We know; everyone’s favorite topic is how there are no live music venues in Wollongong. Yes, when straight up compared to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane there are far less operating. But if you think about the size of the populations (Sydney approx. 4.5 million, Melbourne approx. 4 million, Brisbane approx. 2 million, Illawarra approx. 400 thousand), or the size of the cities (Sydney: 12,145 km²; Melbourne: 8,806 km²; Brisbane: 5,950 km²; Wollongong: 684 km²), then we’re doing pretty well. Here are 5 music venues operating you may not have known about, and at least one that will DEFINITELY surprise you…
(1) – The Ryan’s Hotel, Thirroul
The Ryan’s Hotel has been around for sometime. They used to dabble in local music, but as is the case with so many venues had to cease this due to financial concerns. However, just recently the venue has recommenced live and local music in it’s upstairs cocktail bar. The 120 capacity room is intimately ornate, with hard wood floors and intricate ceilings. Every Thursday night you’ll find a combination of local musicians and comedians, as well as the occasional touring act.
(2) – Howlin’ Wolf Whisky Bar, Wollongong
A relatively new player in the ever growing small bar scene, Howlin’ Wolf Whisky Bar is fast becoming a favorite watering hole for those in the know. With an impressive array of whiskies and it’s noir-ish atmosphere (only thing missing is the haze of cigarette smoke), the vibe of this place is well worth the effort. Regular DJs, blues and soul music is what you’ll find here, the perfect accompaniment to a Ardbeg Uigeadail (go there, try it, thank us later scotch lovers!)
(3) – The Den, Wollongong
Believe it or not, The City Diggers is right back into live music, with a 300 capacity room dubbed The Den. Full disclosure, we do have some involvement in this venue, but the room speaks for itself. The sound is on par with that of Unibar, UniHall or Waves, so you’ll hear your favorite local bands as you never have before. Our favorite part of this room is the massive “T-Shaped” stage. Check out the photos from The Den Launch Party Feat. Battleships here.
(4) – Anita’s Theatre, Thirroul
Bernard Fanning. Paul Kelly. Urthboy. The Beautiful Girls. Unknown Mortal Orchestra. These are just some of the names that have recently made stop offs at Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul. With a seating capacity of 1000 (and a standing capacity much higher still), do not be surprised if you see more international and touring acts pass through this theatre’s doors. It is a beautiful old building, which has been lovingly and painstakingly repaired and rennovated to be a throw back to the original King’s Theatre in Thirroul. A must see venue.
(5) – AMF Strike Zone, Albion Park
Yep. A bowling alley. Not even kidding. Rock and bowl. We don’t know too much about this yet (it’s very new to the game), but we have seen a few all ages, free entry gigs here. Plus, bowling and rocking out sounds kind of awesome in our book. Told you one would surprise you.
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