For artists about to embark on their first national tour, it can be difficult to know which away venues are the most appropriate for your band to play in. Whether you’re an emerging artist touring for the first time, or a regular on the national touring scene and looking for somewhere new to play, your one stop shop for understanding some of the most popular venues in capital cities around Australia is right here, hand picked by locals and endorsed by real people.
The Tivoli – Located in Fortitude Valley, The Tivoli is one of the older venues and has been treating punters to parties for almost a century. The venue houses 1500 standing and is characterised by its antique 18th Century Sculptures and chilled vibes. Some notable acts that have played here are Client Liaison, Vance Joy, and Peking Duk.
Woolly Mammoth – Located in Fortitude Valley and one of the new kids on the block, the Woolly Mammoth Main Stage sits on top of an Ale House. Some notable acts that have played are Safia, Boo Seeka, Violent Soho and Pez.
The Foundry – A three-level venue located in Fortitude Valley with a capacity of 300 standing. Upstairs, the industry works in the Foundry Studios, with leases held by local music businesses, a rehearsal space, recording studio, and an accommodation room for touring artists. On the ground floor, Foundry Records services the coffee-drinkers and vinyl-spinners of the Valley with its casual atmosphere and impressive sound system. Some notable acts that have played here are The Kite String Tangle, Seth Sentry, and Ali Barter.
Black Bear Lodge – Black Bear Lodge is a bar and venue tucked away above street level in Fortitude Valley’s Brunswick Street Mall with a 250 capacity. With the feel of a candlelit speakeasy, this small sized venue is ideal for some foot-stomping great tunes. Some notable acts that have played here are WAAX and Tired Lion.
The Zoo – Located in Fortitude Valley, this classic venue with a 500 capacity recently underwent refurbishment and plans to continue its 25-year long legacy within the Brisbane music scene. Some notable acts that have played here are Violent Soho, The Pixies, Silverchair, Spiderbait and Powderfinger.
The Triffid – Located in Newstead, and home to a killer outdoor beer garden and one of Brisbane’s remaining WW2-era hangar, the triffid is one of the newer venues in Brisbane boasting 800+ capacity. Some notable acts that have played here are San Cisco, The Jungle Giants, Dune Rats, and Camp Cope.
The Old Museum – One of the most versatile venues Brisbane has to offer with a long rich history, The Old Museum is a large-scale venue offering multiple rooms to cater to the size of the show. The Concert Hall has a standing capacity of 550, and multipurpose studios have a capacity of 200. Some notable acts that have played here are Kim Churchill, Sheppard, Dame Nellie Melba, and 5 Seconds of Summer.
The Bearded Lady – Located in West End, an anything-goes kinda joint that is a cosy recycled wood cabin with honky tonk piano up front and graffiti-splattered rumpus room with performance space out back.
The Empire Hotel – Located in Fortitude Valley and built in late 1888, the Empire Hotel has managed to maintain some of its original charm, lively atmosphere and genuine hospitality.
The Junk Bar – Located in Ashgrove, Brisbane’s first original hole in the wall suburban bar is wedged between a fish and chip shop and a Chinese takeaway joint. It’s a quirky, small sized venue ideal for emerging/underground artists with 50 capacity. Excellent retro couches and cocktails.
The Milk Factory – Located in South Brisbane, global pub food in a trendy joint with an old-timey wooden bar and nautical decor, ideal for emerging artists.
Greaser Bar– Located in Fortitude Valley in a back alley basement with walls adorned with vintage photography, and serving cheeseburgers to rival California’s greatest, Greaser Bar’s bluesy rock‘n’roll vibe provides a sin-camouflaging backdrop for good times ahead. Perfect for emerging artists.
Ric’s Bar – Located in Fortitude Valley with a 150 capacity, it would be hard to find someone in Brisbane who hasn’t spent a night at indie mecca Ric’s Bar with live bands playing every night of the week. They love to feature local emerging bands.
Crowbar Brisbane – Located in Fortitude Valley with a 1500 capacity. The Crowbar showcases the best local, national and international acts. It is known as the home of punk, hardcore and metal in Brisbane.
Lefty’s Music Hall – Located in Petrie Terrace 280 Capacity. Lefty’s is the perfect place to see knee slapping country music from all over the world. The venue is a cross between a wonderful honky-tonk bar and a decadent saloon.
