Nightlife in Canberra refers to the of bars, clubs and nightime entertainment in Canberra, Australia. The main area for the nightlife in Canberra is Civic, although there are other nightclubs in locations such as Manuka. Other bars and clubs are in different locations around the city.


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Mooseheads is one of the oldest continuously running nightclubs in Civic, beginning in 1990. It received a national AHA Award for excellence in 2005. [1]

Academy, formerly the Center cinema, is a popular nightclub near Garema Place, which was opened on January 23 2004. [2] It was given an award for being the 3rd best nightclub in Australia in September 2004. [3], the first time a Canberra nightclub had ever been nominated in the competition.

Icbm, Insomnia and North are located in the Sydney building on Northbourne Avenue near where the Private Bin was previously. [4]

Other nightclubs:

  • Babylon
  • Bobby McGee's
  • Club Mombasa [5]
  • Cube (Canberra's only gay and lesbian nightclub, which opened in 2002 [6] )
  • Deja vu
  • En Trance (opened in August 2003)
  • En vogue
  • Hippo lounge
  • Holy Grail. Located in both Civic and Kingston, the main bar in Civic is one of the largest in Canberra. The bar received awards for best bar presentation and service in 1999. [7]
  • In blue
  • Liquid Lounge
  • Meridian
  • Minque (which received awards in 2003 for the best late night entertainment venue and in 2004 for the best bar presentation and service. ) in Manuka.[8] It opened in September 2000, celebrating its 5th birthday on 23-25 September 2005. [9]
  • Pandoras
  • Phoenix
  • Toast (above Electric Shadows cinema)
  • Trinity

Pubs and barsEdit

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Canberra has a large number of Irish pubs, which include PJ O'Reilly's, King O'Malleys and O'Neills. PJ O'Reilly's says it opened in "19xx" [10], although the plaque outside the front says '1998' which is presumably the year it opened. King O'Malley's was named after King O'Malley, a tongue in cheek reference to his campaign to ban alcohol in Canberra between 1911 and 1927. [11] Both the University of Canberra and Australian National University have bars which have bar nights and live music.

Other pubs:

  • Wig and Pen (opened in 1994) which produces its own beer.[12]

Casino Edit

Casino Canberra is Canberra's only casino. It opened in 1994. It is the only location in the ACT licenced to operate gaming tables, however, does not operate poker machines which are featured in Canberra' many clubs, including some venues in Civic.


Canberra clubs which have their premises in Civic are the South Pacific rugby club and the Canberra club (Canberra's first licenced club).

The premises of Canberra's major clubs are not in Civic. These include the Southern Cross club, Dickson and Woden tradesmans union club, Canberra Labor club (opened 1979), Irish club (begun in 1975, moved locations in 1982 and 1986), and the Ainslie Football Club (running for more than 70 years).

Former Civic venues Edit

Jerry Hewson was the owner of the "Chapter One" nightclub in the 1960s as mentioned here. Some nightclubs which once existed in Canberra but no longer include Private Bin, and Heaven (seen once as the main gay nightclub in Canberra [13] ). The Gypsy Bar was once a popular live entertainment venue in City Walk.


Tilley's in the nearby suburb of Lyneham was a popular live music venue, but ceased to put on live music gigs from October 2005.[14]

ACT Police recorded 76 cases of drink spiking reported to them between March 2004 and February 2005. [15]

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