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The best bars for dancing in Melbourne

This one's for all you discerning drinkers who also like to dance your pants off

Photograph: Daniel Boud

"Where can we go to have after work drinks where we can also dance?"

It's the cry that echoes around most of Melbourne every Friday afternoon, but the response is often a stony silence. Melbourne isn't shy of excellent bars. This we know. There are solid clubs too. But oh so rarely do well-made drinks and a sturdy dancefloor unite in a single venue. We're not talking about the Tote, or Liberty Social or any other music-driven venue where the drinks play second fiddle to actual fiddles. Here we've rounded up places where you can sit back, chat and relax of a afternoon and get a little jiggy later on. As God is our witness, you'll never go thirsty or beatless again.

Bars with dance floors in Melbourne

1

Boney

We're still a tiny bit freaked out by the fancy food and cocktails on offer downstairs at the resurrected Pony. We saw some sweaty things go down here in the past. But the Martinis and blinis are genuinely good and make it worth showing up at 7pm rather than 3am. Come for the drinks, stay for the 7am weekend bedtime and the nightly DJ and live music agenda.

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Melbourne
2

Bella Union

OK, granted, this isn't strictly a bar, but it is one of the best places to dance in town and we've spent just as many nights having long chats over wine on the couches as tearing up the D-floor. You never quite know what is in store for you here. They put on their fair share of indie, rock and alt country gigs but if you want to be sure of dancing possibilities then head here every second Friday for Mr McClelland's Finishing School.

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Carlton
3

Carlton Club

The many floors and faces of the Carlton Club make this a good spot for both boozy adventures and booty popping. We also like that both activities are watched over by a truly stupendous collection of exotic animal taxidermy. Here they play whatever is on the radio so you're guaranteed some earworms, pop and r'n'b at dancing-friendly volumes.

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Melbourne
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4

The Toff in Town

Curtin House is frankly ridiculous, brimming over as it is with a host of outstanding bars and club spaces. The Toff in Town is one of the swankiest, with private booth bar complete with late-night DJs, and then there is the excellent band space to the right for throwing shapes.

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Melbourne
5

The Bridge Hotel

The old Bridge used to be a no-nonsense local pub but after the old girl's extreme makeover a couple of years back it's turned into a veritable palace of fun. Punters are still drinking beers and there are cheap steaks on Tuesdays, but they also have DJs, live music, and a catchy-as-all-get-out pop playlist.

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Burnley
6

LuWow

Sometimes it seems like all Melbourne wants to do on a Saturday night is dance with go-go dancers, drink Mai Tais and get lei-ed. This tiki-tastic rum bar has ridiculous tropical party drinks which come adorned with finger puppets, and the 'Forbidden Temple' out back, where a DJ spins vintage dance tunes mixing the ’60s, ska, rhythm'n'blues and calypso. Live bands usually bring funk, jazz and some really solid costumes to the mix.

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Fitzroy
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7

Go Go Bar

This dark, subterranean bar is a drinking destination in its own right. With an entirely black paint job, minimal light, and a scattering of tea lights in red glasses, this is the place for the self-conscious dancer with weekend DJs covering hip hop and disco.

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Melbourne
8

Workshop

This motorcycle-workshop-turned bar is huge on music: the sound system plays anything from reggae to indie rock, and the venue frequently plays host to local and touring MCs and DJs. After dark, the tunes are loud and the bar is red-lit but fair warning, 'No Jagerbombs' is a house rule.

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Melbourne
9

Ferdydurke

Ferdydurke is a bar for the adult in you who demands a good drink, with a serve of grungy fun for your never-say-die side. They do sharp cocktails and craft beers to fuel your dancing shoes, with retro vinyls on the stereo during the week and DJs taking over on weekends.

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Melbourne
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10

Section 8

The bar may be housed in a converted shipping container with scattered wooden pallets for seats, but that doesn't mean you won't find some party action at Section 8. On the weekends they have great DJs spinning everything from house to disco and at the moment, they're also holding Sunday sessions where they bring in food trucks to match the tunes.

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Melbourne
11

Loop Project Space & Bar

This was one of Melbourne’s first odes to the great American dive bar, and it’s still one of the best. During the week it’s a fairly respectable saloon but on the weekends you can’t hear yourself over the combined roar of revellers and power ballads, and while they don't have an official dancefloor, you won't be left looking like a git if you do start to shake your tail feather.

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Melbourne
12

Horse Bazaar

Horse Bazaar means different things to different people – it's a bar, music and art venue. You may visit for the Tuesday dumplings and shoulder massage deals, but Thursday nights mean hip hop, and Friday and Saturdays are a party hardy mix of pop, rock, dancehall and bass.

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Melbourne
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13

FAD Gallery

The Fad Gallery is a two-storey art gallery and bar that boasts old school beats from '50s rock through to the most effective dance floor bangers from recent years. And they do it all with a healthy dose of house party vibe – one you won't have to clean up after.

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Melbourne
14

Kodiak Club

This was one of Melbourne’s first odes to the great American dive bar, and it’s still one of the best. During the week it’s a fairly respectable saloon but on the weekends you can’t hear yourself over the combined roar of revellers and power ballads, and while they don't have an official dancefloor, you won't be left looking like a git if you do start to shake your tail feather.

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Fitzroy
15

Lucky Coq

Lucky Coq and Bimbo Deluxe are sister bars on the north and south side that cater to the budget end of the party spectrum. If you're looking for cheap beers, cheaper pizza and a late night power circle on the dance floor, they're at your service.

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Prahran
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16

Lounge

This upper-level Swanston Street bar is somewhat a Revolver of the CBD. They play host to indie bands and have DJs playing party sets until breakfast time on the weekends, and the recently revamped kitchen serving mac'n'cheese balls and decent burgers (including vego friendly numbers) makes it possible to start early out on the terrace and stay all night long.

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Melbourne

Looking for nightclubs instead?

The best nightclubs in Melbourne

Melbourne’s dancefloors offer booty-shaking vibes aplenty. Here are our favourite places to throw shapes on the weekend.

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By: Rose Johnstone

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