I love Melbourne!
The best bars, restaurants, and coffee shops I’ve visited in the country are all here. If you come to Australia, make sure to visit this incredible, enchanting place. City of the future, Melbourne’s architecture and urban design is modern and conceptual with the main purpose of attracting the continent’s neighbor, the Asians. Capital of the best Universities in the country, they make most of their profit from students! They made sure that those campus buildings look cool. The hip, trendy, and cool vibe that the city has is mesmerizing. Therefore, come and visit this electrifying place, that reminded me of the best of London, Berlin, and Belgium, while still bringing its own unique Australian style.
Gay City Guide
Melbourne Gay Parade January 29, 2017
Sydney has the body, Melbourne has the mind. A bigger, more diverse, and spread out scene can be found here. South Yara’s Chapel Street, Fitzroy’s Smith and Wellington Streets, and St. Kilda’s Fitzroy Street are the three main neighborhoods and streets with the nicest clubs and gay bars in the city, although Brunswick and the city center have their gay parties and spots as well. Melbourne itself is the real queer capital of Australia.
The most popular clubs are, POOF DOOF on Chapel Street, most popular on Saturday Nights, and The Peel, where a twink heaven party takes place every Thursday night. Melbourne also hosts one of the biggest sex clubs in the world, Club 80. With 3 levels and over 30 beds, if you’re on a budget…Club 80 has got your back 😛 Here is a list of my favorite spots! To be honest, you can use this as a solid guide line, but everywhere you go you will feel a queer-accepting vibe. Find your own spot and share it with me.
Sircuit- From Wednesday to Sunday this bar always has something happening. One of the most popular and busiest bars on Fitzroy, it’s a go to whenever you are not sure what to do. Friendly, hot bartenders and a second floor exclusively for cruising. If you get bored on the dance floor, you know what to do. Check out their website, they always keep it up to date with the latest events and special parties. Sircuit
Location: 103 Smith St, Fitzroy/Collingwood
3066 Melbourne, Australia
Railway– The Beresford Hotel of Melbourne. Similar vibe and gay day is only Sundays. People start getting here after 3:00 pm.
Location: 29 Chapel St, Windsor
3181 Melbourne, Australia
The Peel Hotel- Although it has a dance floor, the Peel has more of a bar vibe. Popular on Thursday nights with younger crowds, it’s a place where people tend to go after other parties are done, like they advertise on their door, “All roads lead to Peel”. It gets busy every day around 2 am. It only opens Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Music wise it is more top 40 than anything but sometimes DJ’s will play dance songs.
Location: 46 Peel Street, Collingwood
The Emerson- This rooftop bar replete with cushion-lined deck is the place to go on Sunday afternoons. The crowd is mostly fashion young men and the music is mainly mixes of top 40’s.
Location: 143/145 Commercial Rd, South Yarra VIC 3141
Queer bars and Clubs
Revolver– The best of the world in one place: International DJ’s, dark dance floor, graffiti walls, cool people, and freaking Thai Food! Yes…Thai food. With two main rooms usually playing deep or funky house this is one of the coolest options when in Chapel Street.
Location: 229 Chapel St
Section 8- Mix crowd bar, mostly straight but queer friendly, this place represents what Melbourne energy was for me. An open-air bar with drinks served from a shipping container, DJs and graffiti-covered walls. The good music and atmosphere is enough to have a great time no matter the day or time you go. Right in the city center, Section 8 is a must.
Location: 27-29 Tattersalls Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Sister Bella- This hipster bar puts Brooklynites to shame. Broken skates coming down the roof, with a nice, chill, laid-back atmosphere, the place is great for any kind of meet up. This hidden point in the middle of the city can be your pre-game spot before starting your night out at the clubs.
Location:9 Sniders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Eau De Vie Melbourne- My favorite whiskey bar in the world! No words can describe how much I loved this place. Hidden at the end of an alley, it’s pretty hard to find. If you don’t have the address and know about the place you could easily walk by it and never notice it’s there. With an incredible cocktail menu, professional, skillful bartenders, and one of the sexiest atmospheres in town, Eau De Vie is a must.