The Outpost Bar – located within the four walls of The Fortitude Music Hall, The Outpost is Brisbane’s newest 300 capacity venue. The Outpost is an homage to the late dive bar of the same name which was an integral part of Brisbane’s underground music scene. The venue will feature a diverse program of artists.
The Fortitude Music Hall – Located in the middle of Fortitude Valley, The Fortitude Music Hall is the largest ballroom/theatre styled venue in Australia, with a 3,000 person standing capacity and a 1,100 seated capacity. They were inspired by some of the world’s most loved live music venues – from classic art deco theatres to larger clubs, while still paying homage to the iconic venues of Brisbane’s past. The Fortitude Music Halls’ prime location in the heart of Brisbane’s entertainment precinct and state of the art production make the venue a truly world class performance space.
Smith’s Alternative – After being forced to shut down in 2015 due to financial reasons, the old bookstore was purchased by local music entertainment businessman Nigel McRae who turned it into the quirky, CBD cafe and music venue we see today.
La Di Da – Also serving as a restaurant and cocktail bar, La Di Da boasts a suave underground basement and courtyard featuring DJ’s, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists for some smoooooth beats.
The Phoenix – A pub in the heart of Canberra with a capacity of 178 people, The Phoenix is a perfect venue for emerging artists with live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Transit Bar – Three times AHA’s best Live Entertainment Venue and an AHA National finalist for 2013, Transit plays host to talent regarded locally, nationally, and internationally. With a delicious gourmet pizza menu and selection of craft beers and a capacity of 220 people. Some notable artists that have played here are Seth Sentry, Boo Seeka and Skeggs.
The Basement – Featuring a bar area and two stages hosting various acts every week, The Basement is set to rock your next gig. Main stage capacity 278 and rear stage capacity 140. Some notable acts that have played here are Twelve Foot Ninja and The Screaming Jets.
The Front Gallery and Cafe – The Front is a rather curious establishment with coffee and delicious food every weekday and live music Thursday – Sunday. Arty vibes, great for poetry and dog watching.
Bar Rochford – A wine and cocktail bar hidden away in the iconic Melbourne building with ah-mazing vinyl soul sessions.
Enmore Theatre – Located in Newtown, the Enmore Theatre is one of two surviving art deco theatres in Sydney and the only one in its full original condition with an old-world feel. 1600 Capacity and has played host to artists Tove Lo, HAIM, Queens of the Stone Age, and Milky Chance.
Metro Theatre – Located in the centre of Sydney’s CBD with a capacity of 1100, since the early ’90s, the Metro has showcased a splashing of all-ages gigs while presenting a myriad of musical genres across every night of the week. Grungy vibes, the venue has two separate performance spaces inside the building, the Forum (often simply called the Metro) and the Transit Lounge. Some notable acts that have played here are BANKS, Tash Sultana and Coldplay and John Mayer.
Oxford Art Factory – Located in Darlinghurst, OAF bridges the gap between hangout and venue with style. The two room multi-functional venue host socialites and punters, divided by a drawing room and two bars. It’s well decorated and interesting, and the lighting’s great. With room capacity at 500, The bill brings in obscure hip-hop acts and mainstream pop alike such as The Griswolds and Vallis Alps.
The Forum – Located in Moore Park with a 1200 capacity, The Forum can be utilised as either a live music venue or nightclub. The multi-levelled room gives you a few options to enjoy the show – on the dancefloor with the masses or up on the second level, looking down on the stage. The venue has hosted many local and international groups and DJs.
Annandale Hotel – Located in – you guessed it – Annandale, this venue has a capacity of 296. A dark and sweaty pub back-room that oozes rock from its pores and one of the last-remaining rooms which plays rock’n’roll loud and late – just the way it should be.
Leadbelly (Formally known as The Vanguard) – Located in Newtown with a capacity of 160. Wanting to preserve and enhance the musical legacy of the former venue, Leadbelly delivers a stellar array of live music every week to go along with an extensive bar and kitchen offering. Channelling New Orleans in the heart of Sydney with a 1920’s vibe, Leadbelly is a bohemian haven and a place to experience something a little bit different.
Hordern Pavilion – Located in Moore Park with a 5500 capacity, The Hordern does the job when it comes to bigger audiences. Ample seating wraps around the huge standing area – it’s just damn spacious. There are plenty of amenities, the sound suits big gigs and it’s easy to get to. Catch a drink beforehand at the Fox and Lion.
