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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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Four fantastic shows to see at this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival
Things to do

Four fantastic shows to see at this year’s Melbourne International Arts Festival

Melbourne International Arts Festival is back again in 2019, with a stellar line-up of shows, exhibitions and gigs between October 2 to 20. If you’re a festival first-timer the stacked list of performances can be daunting – and even long-time festival fans appreciate a hot tip. The list of theatre shows coming to the city is particularly strong, with everything from rock‘n’roll biographies to a hilarious mother-versus-son verbal sparring match getting a run. Here are four shows to put on your Melbourne International Arts Festival bucket list in 2019.

Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus
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Oktoberfest at Hofbräuhaus

From September 21 to October 26 Hofbräuhaus Melbourne is throwing an authentic, Oktoberfest celebration right in the heart of Chinatown. This is the 51st year of Hofbräuhaus in Melbourne and the venue is throwing a huge opening party on September 21 (the same day as in Munich) to celebrate. The party kicks off at lunchtime on September 21 with the crowning of the new duke or duchess of Hofbräuhaus who will have the esteemed honour of tapping the first keg. Fancy yourself as Hofbräuhaus royalty? Anyone who books a table between noon and 3.30pm on the day goes into the draw. If you’re selected you’ll also receive a $300 Hofbräuhaus voucher and a ceramic Bavarian stein which will be filled free of charge every time you visit the venue (until Oktoberfest 2020).  The venue is offering, besides the regular seven Bavarian Biers on tap, three special biers for the celebration; two Oktoberfest biers and a Bock bier (a strong German lager) plus traditional Oktoberfest food (think pork knuckle, sausages and crumbed-to-order schnitzel), Bavarian music, traditional dancers and feast platters to share with your freunde (friends). For group bookings you can even arrange packages including the popular ‘the real Oktoberfest’ package which for $65 per person gets you a bretzel, a stein of Bavarian bier, a nip of schnaps and a platter to share. Test your Oktoberfest spirit during lunchtime with a stein-carrying competition where the man and woman who can carry the most steins (without droppi

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Sandwich Chefs have launched a delicious new menu
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Sandwich Chefs have launched a delicious new menu

As any lunch fan will attest, making a good sandwich is an art unto itself. Only amateurs haphazardly slap a filling between some bread and call it lunch – sandwich artists, like those at Sandwich Chefs, take your midday sambos seriously by combining only the most delicious artisanal bread, cheeses and perfectly roasted meats. Sandwich Chefs have been slicing, spreading and assembling their magnificent sandwiches for more than 30 years, delighting diners with their deli-style sangers. After all that time, the titular chefs have learnt a thing or two about making sandwiches and are launching a brand new menu that showcases sandwiches from around the world.  The tasty new range includes American sandwich favourites like the Cheesesteak, Cubano and New York’s favourite lunchtime treat, the Reuben (featuring 14-hour slow-roasted beef plus pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island Dressing). Love chicken? Try the Schnitzel Club (it comes with Australia’s favourite brunch item, smashed avo) or try Sandwich Chef’s gourmet bánh mì.  Traditionalists will want to get around the 14-hour slow-roasted pork or beef rolls (served with apple sauce and/or gravy) or if you can’t decide you can always opt for a make-your-own sandwich. Plus to celebrate the shiny new range of sangas, Sandwich Chefs are giving away a trip to New York alongside lots of instant win prizes when you spend $9.90 or more in store.To find out more, visit the Sandwich Chefs website.

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IKEA launches an Australian Slow TV channel
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IKEA launches an Australian Slow TV channel

IKEA caused a bit of a stir in marketing circles a couple of years ago with its series of deliberately boring YouTube commercials. These included a teenager doing the dishes for five minutes, a couple on a couch kissing in front of a TV for eight, and some young people arm wrestling for six. The ads played in front of YouTube content and many people skipped them, but they also garnered a cult following of joyfully disbelieving fans. The ads were inspired by the Scandinavian trend of ‘Slow TV’ in which almost nothing happens – designed as an antidote to our over-stimulated lives (some cool examples of Slow TV screened on SBS last summer). Now, IKEA is using the phenomenon as a way of promoting their new 2020 catalogue. They have launched an Australian Slow TV channel live streaming the 14-day (336-hour) journey of its products in shipping containers on board a ship to Australia. The channel, which in perfect Nordic understatement IKEA says  “does not aim to excite”, is narrated by Kent and Sara Eriksson, narrators of the original IKEA Sleep Podcast. The Swedes are reading from the new IKEA catalogue with the sound of waves gently crashing against the ship’s stern in the background. Sounds a bit – well, dull, right? And that’s exactly the point. IKEA say they want to help Australians get a good night’s sleep, and watching this YouTube channel may indeed have that exact effect. And if you’re inspired to go buy a new IKEA bed to do it on, well that’s entirely up to you. The c

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