Location: 1 Malthouse Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
POOF DOOF- A gay club open only on Saturday nights with a big dance floor and bar. Opens at 11 but gets really busy around 1 am. POOF brings out the dance crowd of Melbourne. Good for a fun night of dancing and good music. DJ’s here usually play with a fusion of underground house, and a few scattered camp numbers to get the crowd going. The bartenders are really hot and the dance floor gets really packed. The light system is nice, but not as vibrant as Sydney’s ARQ; still, it’s a cool, upbeat vibe and a great place to spend your Saturday night.
Location: 386 Chapel Street
Club 80- No, you are not in Berlin, you are in Australia! The most fabulous cruise club in the country, set over multiple floors. Club 80 is a local institution that attracts gay and bi men from all over. The staff is really friendly, and it is not just a sex cruise spot: they also host phenomenal dance parties! They open at noon everyday.
Location: 10 Peel St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Love Machine- Sunday after the sun goes down at The Emerson rooftop bar guys cross the street and they head up to Gossip party. Love Machine is a small cocktail bar with neon lights and 80’s and 90’s old school tunes. It’s not a gay club but gay guys take over every Sunday.
Location: 228A Malvern Rd, Prahran VIC 3181
Top 3 Hotels
The Westin is my first pick not only because of their incredible services but also they have the best location of any hotel in the city just on Flinder’s Lane next to my top favorite restaurants and the iconic Hosier Lane Street Art. This luxurious property offers a fitness centre, an indoor pool and free WiFi access in the lobby. The Westin Melbourne is 20 minutes’ walk from both Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and Rod Laver Arena.
All guest rooms include a 42-inch flat-screen TV and tea/coffee making facilities and en-suite bathroom with separate bath and shower. The hotel features also a wellness centre with a 20 meters lap pool, a bubble pool, sauna and a steam room. Best Rate 400 AUD
Located on South bank with beautiful views of the city center and just 5 minute walk of the stunning Botanical Gardens and the Victoria Gallery this hotel makes moving around the major attractions of the city comfortable and easy. The Langham Melbourne features an indoor swimming pool with views across the city and a rooftop pool. The elegant interior includes a grand marble staircase, cascading fountains and magnificent chandeliers.
The Chuan Spa is a great space to relax after a day of exploring the city. They offers a range of massages and beauty treatments. The fully equipped fitness centre includes a sauna and steam room.
Melba Restaurant offers panoramic views in a stylish relaxed setting and ARIA Bar serves tea, coffee, light meals and cocktails. South bank is a great choice for travelers interested in entertainment,sport and restaurants. The National theater, museums and the sport stadiums are all just minutes away. Best Rate 430 AUD
Also located on Flinders Street Hotel Lindrum by Sofitel is the best boutique hotel in Melbourne. I picked this one over Sofitel that is the tallest best views hotel in the city just for the luxurious experience that only a boutique hotel can offer. It will be the most comfortable bed you will ever sleep in.
Offering modern décor, all guests rooms are recently refurbished and offer luxury bedding, an LCD flat-screen TV and a Philips Dual Docking station. En suite bathrooms offer free organic toiletries by Appelles Apothecary, bathrobes and slippers, and a rainshower over a bathtub. Other facilities available include daily newspaper delivery, and discounted off-site car parking. Best rate 240 AUD
Top 3 restaurants
Just do yourself a favor and look at the menu. Every single entree sounds like a masterpiece because it is. One of my favorite experiences in Australia period. Funky asian fusion with lots of spice each entree will be a surprise to your palate. Please avoid Chin Chin and come here instead.
France meets Asia, meets the world. This beautiful restaurant by chef Adam d’ Sylva is a letter of love to Asian cuisine with a french touch that creates a balance in each one of their dishes making them have that subtle taste that only a master in the kitchen can create. Located next to Lucy Liu on Flinders Lane Coda is a most if visiting Melbourne. It offers a way more low key relax atmosphere than the other two options that I’m recommending here. Perfect for an intimate date.
This award winning restaurant place into any big reviewer top 50 restaurants in the world will be the the top dinning experience you can have in Melbourne. From Tuesday through Saturday they offer an Extended Tasting Menu for $250 per person. New Zealand chef Ben Shewry’s masterpiece will be one of the top dinning experiences of your life.