The Basement – Located in Circular Quay with 550 person capacity, The Basement is the oldest licenced music venue in Sydney and a true international icon. History serves it as a Jazz venue, but The Basement has cast its net wider to accommodate a wider variety of acts. The venue prides itself on remaining a hub for contemporary music makers and lovers, offering its guests premium entertainment on a weekly basis.
The Red Rattler – Located in Marrickville with a 300 person capacity, it’s an inspiring space that feels more like a home than a warehouse. Plush red velvet curtains, mismatched second-hand couches and an intimate, friendly atmosphere make a night spent at the Rattler completely unique.
Hibernian House – Located in Surry Hills, this cosy and intimate art-deco vibe house has hosted some highly successful artists at the beginning of their careers. Artists that usually frequent Hibernian House are chilled acoustic and mellow electronica bands that sound echoes and resonates through the walls of the building.
The Newsagency – Located in Marrickville and bursting at the seams with colour and character, The Newsagency is Sydney’s smallest live music venue – perfect for beginner musicians or artists trialling a new vibe. BYO.
Beach Road Hotel – Located in Bondi Beach, this wide open space welcomes punters in for a chilled out session of live music in a room that can host up to 1500 people depending on what you need.
Brighton Up Bar – Located in Darlinghurst with a 120 capacity space sitting on top of a bar, this busy little space is always hosting some of the best national touring artists and supporting the local music scene. A popular down-to-earth pub, offering indie rock shows on a cosy corner stage with rich red curtains.
The Reverence Hotel – Located in Footscray, the pub and live music venue is home to some of the city’s most explosive gigs, but also a sprawling beer garden and Mexican-inspired menu for when you just want to kick back in the sun and down a brew or two.
The Forum – Located in Central Melbourne, the venue has been divided into two separate venues. Downstairs, Forum I is famous for its unique architecture, large stage, mesmerising proscenium and signature cabaret style booths. Upstairs, Forum II is a smaller venue with tiered seating, small stage, surround sound and cinema size screen. Some notable acts that have played here are CHVRCHES, The Smith Street Band, Thundamentals and Big Scary.
Corner Hotel – 750+ capacity space located in Richmond, a landmark locale for local and international music acts, with a rooftop bar and a pub grub menu. Some notable acts that have played here are Ladyhawke, Emma Louise and Half Moon Run.
The Alchemist – Located in Fitzroy, Cocktails and share plates in a lavish space with vintage lounges and black-and-white prints. Perfect for Jazz bands and acoustic musicians.
Bakehouse Studios – Located in Richmond, the walls of Bakehouse drip with the history of Australian music. This is where the music is created, musicians meet, form bands, write songs, rehearse, record, shoot film clips and photos. Artists like Spiderbait, Tame Impala, The Avalanches, Gotye, Kimbra, Dan Sultan and so many more have passed through their doors.
Prince Bandroom – Located in St Kilda and capacity ranges anywhere between 400-950. It’s a long-running, buzzing bar with outdoor seats, for free live music downstairs and big names upstairs, offering some of St Kilda’s most colourful & diverse entertainment. Tove Lo, Tigertown, Lil Yachty have played here.
Palais Theatre – Located in St Kilda with a 2896 capacity and built in 1927 as an art deco picture palace, the Palais Theatre has a proud history of hosting local and international concerts, live music, comedy, ballet, orchestra, kid’s shows and community events.
Ding Dong Lounge – Located in the heart of Chinatown, it includes a cocktail bar, live music venue, and weekend disco in a 300+ capacity space. Perfect for emerging local and touring bands.
The Toff In Town – A rich multi-layered venue, The Toff boasts a premier boutique performance space as well as a dedicated club and bar area offering dining until late. Hosting local and international acts from the well known to the obscure in a comfortable, stylish and approachable setting.
The Grace Darling Hotel – Located in Collingwood and Melbourne’s second oldest pub with two band rooms with a capacity of 180+ standing. the Grace is a thoroughly modern pub, hosting contemporary music and art almost every night of the week.
The Worker’s Club – Located in Fitzroy with a capacity of 260 people also sporting a stellar beer garden, restaurant, and band room. The Band Room is self-contained with its own full bar and is equipped with an international standard of professional production, featuring a 24 channel Behringer digital desk, intelligent digital lighting, DJ equipment with both CDJs and turntables, a projector and 4-metre screen.
Howler – Located in Brunswick, Howler is a multifunctional, multifaceted arts hub and bar – a concept space hidden within a Brunswick warehouse that encapsulates all that is good about design, music, theatre, cinema, art and a unique night out.
