LGBT

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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Little Emperors at Malthouse
Theatre

Little Emperors at Malthouse

For the inaugural Asia TOPA festival, Malthouse Theatre paired award-winning Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott and maverick Beijing-based director Wang Chong to create a new work. The result explores the fraught legacy of China’s 40-year One Child Policy, through the prism of one family. The term ‘Little Emperors’ relates to a behavioural syndrome affecting the generations of only-children born in the lead up to 2016 (when the One Child Policy was officially abolished). Envisioned as a radical experiment to curb population growth, the policy unwittingly gave rise to a new breed of ultra-indulged children, who in turn will shape the future of a superpower. Philpott’s play pivots between Melbourne and Beijing, and between English language and Mandarin, to tell the story of a sister, her illegal brother, and the emotional and cultural fall-out of the environments in which they were raised. Wang Chong, founder of the world-renowned Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental, brings both his bold vision and personal experiences, as a someone born in the One Child Policy era, to bear on this rich and revelatory tale. Little Emperors runs from Feb 9-26 at Malthouse Theatre. 

WTC Wharf Outdoor Cinema
Restaurants Buy tickets

WTC Wharf Outdoor Cinema

To celebrate February's long, balmy summer nights WTC Wharf is hosting its very own al fresco cinema every Friday and Saturday night until mid-March. To enjoy a movie under the stars, all you have to do is book dinner at one of the WTC Wharf's restaurants and dine in from $25 per person, then you will receive free entry to that night's movie screening. Relax back on deckchairs or bean bags and watch blockbusters and classics under the stars.  You can try a Chinese banquet from Man Mo, Lebanese cuisine at Byblos, Japanese fare from Kobe Jones or get a bistro feed from The Wharf Bar. Cinema highlights include The Danish Girl, The Secret Life of Pets and Les Misérables.  

Savour Wayside Inn's rotisserie dish for lunch and dinner
Restaurants

Savour Wayside Inn's rotisserie dish for lunch and dinner

South Melbourne pub Wayside Inn is the place to be if you're after a classic pub meal for lunch or dinner. On Monday to Saturday from noon to 9pm, the Wayside Inn kitchen is offering slow-cooked, rotisserie dishes complete with all the trimmings. For just $25, you can enjoy the day's rotisserie dish with a glass of wine in the bar area, or for $38 if you're dining in the restaurant. Dishes change seasonally, but they will no doubt be cooked to juicy perfection in the rotisserie oven.  446 City Rd, South Melbourne 3205. 03 9810 0083. Mon-Sat noon-9pm.

Cities of Architecture
Things to do Buy tickets

Cities of Architecture

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art presents this new series of talks exploring the architectural, urban and cultural history of some of the world’s most inspiring destinations, from the skyscrapers of Shanghai to historic Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona. The series kicks off with a free launch at MPavilion, followed by monthly editions exploring some of the world's most fascinating destinations and the built environments that make them so remarkable. Whether you're travelling to any of these destinations or just want to learn more about some of the globe's most inspiring cities, this series will offer insights from leaders in the architectural fields. You'll also get to enjoy a special cocktail created for each city the talk in inspired by, from the Melbourne Gin Company and Starward Whisky. For the full list of events in this series, click on the 'Dates and Times' tab.