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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10 fun events you can't miss this summer in Melbourne
The long days, mild nights and glorious weather mean it’s time to experience the best Melbourne has to offer. Whether you're looking for drinks with a riverside view or fabulous festivals, summer in the city has it all with art, markets, food, film and more. Plus if your wallet is looking a little thin post-holidays there are plenty of free and cheap events as well.
Some of the hottest stars in showbiz are going to be performing at Midsumma's night of nights, the Extravaganza. The night is hosted by comedy superstar Rhys Nicholson, and it promises to be an absolute riot. Trevor Ashley (Fat Swan, Little Orphan TrAshley, Diamonds Are For Trevor, I’m Every Woman) is producing and performing in the show, and he says it's going to be an absolute hoot. "Last year it was just comedians, but this year, of course, they’ve got a fabulous nine-piece band on stage, fabulous singers getting up on stage and singing songs, drag queens, burlesque, as well as comedy. It's got a bit of everything." As well as Nicholson and Trevor, the show will include Barry Award winner Zoe Coombs Marr, Take Me Out host and household name Joel Creasey, cabaret superstar Carlotta, GLOBE Artist of the Year Mama Alto, The Voice star Sheldon Riley, 3RRR Breakfasters host Geraldine Hickey, Black Comedy writer Steven Oliver, ten-time Golden Guitars Winner Beccy Cole, singer Libby O'Donovan and cabaret/circus/burlesque YUMMY. And it's not over when the house lights go on. "It will be a great night out, the Arts Centre are keeping the bar open after the show so everyone should stick around after the show and have a drink," says Ashley. "There will be a DJ. It will be really fun to have so much campness in one grande dame of a hall."
Five ways to perfectly pair your next night out with Blue Moon
A lot of fuss is made about pairing your food to your wine, but not everyone likes wine. Luckily, beer is often the perfect match to a meal, especially when you’re talking spicy food and delicious salty bar snacks. Blue Moon Belgian White is a refreshing, citrus-laced brew that is increasingly finding its way behind bars across Melbourne’s drinking and dining scene. Next time you find yourself at one of these Melbourne establishments pair your schooner of Blue Moon Belgian White with one of these meals to experience the beer (and your food) at its best.
The Exchange Pop-Up Beach Club
You'll be able to enjoy the bright, blue ocean and fresh, white sand of Port Melbourne Beach with a little extra luxury this January. Over the Australia Day weekend, the Exchange Hotel will be setting up a pop-up beach club to make your trip to the seaside a little more interesting. The club will run from Saturday, January 26 to Monday, January 28 and will be open from noon to 9pm each day. It features some live entertainment, plenty of snacks, spritzes, and beer on tap, so you won’t run out of refreshments while you soak up the sunshine. If lounging about isn’t your thing then you can also try your hand at a game of volleyball or grab some food from the barbecue. On January 26, you'll also be able to hang around after closing for the Exchange's Australia Day After Party. The event is taking place near the Exchange Pub on Bay Street, so you should have no trouble finding it. To make things better, the pop-up club is free to attend. Find out more about the pop-up beach club on the Exchange website here.