Melbourne has long had a thriving live music scene, however, in recent year’s venues which were once seen a pillars of the scene have come under threat. Thankfully, there are still many pubs and hotels that are committed to the cause of keeping the music playing long and loud. This week we take a look at some of the most influential live music venues in suburban Melbourne, all of which still offer great food at great prices. These are the perfect venues to impress any family or friends you are trying to keep entertained during their stay in Melbourne!
The Reverence Hotel
Found tucked away, not far from the banks of the Maribyrnong River in Footscray, The Reverence Hotel sits on the busy corner of Napier and Whitehall Streets. The pub previously known as the Exchange Hotel is welcoming to anyone who needs a seat at a bar, a cold beer or a bite to eat, but most of all, anyone who has a good ear for music. There is something on most nights of the week at The Reverence (closed Mondays), Taco Tuesdays allows anyone willing to try the delicious Mexican influenced menu with $3 tacos, $3 Tecate tinnies and $5 bowls of fries, Wednesdays are trivia night and… you guessed it Thursday through to Sunday is live music.
Find an array of musical punters packing the pub on the weekends, it’s the perfect place to meet friends and have some drinks in the sprawling beer garden before listening to some of Melbourne’s best up and coming bands rock out. The Mexican influenced menu is one of Melbourne’s best with everything from tacos, burritos and burgers to homemade desserts. There is definitely something for everyone, including our vegan friends, who will find numerous specially listed items, such as the pulled jackfruit replacing the popular pork dish. The best thing about The Reverence is that young rock enthusiasts sit right at home next to locals playing pool, tradesmen having knock-off drinks and families having a birthday celebration. There is a ‘spot at the bar’ for every Melburnian!
28 Napier Street, Footscray reverencehotel.com
The Prince Bandroom
A live music venue for over 60 years, The Prince has become one of the premier music venues in Melbourne. The venue plays host to a wide array of acts, from punk, pop, rock to techno, house and party anthems. There is always fun to be had when dancing away at Prince.
Over the years, acts like Coldplay, Pink and Lenny Kravitz have graced the stage, while lately bigger pop and dance acts have come to call the stage home… even if for only a couple of hours. On the weekends you will often find music blasting till the wee hours, but be sure to check the calendar of events beforehand to choose something that suits your taste.
Like other great Melbourne venues such as Revolver Upstairs, The Prince Bandroom is transformed into Pow Kitchen during the week, serving authentic flavours from Southern Asia at affordable prices. The soul of the bandroom is not lost to the pop-up restaurant. Pow Kitchen only uses some of the bandroom floor and the outside terrace, and a DJ is often found spinning tunes on weeknights. The food is affordable and tasty, something the seaside suburb of St Kilda is well known for.
29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda princebandroom.com.au
In a country where live music has been said to be dying (albeit due to develop taking over live music venues), Melbourne suburbs like Brunswick and institutions like the Retreat Hotel are definitely thriving. Every night at the famed Retreat Hotel you can see bands rocking out on stage, from well-known local artists to international acts, the music is quality throughout the week.
In true Melbourne fashion there is a large beer garden hidden out the back of the Retreat. Take a seat at one of the many tables surrounding the large tree at the centre of the garden, or, if you’re feeling like it, take a seat cross-legged on the grass, like many punters choose to do.
The venue is open late on weekends, and the crowd transitions from old school rockers to young head boppers as the night grows old. As with other venues mentioned in this post, the Retreat is a place for everyone to come and enjoy some Melbourne music and a bite to eat. On that note, be sure to check out the weeknight specials, the combination of live music and chipotle roasted chicken with sriracha sauce for a buck each is hard to resist.
280 Sydney Road, Brunswick retreathotelbrunswick.com.au
Northcote Social Club
The Northcote Social Club burst onto the scene in the early 2000s. After a couple of face lifts and many a menu change, the High Street pub has become one of Melbourne’s favourites. The band room plays host to a few bands a week and its 300 strong capacity makes it a hot spot for international up and coming acts. It is partially owned by the proprietors of the Corner Hotel in Richmond, so you know that the venue is well run with quality acts filling its weekend line-ups.
Mondays are made easier as the NSC puts on a free three piece gig with cheap jugs and parmas, an offering they have named Monday Night Mass, the perfect start to any week. The regular crowd shuffles in for Monday nights, however, weekends before 10pm and throughout the week are perfect times for the family to visit and try something from the exciting menu… or leave the kids at home and follow your friends into the bandroom for a night you won’t forget.
301 High Street, Northcote northcotesocialclub.com