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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Alliance Française French Film Festival
Did you ever wonder why France’s film culture is so rich and varied and full of big-name stars? Simple: for every cinema ticket sold in France, whether for a local film or a Hollywood blockbuster, the state gets money to invest into French films. The latest fruits of this vibrant industry screen in March, spanning comedy, biopic, drama, war stories, animation and romance. They include new movies from the Dardenne Brothers, Anne Fontaine and Bertrand Tavernier, featuring stars such as Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Auteuil, Omar Sy, Audrey Tautou and many, many more. Gender equality is especially strong in the French movie world, with 17 new movies from women directors. And here’s another drawcard: the festival is running a competition this year with prizes for attendees of a trip for two to France and a trip for two to New Caledonia. Here are Time Out’s 12 picks of highlights to look out for. The Alliance Française French Film Festival is set to take place across Palace Cinemas throughout Melbourne including: the Kino Cinemas, the Astor Theatre, Palace Balwyn, palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth and Palace Cinema Como.
Bucks parties at Munich Brauhaus
Bucks parties at Munich Brauhaus are big on fun, food and celebration. Along with live bands, DJs and loads of steins of bier, the Munich Brauhaus always has a great party atmosphere. They also offer special bucks party packages – for just $50 per person you can enjoy a round of pretzels, a stein of craft beer, a famous Munich pork knuckle and a round of schnapps shots to finish. So get your mates together and celebrate before the big day. Find out more about bucks parties at the Munich Brauhaus.
Three CBD pubs open all night long for White Night
This Saturday night, White Night is set to light up the street of Melbourne's CBD with the return of the 12-hour art party. Taking in all that culture is thirsty work, so it's lucky that some of the CBD's favourite pubs are open all night long too. Stop off at the Duke to try a special White Night cocktail, inspired by the festival fun. Over at the Crafty Squire there will be live music all night long, and finally the super centrally located Imperial Bourke Street is also open all night long, complete with great views of Melbourne Parliament House from its rooftop bar. So get down to the city and make the most of the night, all while enjoying the lively atmosphere of these three historic pubs.
Monday night means locals night at the Exchange Hotel
Mondays aren't always the best day of the week, but when you can cap it off with a pub feed, it makes them that much better. It helps that the Exchange Hotel also has specials for locals on every Monday from 5pm. So if you live in the area (or you're keen to see why Port Melbourne residents love their suburb so much), then kick start your week here; all mains on the bistro menu are just $19 on Mondays. Whether it's counter classics like a steak sandwich with peppered minute steak, tomato relish, caramelised onions, Swiss cheese and beer battered chips or something a little different like crispy skin kingfish with smoked mushroom, dashi broth, lotus chips and edamame, there will be something on the Exchange menu to keep you smiling. Find out more about the Exchange at Port Melbourne.