St. Kilda is known as the suburb to visit for shopping, cafes, and its famous row of old school cake shops. Come night time, this lively Melbourne suburb doesn’t close its doors and go to sleep. In fact, St. Kilda is one of the most popular places to visit to experience Melbourne nightlife in all its glory. Home to several of the city’s most legendary live music venues, St. Kilda is high on the list for anyone on the hunt for a quality gig. Next time you’re deciding what to do in St. Kilda, check out one of these well-known venues and get immersed in the music.
12 Lower Esplanade, St. Kilda
What originally began as a picture theatre in 1927, owned by a small group of Melbourne-based Americans, transitioned into what is now one of the most popular live music venues in St. Kilda, and in Melbourne as a whole. The Palais Theatre seats nearly 3,000 ticket holders and is the largest theatre in the country. Since its debut in the 1920’s, it went through a series of remodels and add-ons, only closing temporarily and at intervals so it could keep the entertainment alive. The increasingly renowned Palais theatre attracted big names like Rufus Wainwright, The Jezabels, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Weird Al, Gipsy Kings, Chris Isaac, The Beach Boys, and so many more during its decades of hosting musical sensations. While more contemporary names are on the calendar these days, the theatre retains is classic charm that keeps patrons coming back time and again. During a performance you can access all the normal beer, wine, and cocktails like you would at any bar, but you can also enjoy coffee, ice creams and hot snacks in true theatre fashion. To find out who’s currently playing, check out their calendar here.
11 The Esplanade, St. Kilda
Hotel Esplanade, colloquially called ‘The Espy’, was originally purchased as a block of land in the 1870s with the intention to be built into three Victorian Terrace houses. Luckily for Espy lovers of today, the team of architects at the time talked the owner into creating a single, magnificent, luxury hotel instead. The site went through many eras of hosting eager and budding artists, early-career musicians, lavish events, and many famous figures. Several years ago, the Hotel Esplanade closed its grand doors to go into what may have looked like a long hibernation period. On the contrary, a team of designers, visionaries, and architects spent those years busily reinventing the space while keeping its Victorian era magic alive. With the venue recently reopened in 2018, Melbourne locals will never be at a loss for where to go socialise and enjoy a rich and vibrant nightlife. The Espy now has five levels open to the public consisting of bay views, iconic Australian art, contemporary food and drinks, and the best of Melbourne’s live music scene. With something for everyone, the Espy continues to be a gem of St. Kilda. To see which live music gigs are currently running at the Espy, head over to their website.
29 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda
Another longtime favourite, the Prince Bandroom has seen more than seven decades of live music within its wonderfully acoustic walls. With artists like Ben Harper, Coldplay, Lenny Kravitz, Jack Johnson and so many more playing on their stage, the Prince Bandroom definitely doesn’t fly under the radar when it comes to live music venues in St. Kilda. Near the intersection of Fitzroy Street and the popular Acland Street, the venue is easy to get to on the 96 or 112 tram, or you can easily find a place to park in the 300 space carpark around the back. Locals love to come here to get a little rowdy and have a great dance, and especially to enjoy the superb sound quality. Tickets for gigs can be purchased online or at the bar and you can check out upcoming gigs over here to plan your next visit!
Memo Music Hall
88 Acland Street, St. Kilda
The Memo Hall, short for the St. Kilda Memorial Hall, also began its path in the early 1920’s and holds a long history of colourful stories, much like the music venues mentioned above. The Memo Hall had a very unique purpose though, serving as relief accommodation for troops and servicemen returning from the First World War. To boost morale, the building was constructed with a 1,000 seat hall plus dancing room for an extra 500 people. Over the next several decades, the Memo transitioned from a Ballroom to a popular PIcture theatre, and eventually a recording studio after it was converted with the help of Bill Armstrong, esteemed sound engineer. By the 90’s, the hall was being leased as a film studio for cinema and TV ads while continuing to serve as a recording space for popular musicians. Today, the Memo is a professionally run live music venue that attracts live music goers of all ages to enjoy the rich history and contemporary sounds side by side. Check out who’s playing next and get your tickets here.
Photo: Memo Music Hall
Finding nighttime activities in St. Kilda is never an issue, it’s deciding which one to go to that is the challenge! Head out to one of these famous live music venues on your next night out and we know you’ll be swept away in all that the Melbourne music scene has to offer.