The Rosemount – Located in North Perth, the venue has a powerful PA system, a highly visible stage and an engaging team of staff. Additionally, The Rosemount has a diverse menu of meals to choose from, an outdoor courtyard – The Rosemount ‘Backyard’ – and a line up of vibe-fuelling DJs – not to mention a bevy of offers each week, such as drink specials and student deals. The Rosemount also supports local, national and international artists.
Jack Rabbit Slims – Located in Northbridge with a 450 capacity space and run by Pilerats, the venue supports local artists as well as national touring bands and includes a bespoke bar, lounge, and late night diner. Some notable acts that have played here are Ali Barter, Northeast Party House, Alex Lahey and Boo Seeka.
Mojos Bar – Located in North Fremantle with a 250 capacity space, Mojos loves international touring acts with a penchant for intimacy to unknown locals with something else in their eye. If you like your music original and you like it good then get your mojo here.
The Odd Fellow Bar – A bar located in Fremantle that supports DJ’s, bands and acoustic artists (depending on what time of the night it is). Expect friendly bar folk who don’t care whether you want to knock back a pint of beer, sip a well-made cocktail, or savour hard-to-get whisky. Perfect for emerging artists.
Badlands Bar – Formally known as Devilles Pad and one of Perth’s newest Live Music venue and late night bar and is made up of 3 spaces, a massive festival-vibe beer garden, main gig room with 400 capacity (perfect for DJ’s), and The Hen House Live Room to catch a glimpse of Perth’s up and coming bands. Definite party vibes going on here.
The Hen House – If you’re pit stopping in Perth, stop by The Hen House to use one of their 17 amazing spaces to rehearse, record and perform. The walls of the space ar covered in artwork from local artists as well as installing basketball hoops to help bands blow off some steam during rehearsal times.
Jimmy’s Den – Located in Northbridge and created from the remnants of a 1970’s gambling den that was left dormant for two decades, Jimmy’s Den is one of Perth’s newest live music venues with a 200 standing capacity. Available for 18+ and all ages events.
Metro City – Located in Northbridge and sporting a whopping 2000+ capacity. Metro City is in a league of its own with over 300,000+ people visiting the concert venue every year and showcasing some of the Worlds finest live acts, DJs and performers which cater for all genres and ages from 18+. Some notable acts that have played here are Wolfmother and The Wombats.
Metropolis Fremantle – Located in Fremantle and known to support world famous DJ’s, Bands and local artists alike, the two-level nightclub can host 700-1200 people. DJ Tigerlily and Architects have played here.
Flyrite – Young and hip social nightclub located in Northbridge with a 300 person capacity. Flyrite burst onto the scene with a 2am licence and general taste for inventive partying. Its underground ethos attracts as much talent as it does quality people-watching material, (perfect for DJs).
The Bird – Located in Northbridge with an intimate capacity of 150 and an 1800s rustic-meets-urban charm, The Bird shows off a majestic blend of live music and electronica every day of the week. A barometer of cool, its forward-thinking music policy has been matched with seriously cheap and delicious nom noms on select nights since 2010, as well as perhaps the best espresso martinis in town.
Ellington Jazz Club – The Ellington Jazz club features the finest touring acts and the cream of Australian Jazz talent in an intimate environment. World class Jazz, warm hospitality- and early sets so you can drop in after work. Operating over two levels with 240+ capacity.
Amplifier Capitol – Two level night club located in central Perth. Amplifier has a specialist penchant for rock and heavy genres and fits around 500. Capitol’s 900-plus space hosts many big tours and is home to Perth’s longest-running club night, Death Disco. Those who like it hard and loud naturally gravitate to these venues, and their popularity almost singlehandedly sustains the nearby kebab industry.
Astor Theatre – Located in Mount Lawley, the Astor is undeniably steeped in history with an art deco flair. With the main room accommodating shows for over 1000 punters, and the recent addition of a quarter-sized room for smaller touring acts and local shows, The Astor is now as versatile as it is beautiful.
Villa – Located in central Perth with 700 person capacity and sporting live music from national and international artists and DJs in a chic, cavernous nightclub with a dance floor, 2 bars and a late license.
El Grotto Bar – Located on the beach in Scarborough with a 200 person capacity, El Grotto is a staple bar in Perth providing a stage for local, national and international artists to perform since December of 2015, hosting live music six nights a week. They cater to a wide range of genres including Jazz, chill acoustics and electronic, as well as heavier rock bands and DJ’s.
