Looking for a fabulous place to perform, or eager to see the best in Australian cabaret that Melbourne has to offer? Come hear the music play…
Cabaret in Australia had gained world-wide renown for its witty, edgy, innovative approach to the genre, as the internationally acclaimed Adelaide Cabaret Festival annually proves. Melbourne cabaret in particular has become the forefront of eclectic and enduring entertainment, so whether you’re looking to explore what this cabaret excitement is all about, or you’re an artist investigating the best cabaret performance venues in town, here are some of the most vibrant, scintillating and diverse places in the city of Melbourne to see great cabaret shows.
The Butterfly Club
Australia’s premiere cabaret venue, and the only curated performance space around. Tucked away off a main street just out of the city, this converted terrace house is all about intimacy, intrigue, and exceptional cabaret. From the best emerging local talent and the big names of the Melbourne theatre and music scenes, to special seasons or secret late-night shows by international icons – The Butterfly Club showcases up to six different cabaret events a week with up to three shows a night, is the cutest, kitchiest bar in South Melbourne, and makes sensational cabaret-themed cocktail specials…!
The Burlesque Bar
Always busy, boisterous and beautifully buxom, the Burlesque Bar serves up all that’s sultry about the cabaret genre, from the hilarious, adorable and sensual, to the devious, dark and dangerous. Standing room only for the packed performances, but the venue boasts great lounges out the back, wonderful atmosphere, and some creative and absorbing performances by the city’s best burlesque babes and boys.
Chapel Off Chapel
This versatile and wonderfully situated space is crammed all year round with excellent theatre, music and festival performances, but as the regular home of the Short+Sweet Cabaret festival, Chapel off Chapel also attracts some wonderful cabaret artists for short seasons. The simple space of the Loft specifically supports the talents of new developing performance, while the delightful Chapel theatre can be set up with tables and tea-lights for a real cabaret atmosphere.
The Order of Melbourne
A glorious, cavernous bar high up in the heart of inner-city Melbourne, The Order has moved from normal pub performance fare into more creative and unusual cabaret shows. Comedians, burlesque artists, and even trapeze acts have startled and delighted patrons in recent times, and this venue is fast becoming the place for cabaret in this part of town.
Beautifully decked out like a vintage jazz club showroom, Red Bennies has become a popular choice for the less spectacular and more musical cabaret performances. Lots of singer-songwriters or music theatre stars are airing new material or old favourites here in the funky setting, and this is a great location for artists and audience alike.
Best known for its impressive jazz lineup, this delightful city venue lurking quietly below stairs in an unobtrusive alleyway has also played host to an occasional small cabaret show, and the low cosy space and thrilling atmosphere make Paris Cat a delightful place to see where the jazz and cabaret worlds can collide spatially and musically.