Night Life in Melbourne

Expats new to the city can sometimes find it hard to meet new people. Thankfully, Melbourne is full of pubs, bars and lounges that can help newcomers in this regard. While the nightlife in Melbourne ranges from quiet, jazz-infused and reserved, to deafening, dance-beat thumping, and intoxicated, there are enough venues that most people can find at least a few with a vibe that suits them.


Social Groups

The Newcomers Network
The Bar, Rendezvous Hotel, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Hosted by Sue Ellson 0402 243 271
Hosts social drinks at their regular ‘Welcome to Melbourne’ nights (Second Thursday of every month). No cover charge, pay for your own refreshments.

Melbourne Groups has heaps of groups to suit every interest, and most reports from expats concur that the majority of these groups are full of open, welcoming people looking to meet others with similar interests. Some groups that may be of particular interest to expats (and come recommended by some) include:

Men’s Only
Go on, meet some blokes.

Vegetarian Families
A friendly bunch, from full on Vegan to “I cheat with fish”.

New in Town
Some newcomers, and oldcomers, who like meeting newcomers.

Friday Night Drinks
A good way to meet people who know the city’s best watering holes.

The 18-35 Alcohol Free
A good way to meet people who know nothing of the city’s best watering holes.

New in Town Social 30s/40s
Fun group of middle agers who have recently located.

Melbourne Indians
Big feasts and Bollywood film nights.


Pubs, Clubs and Bars

Some of the most popular watering holes among the executive expatriate crowd include the long established Gin Palace, and the old-world, leather-lounge of the Melbourne Supper Club. Both are open until the early hours of the morning.

Gin Palace
10 Russell Pl, Melbourne
03 9654 0533

Melbourne Supper Club

161 Spring, CBD
03 9654 6300

There are several Irish- and British-themed pubs in Melbourne that, paradoxically, no self-respecting Irish or British native would be caught dead in. They’re generally populated by Australian bogans (the Australian equivalent of a redneck) and although they can be a lot of fun, it pays to wear beer-proof clothes and leave your sense of personal space at home. The best known of these are:

Bridie O´Reilly’s
Multiple locations

Pug Mahone’s
Multiple locations

In addition to these long established establishments, Melbourne’s younger hipster crowd can be found traversing the secret (often unmarked) little bars of Melbourne’s laneways and rooftops. While some popular ones are listed below, these types of drinking venues can come and go with the seasons, so don’t be too disappointed if they’re gone by the time you look. On the upside though, there’s always an equal number of hip, new bars springing up to replace those that vanish.

Section 8
27-29 Tattersalls Ln, CBD
0422 972 656
This outdoor bar fashioned out of shipping containers is sandwiched between two buildings in a small laneway. Can close in colder months, bad weather, or if there is somewhere cooler to be that night.

Madame Brussels
59 Bourke St, CBD
03 9662 2775
This season’s top rooftop pub. An English garden theme runs throughout the small venue, which is usually populated with the city’s young money makers and spenders.

Red Humming Bird
246 Russell St, CBD
03 9654 2192
Another rooftop spot with clientele that’s usually an interesting mix young globetrotting characters.

3-5 Hosier Lane, CBD
03 9663 9202
This one is so secret that there is no sign, and even the bar name on the matchbooks is written in Braille. If you can find it, consider yourself amongst the cool kids.