Hostel prices — Starting at $18 AUD and going up to as much as $45 AUD, you will find the good hostels of Melbourne to be better than any budget hotel. A private room will range from around $70-130 AUD, depending on things like shared bathrooms vs. private bathrooms. Most hostels include linens and WiFi in the price, and many offer free breakfast. Home at the Mansion is by far my favorite!
Budget hotel prices — Most hotels here are expensive and the cheap ones are not worth the money. You will be better off staying in a hostel or on a nice Airbnb. What $120 AUD per night can get you here is pretty sad, and then a room in a 3-star hotel is about $250 AUD! Space Hotel is a budget friendly option I recommend.
Food — With a high Asian population, you will find lots of cheap Asian restaurant options around. From Thai to Sushi, you can get a good meal for just $5 AUD! However, restaurants are as expensive as any other place in Australia, expect to pay around $25-30 AUD for most sit-down restaurant meals. Try cheap but tasty restaurants like Om Vegetarian and Crossways Food for Life they both offer all you can eat options for $6 if you are a student and $8 for everyone else.
Transportation — Melbourne has a zone based system. You need to get a card called Myki, they sell it pretty much everywhere, including 7 Elevens. Weekday travel within zones 1-2 ranges between $2.70-3.90 AUD. Within the CBD (Central Business District), there is free tram service. If you need to get around via cab, don’t! Another cool option is to get a bike pass for a week, it costs $25 AUD and you can use them 24 hours! Like Berlin and most cities in Europe, Melbourne is the most bike-friendly, easy to navigate city of this country.
Top Things to do
Eat at Flinders Lane
The best restaurants of the city are in this street one next to the other. Pick one and spoil yourself. My top recommendations are Lucy Lu, Coda and The Meatball Wine and Bar. If you tell me to pick one, I think I’ll go with Lucy Lu, but all of them are incredible. Avoid Chin Chin: the food was below average, and the place is so big and gets so busy that you feel you’re in a school cafeteria.
Walk and get lost
The city is a museum in itself. Covered by thousands of the most incredible street art pieces and graffitis I’ve seen, you can explore its lanes by foot or on bike. Book a street art tour, they are totally worth it. With so much to see, they will make sure to point out to you not only the most amusing pieces of art, but the history behind why Melbourne is the capital of street art in the world. Filled with narrow alley ways, hidden shops, bars, rooftop restaurants, art galleries, and indie theaters, Melbourne certainly wins the reputation of Australia’s culture capital.
Royal Botanical Gardens
The best view of the city skyline comes from here. One of the only hilly parts of the city, the botanical gardens are nothing short of extraordinary. Find the lake with the boats, and if you’re traveling with someone you love, hop in one and enjoy the romance and peace that this place brings.
State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is a historic institution that sees 8 million visitors a year. Originally built in 1856, the library has grown into an event space that’s a source of pride for city residents. The famous central rotunda, with its octagonal shape, original dark wood furniture, and book-lined walls is definitely something not to miss. Open 10am-9pm Monday-Thursday and 10am-6pm Friday-Sunday.
National Gallery of Victoria
Hands down the best museum in town. This public gallery has a vast collection of noted Australian and international artists. The Japanese exhibition was the highlight of my visit here.
My favorite Melbourne neighborhood is filled with vintage, antique, and hipster stores. The restaurants around here are mostly vegan, health-oriented, and organic restaurants. Imagine Brooklyn on steroids.
Similar to Denmark, almost every street in the city has a bike lane. The fact that most of the city is built on flat land makes it really easy to bike around. Bike the gardens, bike the river, bike to St. Kilda’s, catch a sunset, just bike around and enjoy the view.
Get a Tattoo
The best tattoo artists of the country are here. Renowned, famous tattoo artists have their home studios around the city. You will find amazing tattoo shops and artists pretty much in every corner.
Get a Coffee
It sounds like I’m describing hipster heaven right now, but seriously, every hipster loves his coffee. Amazing, world award winning baristas live around the city and have made Melbourne’s coffee the best in Australia.
Visit Phillip Island
Penguins! Enough said.
Drive the famous Ocean Road
The most scenic Road of Australia holds beautiful treasures and ends up at the epic Twelve Apostles. Some people do this as a day trip, I recommend booking a hostel or a budget hotel near the Apostles so you can relax and enjoy the drive both ways. It can be very exhausting doing this in one day.