Melbourne, Australia
Sarah, 42
Live Music Project Manager
see her Melbourne city guide

ask Sarah about

vegetarian vegan coffee shop brewery music venues thrift stores hiking

What are the Melbourne spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

For me, it's all of the cool bars and live music venues! There are so many of them tucked away in lots of different neighbourhoods. I've always been obsessed with music and Melbourne has just been named the live music capital of the world! Woo! I think that visitors can get a good feel for the city by exploring the different areas like Brunswick St in Fitzroy, St Kilda Beach, Sydney Road in Brunswick and Smith Street in Collingwood to name a few! These places all have amazing live music venues and bars, coolkid stores and great coffee-shops and restaurants. I think that exploring these neighbourhoods showcases who Melbourne is.

Do’s and don’ts in Melbourne: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

Make sure you get yourself a Myki, this a ticket that you can recharge and use on buses, trams and trains. Beware for there are inspection officers who do board trams and you don't want the hefty fine associated with not having a ticket. If you're just staying in the city then the City Circle tram is free, plus there is a free tram zone, just make sure you stay within it.

What do you do and why do you do it?

I work at Music Victoria, the state peak body for contemporary music which represents musicians, music lovers, venues, music professionals and music businesses. We're a non-profit and my job is to project manage a coaching program for live music venue owners, band bookers, venue managers and independent promoters, it's called Live Music Professionals! I have a long history of working in music here in Melbourne and I LOVE my work.

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

Geeez, it really depends on so many factors, but it could be anywhere from $50-$200. Given the price of beers alone, if i have 5 or 6 (generally craft beers) I'm looking at at least $60-$80 just on beer. If I have a cheap dinner, at say Flora Indian or dumplings at North East China Family House, then you can add an extra $20 for dinner with a beer). I'm pretty lucky and get into quite a few gigs for free but when I'm paying for tickets they can be anywhere from $30-$90 depending on the act. Oh, and don't forget Uber or PT... there's another $10 at least.

Which Melbourne shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

I'm an Op Shopper so I'm always on the hunt for a bargain. You'll have to hit me up in person for the best locations as I don't want to ruin my treasure hunting!!! At my favourite op shop I once scored a $3000+ Louis Vuitton handbag for $50 and a brand new Prada handbag for $80 at the same time. Yay!!!

Your all-time favorite musicians:

Beck, Fugazi, Queens of the Stone Age, Madball, Clowns, Terror, The Black Keys, Soundgarden, Turnover, Basement, Morrissey, Rage Against the Machine, Jawbreaker, Janes Addiction, Parkway Drive, As Friends Rust.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

I'd probably go with Collingwood/Fitzroy as they're both side-by-side and super close to the city. There are lots of hip cafes, bars and shops to keep you entertained by day and night.

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

To be honest there's nowhere I won't go, especially if there is good veggie food and craft beer on offer.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in Melbourne?

LORD OF THE FRIES!!!!!! I'm Veggie so this late night vegan fastfood place is easily my top pick.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Luckily Melbourne doesn't get too cold, even the middle of winter isn't nearly as bad as the weather most Europeans and North American's are used to. However, my go-to indoor adventure is 100% the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) There is so much free stuff to see in here that it will keep you occupied for ages. Then you can uber to a brewery to drink a fight of beer before heading to a music venue to catch a gig!

Your go-to brunch spots:

Friends of Mine in Richmond, Tivoli Road Bakery, Smith & Daughters.

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Roberta Govoni