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Melbourne Nightlife Insider's Guide to the City

Courtney_Barnett.jpgCourtney and her bandmates

Each week in our column, "No Sleep Til...," we'll be talking to cool kids around the globe, asking them to fill us in about the bands, DJs, music venues and night spots they and their friends are obsessing over. Next time you visit their home city, leave your Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides behind and go party like a local instead.


Courtney Barnett



Where do you live?

[Outside of Melbourne] in Thornbury. Next to Northcote. It's about half an hour outta the city, so it's sort of suburban; there's lots of trees and parks and birds.

What do you do there?

I'm a musician. [Ed note: Catch Courtney's live show this Friday or Saturday in NYC]

What does your music sound like?

Treble heavy guitar, straight drums, solid and repetitive bass. No fancy shit.  

Outside of music, do you you have a job or go to school?

I've been a bartender since I was 18, but I'm taking a break while I'm doing all this touring. I do a bit of artwork on the side and that pays some bills.

What Australian bands or DJs are you obsessed with now?

I love Spinning Rooms, Atolls, Eagle and the Worm, Teeth & Tongue, Harmony, Dan Kelly, You Am I, Something for Kate, Big Scary, Darren HanlonAugie March, the Drones, Died Pretty, the Saints, Go-Betweens, and Divinyls.

Where are the cool places to see live music in Melbourne?

The Tote, Northcote Social Club, Some Velvet Morning, Old Bar. They're all slightly different sizes and vibes, but the general vibe is a good one. Good people, no shitty attitudes. Tote is generally slightly more punk, garage, metal. I saw Hunx and His Punx there last year -- loved it. NSC is very broad, but normally always good. Some Velvet Morning is tiny tiny, holds about 30 people, but the gigs are always really special and intimate. Old Bar is just awesome, it could have its own TV show.

What are the cool Melbourne neighborhoods for young people to live and hang out in?

Hm, I don't know if I'm an authority on what's cool or not. I've lived in Thornbury/Northcote for about 4 years now and I love it. I hardly leave here if I can help it. I lived in Collingwood for a bit and that was cool. Everybody says Fitzroy is the "cool" place to live. They've got some great records stores and book shops.

Describe your perfect night out in Melbourne.

See three great bands with a great sound guy and no dickheads yammering behind me saying how much they love live music and then having loud beer-skolling competitions in my ear with their back to the stage.

What's your favorite bar or nightclub in Melbourne?

I don't really go anywhere except those places I said before. I like to justify standing around drinking by watching a band. But if I had to say one it'd be Yellow Bird on Chapel Street.

What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in Melbourne?

About 95 percent of them. I don't like pokie/gaming clubs. I don't like dance clubs. I do like old-man pubs where you can sit around and do the crossword in the newspaper with the bartender.

Check out some of Courtney's music recs:

The Spinning Rooms -- "It Can't Not"

Eagle and the Worm -- "Angela's Lonely Heart"

Teeth & Tongue -- "Good Man"

Harmony -- "Water Runs Cold"

You Am I -- "Trigger Finger"

Big Scary -- "Twin Rivers"

Check out Courtney's nightlife listings:

The Tote, 67-71 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066

Northcote Social Club, 301 High St., Northcote VIC 3070

Some Velvet Morning, 123 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill VIC 3068

Old Bar, 74-76 Johnston St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Yellow Bird, 122 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

More from our 'No Sleep Til...' series including nightlife and music in Paris, Mumbai, Seoul, Bogotá and more!

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