While it is really unfair to generalize, the Southside is seen as more twinky, clubbing and fashion orientated. It boasts a strong gay male population and also has many male cruising areas. The gay Southside centre is Commercial Road, conveniently located near Chapel Street – Melbourne’s shopping and café mecca. It’s where you’ll find a bevvy of gay clubs, cafes and shops. The big full time gay clubs here include the twink-favoured Xchange Hotel, and the queen of nightclubs the Market Hotel (one of the few music directed gay clubs, open till 7am). The Market often hosts big name DJs and performers, and is your safest best for a decent night out on any Friday or Saturday night. Also on the street are free entry bars Heaven’s Door Bar (a young fun bar / hosts Asian nights on Wednesdays) and Priscilla’s Bar (free entry).
Melbourne’s best gay news source is Southern Star whose offices are located off Chapel Street. There are lots of great bars located in and off the well-known Chapel Street, and a couple of them host regular gay events. Unusual but very fun Sundays happen at the Railway Hotel – normally a very straight club, from 3pm on Sundays it gets taken over by a sea of gays in an unofficial weekly tradition. It’s a Melbourne gay ‘must do’.
Another place worth checking out is Love Machine which is gay only on Sundays. If you’re feeling frisky, then head over to Inya or the Beat Bookshop (which actually has a cruise lounge) to get inspired by toys, products, the latest gay info and the free gay papers. If you’re feeling even friskier, then head down to the Sex On Site venues 55 Porter Street and just next door Ten Plus (a clothing optional venue and a great place to buy amyl) conveniently located just off Commercial Road and near clubs.
Just 2km down from Commercial Road, you’ll find the GH Hotel, the current palace of Melbourne drag in St Kilda, as well as a stack of great cafes and shops in Carlisle Street, Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. Also in St Kilda is the notorious Prince Of Wales Hotel. The hotel is itself one of the best designer hotels in the state, and is one of the hippest boutique hotels in the world. The downstairs front bar is gay on Monday nights. The Prince Bandroom hosts some of the world’s greatest music talents and DJs, and is also the regular home of Melbourne’s longest running girls’ night Girlbar.
St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street is the location of Melbourne’s gay Pride March which happens in February each year, ending in a huge beach party on St Kilda Beach – a perfect spot for a bit of eye candy in Summer. In the area, Victoria Street is often called ‘Little Vietnam’ and is heaven for lovers of great Asian food. Richmond is also home to a fantastic Melbourne gay pub with the sweetest beer garden ever, DTs Hotel.
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