining experience at the Botanical. Stick around for the live entertainment and after party. Skinny Dog HotelDoors at Kew's favourite footy venue open at 11am where the game will be live on all screens. If you book for four or more guests you'll receive a main meal and two schooners of tap beer/cider for $29 per person. There will also be $4 beer and cider and $5 glasses of wine and sparkling all day. Half MoonHalf Moon will kick off game day festivities at 11am. The game will be on live and loud on all screens. Saddle yourself up with a craft beer and watch the game among Brighton locals. Penny BlackPenny Black will be getting into the final fever with a long weekend party. Kicking off on Friday night, My Echo will
The Royal Melbourne Show
Some come to the Show for the rides; others come to marvel at award-winning edible sculptures (otherwise known as cakes). Crowds flock to pavilions filled with baby animals and champion dogs. All are united in a mutual love of showbags. This year, around 450,000 visitors are expected at Melbourne Showgrounds over 11 days, September 17-27. Due to its popularity, the outdoor animal display has doubled in size this year, offering families more chances to watch and take part in interactive milking and shearing shows and horse demonstrations. Pat-a-Pig and Pat-a-Chook pens will give kids a real down-on-the-farm experience and they can also plant and take home their own seedling. The Winning Tastes Pavilion celebrates Melbourne’s food scene with pop-up restaurants and eateries including Bomba, Mr Claws, Pho Nom, Mr Miyagi, Royale Brothers Burgers and Burn City Smokers serving up their delicious signature dishes – the days of dagwood dogs as your primary food option at the Show are long gone. There's also a Winning Tastes Dessert Bar and Winning Tastes Cocktail Bar. Look out for the free craft workshops for adults and kids, while the Horses in Action program will have horses and riders competing across over 250 different classes. Find out which woodchoppers can hack it at 50 events over at the Woodchop Pavilion. If you're on the ball and buy your Show tickets online on or before September 16 then you can get them at a 20 per cent discount. That's money that can be spent on a fe