Move over, New York. There’s another contestant for the title of the city that never sleeps, and it’s Melbourne, where you can dance, ice-skate, eat, drink or attend an arts festival late into the night. It’s taken some inspired city planning to make the city of night owls both safe and fun. All-night transport, safety measures like security cameras, and plenty of things to see and do (including many that don’t involve alcohol) all make Melbourne a lively 24-hour city.
Here’s a quick guide to the 19 best places to eat, grab a beer, watch a movie, and even catch up on the latest art exhibit.
Experiencing Night Life In Melbourne: 19 Great Destinations
From dive bars to the National Museum, there’s plenty to do in Melbourne after the sun goes down.
The Provincial Hotel
Start your evening off right with a sundowner at a rooftop bar. The Provincial Hotel in Fitzroy has a new bar with retro decor, craft beers, and gorgeous pub food.
Indie Rock at Smith Street
Catch some music and alternative culture where Fitzroy meets Collingwood. Smith Street is the place for rock and indie music.
If your tastes run to fairytales instead of scruffy and alternative, Storyville is a great way to spend an evening. You’ll find everything from the Brothers Grimm to Alice in Wonderland to Harry Potter, and quirky themed drinks as well.
National Gallery of Victoria
Even the museums have late-night events, and you can catch the latest exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria until midnight. The NGV, as it is locally known, is the largest museum in Australia and famous for its Asian and Australian art collections as well as European masterpieces.
The Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum’s late-night events, known simply as Nocturnal, include cocktails and live music. They are held on the first Friday of every month.
If you’re exploring the cultural riches of the city, what better place than the Cinema Nova, with its regular late-night screenings of independent films? They take indie pretty seriously in Melbourne, and this is a giant complex with 16 screens and a regular round of festivals and events.
If you’re in the mood for some low culture instead, you can make your own music at KBOX Karaoke. They have plenty of music to choose from, including Asian hits. Private rooms are available, and snacks and drinks can be had all night.
For really, really late night drinks and music, the classic dive bar Heartbreakers has red neon lights and animal skulls for decor and classic rock to cater to past-midnight nostalgia. They serve pizza to soak up all that beer.
The serious clubbers head for Boney’s rave cave, where the best electronic music is to be found. And they really do mean all-night, because the place stays open until 7 am weeknights/days.
Bar de Stasio
Bar de Stasio is a busy and sophisticated spot, with good seafood and pasta. It’s a good spot to begin or end your evening.
If the name Pontoon suggests something nautical to you, you would be right. This casual bistro located next to the beach has a wrap-around deck and glass walls to watch the sunset while you tuck into your pizzas, salads, and burgers, not to mention the local craft brews and Prosecco. It also has a popular weekend brunch menu.
Mörk Chocolate Brew House
This is where you go for restoring chocolate drinks and related eats, all with Aussie flavours. What are Aussie flavours, you might ask? How about ‘campfire,’ which has flavours of maple smoke and charcoal salt, or ice-cream in macadamia and wattleseed flavour served with eucalyptus honey?
Another classic bistro, this time with a Parisian flair, is Siglo. The rooftop bar features great food and service, serious drinks, and even cigars.
Black Pearl is a classic with leather banquettes and candle lighting. A relaxed, cozy spot for late-night drinks and dinner, it’s been named the Best International Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards. The Attic upstairs is for those in the know, and you need reservations to get in.
Leonard’s House of Love
If Casablanca had Rick’s American Cafe, Melbourne has Leonard’s House of Love. This is a 1970s-style party house with burgers, fried chicken, loaded fries, and cold beer.
For a more sophisticated experience and taste, Arlechin provides wine and food, like midnight spaghetti. The food is made to be shared as you recover from a night of clubbing with friends.
What’s a night out without a bowl of Ramen? You can find Tokyo soul food in Melbourne’s central business district up till 4 am at Shujinko.
Magic Mountain Saloon
If your tastes run to Thai food instead, there’s the Magic Mountain Saloon with both food and drink. It’s open late nights until 3 am and early again at 8 am, which is just in time to try a Thai breakfast with ocean trout and ginger scrambled eggs with breakfast cocktails.
Le Bon Ton
American Southern cuisine, from Texas barbecue to freshly shucked oysters, reigns at Le Bon Ton, complemented by New Orleans-inspired decor.
Getting There in Style
As Melbourne positions itself as a global city, its rich and varied nightlife is almost a matter of civic pride. This is, in fact, due to careful planning by city officials, who decided that the best way to make the city safer was to have people in the streets, cafes, and bars well into the night. For visitors, it means that you don’t have to feel lost, lonely, or disoriented in a strange city at 2 am.
One thing about nightlife in Melbourne is that it is spread out, and many of the fun places are far out from the city centre. There is all-night public transportation, but for travellers who don’t want to get lost or spend a lot of time figuring out maps and tickets, a chauffeur car service like iChauffeur Melbourne is a good way to get around. You’ll get a friendly, knowledgeable driver and a luxurious vehicle that will make your night on the town memorable.