The iconic Melbourne nightclubs we dearly miss

Get the latest from Beat


The iconic Melbourne nightclubs we dearly miss

Melbourne nightclubs
Hugs & Kisses was one of the most unique Melbourne nightclubs.
Words by Coco Veldkamp

‘Tis Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Over the years, many beloved Melbourne nightclubs have come and gone, leaving behind memories of unforgettable (and better-forgotten) nights.

From iconic spaces that shaped Melbourne’s 24-hour city identity to intimate clubs that offered havens for self-expression, Melbourne’s lost nightclubs hold a special place in the hearts of many.

In this tribute, we revisit some of the most missed Melbourne nightclubs, celebrating the legacy they left behind and the nights that will forever remain a blurry, cherished memory. Don’t let any more of this city’s favourites bite the dust, ensure you visit every one of the best nightclubs in Melbourne here.

“Old” Xe54

Though Xe54 has reopened in a new location on Bourke Street, ex-patrons of the original venue in South Melbourne, which closed its doors in 2020, still hold a candle for it.

Situated directly across from a McDonald’s, it was a pilgrimage for the freshly 18-year-olds (and those with creative IDs) to split an extortionate Uber fare to what felt like the middle of nowhere. After surviving the long line in sub-zero temperatures, you’d enter the thick air inside what was essentially an underground warehouse, losing phone service and often friends in the process.

The dance floor was huge, and – thanks to the younger crowd – so was the hook-up culture. The lucky (or possibly too tipsy) new couples would retreat to the “red room” – an intimate second dance floor with sultry lighting and plush leather lounges. Reuniting with your crew after a night of dancing and minimal oxygen was euphoric, and climbing those stairs to gulp down fresh air was like heaven on Earth. Inevitably, the night would end with a visit to the McDonald’s across the road, which was an extension of the club itself post – 2 am. RIP old Xe54.


After almost three decades as a Melbourne nightlife staple, Lounge bid adieu in 2019. With its iconic balcony overlooking Swanston Street and 24-hour license, Lounge was the beating heart of Melbourne’s all-out parties since 1989.

The venue itself has a wild history. It’s been a strip club, a reggae venue, and even a cabaret club. Globally adored artists like Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley and Kylie Minogue have walked through the doors, to entertain or to be entertained. In 2010, it was reborn as the iconic dance venue that kept Melbournians up all night.

The closure came when the venue’s tenancy agreement expired, with no extension in sight. True to its legacy, Lounge went out with a bang. In their final month, they hosted 29 parties, one for each year of its operation, culminating in a 53-hour Lucid event. Legends like Darcy Justice, Moon Dream, S.W.I.M, Toni Yotzi, Dawn Again, and Fred P ensured Lounge’s departure was a total blowout.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Colour (@colour___club)

Colour, though a shooting star, was quintessentially Melbourne. From 2019 to 2022, it reigned supreme with its 24-hour license, vintage leather booths, and trippy, spacey lights. Colour was all about getting lost in the music – the crowd would swarm around the DJ booth, grooving to an eclectic mix that spanned jazz, techno, and trance.

Repeated COVID-19 lockdowns dealt a fatal blow to Colour, leading to its closure in 2022. Yet, even in its final days, the club maintained its reputation for meticulously curated line-ups. The farewell bash was legendary, featuring acts like Mammoth, DJ Shio, and Delivery, who ensured Colour went out with a bang. Though its doors have closed, Colour’s short hiatus has lived on in our hearts.


The Frantzeskos brothers launched their new club Metro in 1987. With the Palace Theatre to call home, Metro was grand, lavish and attracted all sorts of people – kind of like Gatsby’s house. It was a “super club” – the biggest in the southern hemisphere. Its opening was a historical event – making the nightly news. Even Kath and Kim had a rager there in the episode Party! For over 20 years, Metro brought thousands of people in every weekend – until the brothers went on to pursue separate projects, selling the property for over $13 million, adding Metro to the list of Melbourne’s lost nightclubs.

Honky Tonks

Honky Tonks was synonymous with rave and house music, drawing in partygoers throughout the 2000s keen to paint the town red. Navigating the notoriously difficult doormen, whether by batting eyelids or bribing with food, was part of the Honky Tonks experience. The club’s signature white grand piano DJ booth, sunken lounges, and beloved cocktail hour exuded a sexy, luxurious vibe.

Yet, the crowd it attracted were true ravers, especially those who frequented the iconic “Dunny Disco” in the women’s bathroom. Here, girls would pile into cubicles together, dance, reapply makeup, and return to the main dance floor where DJs like Super Pitcher, Carl Craig, and Derrick May kept the beats going. The club closed when its lease expired, with Michael Delany playing Stairway to Heaven as a fitting end.


From the barge catching on fire in January to an unprecedented amount of noise complaints, Docklands’ ATET just couldn’t seem to catch a break. A concept five years in the making, the floating, open-air club has been forced to close a mere eight months after its opening.

Built on a repurposed barge, ATET was anchored on North Wharf beneath the Bolte Bridge towers. On the venue’s opening, DJ and architect Jake Hughes said “ATET is more than just a bar on water. We are channelling the open-air day party experience of festivals and day clubs around Europe and providing it on a regular basis in the heart of Melbourne.”

Hugs & Kisses

Hugs & Kisses brought a little slice of sultry Berlin nightlife to our city. From 2013 to 2019, it served as an inclusive space for non-heterosexuality, experimentation, and self-exploration. Amidst neon lights, patrons waded through a sea of sweaty, shirtless bodies, with a strict no-photo policy ensuring privacy. The members-only club welcomed almost anyone – simply requiring you be “of strong moral character and a pleasant temperament”, creating a unique haven in Melbourne’s nightlife history.

While the doors of Melbourne’s lost nightclubs may have closed, their spirits live on in the memories of those who danced, celebrated, and found solace within their walls. Here’s to the clubs we’ve loved and lost, and to the future of Melbourne’s ever-evolving nocturnal scene.

Read about Victoria’s lost festivals here.