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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Where to spend the Melbourne Cup Carnival
The Melbourne Cup Carnival kicks off this spring, culminating with the Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday November 1. Whether you're going to the races or having a flutter at your local pub, some of Melbourne's best pubs are getting in the spirit with pre and post-race events, Happy Hour deals, and guaranteed good times.
The party vibes are already strong on an average weekend in Fitzroy, and Fitzroy Social is adding to that with its sprawling, high-ceilinged bar space. Open seven days a week, Fitzroy Social really takes off on Bloody Mary Sundays, when Bloody Marys fly off the bar counter for $12 all day, from 11am to closing time. Choose from four varieties, including the Classic Bloody Mary, the Bloody Maria with Olmeca Altos tequila, the Spicy Sailor with house made spiced rum and a cinnamon sugar waffle, and Bloody Hell with bacon-infused vodka. Lock in Happy Hour in your calendar every day from 5-7pm and 8-10pm, and make Fitzroy Social your local summer bar, they'll be pouring frozen Margaritas and Frosés for $10 a pop to quench your thirst. The bar food menu caters for whatever mood you're in. Get in on the brunch burger and Bloody Mary deal all day on Sundays, and top it up with pizzas and chicken wings to share. Set menus are available for those special weekend dinners, and check out the vegan and gluten-free menus for those with dietary requirements. Brought to you by the team behind Asian Beer Café, Father's Office, The Shaw Davey Slum and The Bank on Collins, Fitzroy Social takes up the space left behind by the Little Creatures Dining Hall. The colourful space is adorned with artwork by renowned local artist David Bromley, whose work grace the venue's custom upholstery, wallpaper, and the statement mural running the length of the dining room. The icing on the cake is Bromley
Every trip to Melbourne Zoo is different. Despite being Australia’s oldest zoo, this vibrant animal world is constantly evolving with new exhibits, events, and of course, creatures great and small. A trip to Melbourne Zoo done right takes a day. The largest exhibit is the majestic Wild Sea, where penguins and seals bask on land before slipping into clear waters and showcasing their elegant aquatic skills. Another highlight is the sprawling Orang-utan Sanctuary, where a family of beautiful, intelligent orang-utans swing from tree to tree, play with each other and feed high off the ground. Then there’s the Trail of the Elephants; an immersive Asian village and garden where five Asian elephants thrive. We could go on and on about the lions, lemurs, meerkats, butterflies and native animals that you’ll encounter, but we’ll let you discover it all for yourself. Throughout your Melbourne Zoo experience, you’ll learn about all the conservation work that happens behind the scenes; saving wildlife, conserving habitats and raising awareness of initiatives like Palm Oil labelling. For children and adults alike, a trip to Melbourne Zoo is a way to reconnect with our animal friends and gain a closer understanding of the delicate ecosystems of the world. If it’s been a while between visits, then there’s a world of adventure waiting for you. Children aged 0-15 get in for free on weekends and public holidays (Mon-Fri $16.30) and adult prices range from $24.90 (concession) to $32.50.
Melbourne's favourite local bookstores
Good bookshops offer expertly curated ranges and equally expert staff. Very few other shopkeepers can rival the knowledge and passion booksellers have for their treasures. Hand written endorsements, honest discussion and that blissful sense of tranquility all help make bookshops wonderful places to idle away an afternoon. But, of course, they can be great for last minute gifts, and other panic purchases, which is why it’s so helpful when they have no minimums on card payments. It’s a little thing, but it’s definitely a factor in making these seven booksellers so superlative.