A list of Melbourne’s best dancefloors, because I’m desperate to party
18.08.2020

A list of Melbourne’s best dancefloors, because I’m desperate to party

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Words by Tom Parker

These bad boys can’t be topped.

Who else is feeling a little bit jittery and restless? Like they’ve got an itch they just can’t reach. Yeah we’re all feeling it – that urge to slide left and swing right; to get low and reach high. To do the robot if you’re so inclined, or maybe the shopping trolley, or the crab if you’re feeling marine.

Times are tough at the moment but it’s ok, things will eventually return to normal. We’ll get back to our happy place soon enough.

To help electrify your imagination, and to stimulate positive memories, here’s a list of the hallowed Melbourne dancefloors we’ve all navigated in some way or form.

The Night Cat

On how many occasions has The Night Cat facilitated memorable nights out? I could count on eight hands. Maybe you’ve hit up a gig at Bar Open, it’s 11.57pm and you’re keen to let things rip. Or maybe you’ve witnessed a gig at The Night Cat itself. Whatever the hell is going on, you can bet your bottom dollar you’ve found your way onto this spacious d-floor at some point in your life.

The Toff

After you’ve walked up 7,840 steps, peer right and the dance dungeon awaits. The Toff is a special jive territory that holds a special place in the minds of all CBD party-goers. The beauty of The Toff? It’s fuckin’ free and that’s all you need to know.

Section 8

Oh man, this place bloody rocks on a sunny Saturday arvo, where the DJ is laying down trax and the vibe is high. I’ve been dreaming of standing on one of the wooden blocks with a dart in my right hand and a frosty in the left, peering out across the d-floor as everyone lets loose.

Angel Music Bar

The narrow, intimate dance space of Angel Music Bar has become a Melbourne favourite and for good reason. This spot is different – it’s not a nightclub but is still a pad for jive cultivators. DJ can cut their teeth in a super inclusive space and get better, and better, and better. Fuck yeah!

Workshop

Workshop is the perfect spot for when you’re having some drinks and could be persuaded into something a little x-tra. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. This is the perfect spot to spend your entire night. It’s the perfect hybrid of bar and nightclub and I’ll happily drink to that.

Yah Yah’s

Haha… Yep, we’ve all been here and LOVED it. This is like a jungle gym for adults. Take the slide from level two and find your spot front-and-centre downstairs as the DJ smoothly transitions from Vampire Weekend’s ‘A-Punk’ into Florence & The Machine’s ‘Dog Days Are Over’.

Colour Club

Colour is the new kid in town but has emerged as a killer party house. The beauty of this Carlton venue is their diversification – puns aside, Colour is totally inclusive, both of music and identity. One night you’ll get an epic techno party and the next, you’ll witness a wandering jazz band. Everyone is supported and that’s why Colour is so bloody great.

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Sub Club

This is a spot for the sesh gremlins, where dance tenacity is high. It’s 2:17am and yep, I’m lining up: “Get me the f in there, bouncer!” All jokes aside though, this spot is more than just a club – it’s a spot for subcultures to come alive and thrive. It’s a “boutique experience” as they say, and I’m happy to certify that.

The Shady Lady

On top of being one of the most respected dive bars in Melbourne, The Shady Lady is also a stellar home for those who want their night to be transcendent. Wander past the vertical bar and find the holy parchment, where dreams are made. Shady will also sling you drinks at a mean price so get there a bit earlier and reap the rewards.

Brown Alley

Another stellar groove residence in the heart of the city, Brown Alley consistently hosts epic after-parties and attracts some of the biggest DJs in the world. Take Nina Kravix, who performed the venue’s penultimate event before it shut down due to COVID-19. Here, you’ll be served a dancefloor experience like none other from some of the dance’s best tastemakers.

The Gaso

I remember attending PBS 106.7FM’s legendary event, Soul-A-Go-Go, at The Gaso four or five years ago and the night quickly escalated from a regular “few beers, few tears, few rhymes, good times” into me in the heart of the d-floor engaging in a hectic dance off. I thought I was on as well, but finished in seventh place.

The Daydreams Sunday sessions here are top notch as well.

The Curtin

UNDERRATED dance territory. This is another stellar hybrid of two celestial happenings – live music and clubbing. Wander down from the upstairs bandroom into the front bar where the DJ is peering out of their booth.

Me: “Hey producer, play a hit track for me?” DJ: “I insist!”

*Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ reverberates throughout the room*

Bimbo

After you’ve scoffed down your $4 pizza, make your way to the spot where you can get low and rise high, if you’d like? Chyeah, that d-floor’s got your name all over it. This spot was taken away from us, but she’s back and aren’t we all ecstatic for that!

Radar

Radar is the new Lounge – a place Melburnians adored yet closed in 2019. Radar has taken the old space and smartened it up a touch but there’s all the same groove potential.

Sircuit

Smith Street’s beloved gay bar that is inclusive to everyone. It constantly stands high as one of Melbourne’s best spots to have a boogie and it’s no surprise why – this spot delivers a versatile range of events from Wednesday to Sunday.

Dr Morse

Like Workshop, you can easily spend your entire night out here if you’re so inclined. The beauty of Dr Morse? The lid over the d-floor is retractable, so there’s no danger of getting too schweaty in your collared shirt and stonewashed jeans. Dr Morse is known for hosting secret sideshows for big-name DJs – like them on Facey and never miss a peep.

Revolver Upstairs

“Where to next?”

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, nudge, wink, nudge, nudge, wink.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. This d-floor is arguably Melbourne’s most heralded jive territory, and for good reason.

The Retreat

Melbourne’s favourite music ranch, The Retreat, not only consistently books the most exciting bands the city has to offer, but they’ve also got you sorted for when that last pint just wasn’t enough. Often the band who has just played will jump behind the decks so you know you’re in for an eclectic selection of trax.

Glamorama

The northside’s pre-eminent techno house, Glamorama has fulfilled late nights out for groove-meisters the world over. I see the “Glamorama” neon lights from Vegie Bar and I’m already 90 per cent there.

Bar Romantica

Bar Romantica goes late. Wander out of The B.East a little bit ‘how ya garn’ and extend your night into the wee hours at this stellar dance haven. It takes two to tango so Bar Romantica is also a quality Italian restaurant that attracts gastronomy gurus from all across Melbourne.

The Peel

The revered Peel has been a valued member of the Melbourne party scene for decades, constantly offering a space for gay men to come and dance to everything from house music to pop, disco and everything in between. Can COVID-19 just bloody end!?

The Lame Duck

The new bird in town, The Lame Duck has established itself as the spot to hit up when you don’t have the patience to navigate the Yah Yah’s entry line. In fact, many of us would agree that it’s quickly catching up to Yah Yah’s in stature. The DJ here is always killer, serving those who just… want… the… classics.

OneSixOne

Last but certainly not least, OneSixOne easily battles for the title of the southside’s top dance crib. Hosts of the beautifully-guerilla Breakfast Club, OneSixOne have been professionals in the party space for years and years.

Keen on another classic Melbourne read? We’ve ranked the toilets of Melbourne dive bars, clubs and music venues from sketchy to sparkling.

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