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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Get down to Bodega Underground
Head downstairs and get ready to shake off the week at Little Bourke Street's own basement taqueria Bodega Underground. Kick off your night with a snack fiesta and order up the tacos de pescado which sees battered fish, dressed in chipotle mayo and topped with avo and crunchy purple cabbage; or the tacos de pulpo with tender garlic octopus, pickled radish, and salsa macha with smoky charred chillies and pepitas. Vegans don't have to miss out either tacos de champiñones stuffed with adobo mushrooms and topped with Bodega Underground's vegan take on fried pork rinds. Then get the night really going with some cocktails, like the Espresso Martinez with tequila, espresso, dulce de leche caramel and fernet-vallet liqueur; a Pineapple Papi with mezcal apricot brandy, spiced pineapple, lime and orgeat; or a Aloe Señorita with tequila, elderflower, aloe vera and citrus. And if you're feeling really adventurous, why night try some smoky mezcal paired with an orange wedge and Sal de Chapulin (that's grasshopper-infused salt). Add in moody lights, a blues and soul soundtrack and the fact that it's open until 3am daily, and you've got a good night set ahead.
Max your summer in Melbourne
The days are longer, the nights are warmer, and the city is packed with events every day of the week. Summer in Melbourne means a full social calendar, a Christmas break and the relief of not having to leave the house with ten layers on. Whether you’re in the mood for night markets, blockbuster shows or exhilarating sports events, we’ve got you covered with our summer hit-list. Tick them all off, and take summer to the max. In association with
Meet O’Brien Lager 3.5
Australia’s top gluten-free craft beer baron O’Brien Beer is releasing another landmark brew, O’Brien Lager 3.5. It's the first naturally brewed gluten-free mid-strength beer to hit the market in Australia, meaning coeliac and gluten intolerant beer fans (or anyone) can get on board. The full-bodied lager counterbalances bitterness with a hit of robust malt and hop flavours, and the naturally brewed mid-strength sits at 3.5 per cent, making it the perfect summer brew. It joins O'Brien Beer's core range, which includes a Pale Ale, Premium Lager, Brown Ale and Light Lager, along with seasonal brews. The key to making O'Brien Beers 100 per cent gluten free is the use of sorghum and millet, instead of the usual barley and wheat. The trick to ensuring it tastes great in getting the malting is just right. Over the years the brewery has perfected its own methods for malting the best gluten-free grains to use in the brewing process. The 3.5 Lager is now available to purchase at all First Choice Liquors nationally, otherwise you can order O’Brien Lager 3.5 from Rebellion Brewing online.