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Wine, Theater, and Music - Nightlife and Entertainment in Bendigo

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Fine wine, the performing arts, and live music are the backbone of nightlife in the Bendigo region. The biggest names in Australian contemporary music have cut their teeth in the country’s vibrant “pub rock” scene, and the tradition continues. On the quieter side, cozying up with a glass of local shiraz in a smart wine bar is many people’s idea of a perfect evening.

Bendigo's performing arts scene

 

Bendigo has a vibrant theatre and concert calendar, with many international artists making a stopover here after their dates in Melbourne. The Capital is Bendigo’s stellar performing arts venue. Ulumbarra Theatre, situated in an old prison, hosts music, theatre, and community events. Another historic-building-turned-performance-space is The Engine Room. Converted from the old fire station, it puts on intimate, often solo shows.

 

The Capital

 

Bendigo’s most prestigious performing arts venue was once a Masonic Hall. Its grandiose Corinthian columns and regal interior have been retained, providing a fitting backdrop for the top talent that takes the stage here.

 

50 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550Tel: +61 3 5434 6100

 

The Capital website

 

Ulumbarra Theatre

 

Converted from a mid-1800s jail, Ulumbarra Theatre is a superb auditorium with a commitment to staging left-leaning productions. Music, theatre, and poetry performances by indigenous Australians are also on the program.

 

Gaol Rd., Bendigo VIC 3550. Tel: + 61 3 5434 6100

 

Ulumbarra Theatre website

Live music in the Bendigo region

 

On most Friday and Saturday nights you will find a rock band blaring out from a pub’s back room - generally advertised via a chalkboard on the pavement. In rural Victoria, the scene is slightly more demure, with country, cabaret, and jazz thrown into the mix. Castlemaine’s Theatre Royale puts on live performances by some of Melbourne’s best artists, while Bendigo’s Golden Vine Hotel delivers loud, live rock.

 

Theatre Royale

 

Dating from 1854, this much-loved Castlemaine institution is steeped in faded glory. Although primarily a cinema, it hosts a regular program of live music and cabaret. Performances can be enjoyed at small tables along with fine wine and good food.

 

30 Hargraves St., Castlemaine VIC 3450. Tel: +61 3 5472 1196

 

Theatre Royale website

 

Golden Vine Hotel

 

A mainstay of Bendigo’s live rock scene, the Golden Vine will take you to the heart of Saturday night with young bands giving you their best and loudest.

 

135 King St., Bendigo VIC 3550. Tel: +61 3 5443 6063

 

Golden Vine Hotel website

 

Fine wine and warm nights in Bendigo

 

If sweaty pubs and moshing aren’t your thing, there are more sophisticated offerings in central Bendigo for night owls. The nearby Heathcote wine region has spawned a local wine culture, so even the most mundane bars are sure to have a good shiraz on their list. The Dispensary Enoteca specializes in imaginative cocktails, while oenophiles should take a table at Wine Bank on View.

 

The Dispensary Enoteca

 

Situated down a little lane, The Dispensary has a warm setting with colourful lampshades and bottle-lined walls. These set the tone for imaginative cocktails and an eclectic spirits list - try the Purple Pear Martini, made with Crème de Violette.

 

9 Chancery Lane, Bendigo VIC 3550. Tel: +61 3 5444 5885

 

The Dispensary Enoteca website

 

Wine Bank on View

 

This restaurant and wine bar is set in an old bank, and its “gentleman’s club” ambience still reigns. With a cellar packed with local and international selections, it's a must for wine lovers, and attracts many out-of-towners.

 

45 View St., Bendigo VIC 3550. Tel: +61 3 5444 4655

 

Wine Bank on View website