The Gov – Located in Hindmarsh with a capacity of 700. The warm décor, polished wooden surfaces and fireplaces throughout make it a comfortable and welcoming place to be, especially in winter. Some notable acts that have played here are Spiderbait, Dan Sultan, Client Liaison and Laura Marling.
Grace Emily Hotel – Capacity of 151 – 250 boasts an intimate and eclectic vibe.
Wheatsheaf Hotel – Located in Thebarton with a capacity of 80 – 150. You will find a pub that keeps Beer real, wine independent, whisky odd, music live and art public. Think Front Bar pool table, darts, quality microbrews, distinctive whiskies, good coffee, eclectic original live music, monthly art exhibitions, plenty of couches, a real beer garden, a semi-enclosed dedicated band room and open fires in winter.
Pepper Tree Cafe – Located at Aldinga in the southern suburbs with a family friendly garden setting, perfect for acoustic emerging artists.
Rocket Bar & Rooftop – An outdoor bar situated above the live music institution, this unique space caters to a maximum of 100 people perfect for a night out or a private celebration.
The Fat Controller – One of Adelaide’s newest venues with a 500 capacity space. Throwing real warehouse party vibes providing a space where bands, DJs and producers can play to large crowds is imperative to Fat Controller. Supporting the local scene is also a focus, each headline act will have up to three local bands supporting them, along with a commitment to having local headline shows for larger Adelaide acts. Some notable acts that have played here are The Delta Riggs, Aston Shuffle, and The Jungle Giants to name but a few.
Happy Yess – Located in Darwin City, Happy Yess is a DIY music venue that exists to support local original Darwin music. It is a not-for-profit arts organisation that only hosts original bands and runs on love from the dedicated crew of members, artists and volunteers.
Wisdom Bar & Cafe – Located in Darwin City, it’s all happening at Wisdom Bar and Cafe – Great atmosphere, Mouth-watering cuisine, Quenching ales, Tasty cocktails and live music 7 nights a week.
Browns Mart Theatre – Located in Darwin City with a capacity ranging from 69 – 136 depending on the configuration. he room has a polished hardwood timber floor and pitched roof with a raked ceiling with exposed timber trussing giving the room a grand impression of space.
The Deck Bar – Located in Darwin City, Offering over 80+ Beer varieties and cocktails galore, The Deck Bar is perfectly situated at the ‘top of town’ away from the hustle and bustle of Mitchell Street, a perfect venue to visit throughout the day open 7 days a week.
The Precinct – Located in Darwin City, it’s a local pub that offers a sense of familiarity for our patrons and will feature craft beer, quality wines and modern pub food, with two themed bars and an outdoor area, focal point of Darwin’s community social life and with the variety of spaces on offer.
The Brisbane Hotel – By all honest accounts the Brisbane Hotel is not a particularly glamorous place, but if you look beyond the sticky floor and dated décor you’ll find one of the state’s best live music venues. You’ll find bands full of passionate musicians that play music for themselves not the bar’s predetermined mood. The Brisbane does a lot for Hobart music and is one of the only places that frequently offers all ages shows.
The Grand Poobah – The Grand Poobah is a venue dedicated to performance rather than a bar that hosts bands. At the Poobah you might stumble upon night markets, exhibitions, stand-up comedy or even cabaret, but the venue is best known as a comfy, relaxed space to see great local and touring bands on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday nights.
The Republic Bar & Cafe – Located in North Hobart, One of the most popular pubs in Tasmania. Café style, warm and inviting atmosphere, great fun for lunch or a night out. Popular with a large, loyal local following. Award winning food, large wine selection and live music every day of the week. Also with 2 function rooms and a beer garden with BBQ facilities.
Club 54 – Located in Launceston, Club 54 is a live music and large events venue that has hosted & continues to host some of the finest touring acts from Australia & overseas and consistently draws a great young crowd. On a night out at 54, you might see your favourite touring Triple J band, but don’t be surprised if it’s some of the state’s best punk or metal bands either.
Tapas Lounge Bar – An exciting venue in the heart of Devonport, featuring Bar, Live music, Pool tables, Large lounge area, Art gallery, and a great relaxed atmosphere. If a beer or wine is what you are after then relax in one of the comfy lounges or go out on the balcony and overlook the Mall to watch the world go by.
Fresh On Charles – Retro vegetarian & vegan cafe in Launceston and has become one of the most loved spaces over the years, perfect for acoustic artists. They love to support local musicians and artists.
Part 2 for regional towns and cities coming soon!