The cultural capital of the country, Melbourne’s LGBTQIA scene is thriving with plenty to offer, especially when it comes to partying. With monthly parties and weekly nights that include drag shows, cabaret, cocktail sipping and pumping dancefloors, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
You already know where Melbourne’s best nightlife spots are, but for this city that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve put together a list of the best and most exciting gay nightclubs in Melbourne. So you can spend less time coming up with a Saturday night gameplan, and more time on the dancefloor!
Hosting the biggest queer Saturday night in Melbourne is no small feat. POOF DOOF operates out of Chasers nightclub on Chapel St from 9pm and keeps the southside queer community partying til dawn. The high cover charge doesn’t keep the masses from coming in droves to hit the dancefloor under the disco ball, this place really pumps with the right kind of trashiness.
The downstairs bar features three bar spaces and a massive dance floor with state of the art soundsystem, lighting rig and LED screen. The music revolves around EDM and techno with local and international LGBTQIA DJ’s keeping the dancefloors sweaty. The upstairs bar hosts Snap Crackle Pop, playing pop hits, hip hop and classic anthems along with drag shows throughout the night. POOF DOOF stands proud with a great vibe, fun atmosphere and no judgement, making it a place made for creating great memories. If you’ve come to Melbourne especially for a night out here, Punthill South Yarra has all your accommodation needs covered, and is the perfect spot to rest up before and after a night on the dancefloor.
Formerly Melbourne’s only “bear and leather” bar, The Laird is one of the country’s longest running gay bars, being home to the queer community since 1980. Just off Hoddle St in Abbotsford, is as well known locally as it is internationally. With three bars, a huge beer garden and unique accommodation options upstairs, it’s a great place to meet up with other men and have some fun.
The venue is open 7-nights a week too, with saucy theme nights and events running all-year-round, including the Bare Arse/Wet Jock night, Bearfest and underwear parties. They host weekly nights including a pool comp on Tuesdays, Trivial Hirsute trivia nights on Wednesdays dubbed the “cheekiest trivia in town” and Sing Stud karaoke on Friday nights, there’s plenty of fun to be had with the fellas. Having being granted an male-only bar status by VCAT means that The Laird is exclusive to same-sex attracted cisgender and transgender males, however the bar opens its doors to the wider community for annual events like the Vic Leather Open Day, Men on Men Day and Northside Bizarre.
This community run spot out in the west is part-owned by 200 like-minded individuals who weren’t seeing the kind of bar they wanted in their local neighbourhood. They decided to do something about it and got the party started in Footscray. With a commitment to diversity and representation of the LGBTQIA community, The Pride has the most mixed audience in Melbourne, with people of all backgrounds, ages and orientation mixing freely together.
With lots of colour and plenty of personality, The Pride hosts entertainment for the local queer community five nights a week, Fridays and Saturdays go late with the dancefloor and DJ’s putting on a show. Weekly fun includes drag shows, comedy, dance parties, drag bingo and much more. Be sure to grab a cocktail from Superbia, the cocktail bar hidden within the walls of the venue, serving their patented Spicy Margarita’s and Pornstar Martini’s.
Known for its cocktails, hip hop and dance music, Friday nights at Attik nightclub are all about the girls. The Chapel St club’s weekly night Mother provides a gathering space for queer girls every Friday. With free entry and a place to bring supportive friends, Mother is all about positivity and love.
DJ’s start from 9:30pm and the dancefloor heats up and keeps going all night. Each week has a different theme to keep things fresh and fun, with RNB night, fairy floss night, UV, pyjama and traffic light parties as well as special guests like Isabelle Deltore dropping by. The bar is open Thursday and Saturday also, and does pretty good pizza if you’re after a feed before you hit the dancefloor.
Sircuit Bar is a Fitzroy staple and iconic late night spot within Melbourne’s gay scene, offering free entry and known for hosting themed nights weekly including Hey Henny, Showtime With The Sisters and Super Pop Sundays. Boasting one of the best dancefloors in Melbourne, things really heat up with renowned local and guest DJ’s on the decks. Keep an eye out also for special ticketed events, like the massive new years eve party they host every year, with DJ’s over two levels.
On Mondays the bar becomes ADAM, a nude social get together for people identifying as male, where everyone has a great night out wearing nothing but their birthday suit enjoying drinks, socialising and games of pool. Sircuit isn’t too far from Bar Liberty, as mentioned in our best wine bar article, where you can grab a nice wine and bite before hitting the dancefloor.
One of Melbourne’s cult late night spots, this Collingwood institution stays open till 7am Fridays and Saturdays. The dance floor swells after midnight as everything else around town begins to close and all roads lead to Peel St. Even though The Peel is only open two nights a week, it makes the most of it and is renowned around the city as the late night weekend spot. Everyone has been to The Peel at least once in their life.
The DJ and drag shows here are legendary and the place is always busy with the Melbourne gay scene hungry for more. The Peel is proudly designed to be a gay male venue, but open for everyone to respectfully be part of the party. There are three bars, with plenty of mischief to be had, whether it be in the courtyard, cocktail bar or sweating it up on the dancefloor.
Every Thursday party dive bar Yah Yah’s hosts ThurGay, their weekly queer night offering plenty of good times with a young and friendly crowd that likes to get loose. The Fitzroy local is known across town for its late night antics all weekend long, but on Thursdays the sticky floors and trashy bathrooms are reserved for the queer community.
Bring your party shoes because this place has a genuine vibe, with DJ’s pumping out bangers over two floors, drag performances, cocktail specials and a Lip Sync For Your Pint comp that could see you getting a few cheap drinks.
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on the best gay spots around Melbourne, your weekend’s are going to be pretty busy with late nights ahead. Since most places kick off pretty late, why not check out some of Melbourne’s best bars to wet your whistle and get into the spirit of things before hitting up the dancefloors.
If you’re in town for a good time, why not not stay with a hotel that can point you in the right direction of all the right places to go. Veriu Queen Victoria Market and Punthill Flinders Lane are right in the heart of the city and close to all the places mentioned in this article.