Canberra Clubbing Guide

Of all the labels that Canberra, Australia’s national capital city, gets tagged with – with Parliament house it’s the country’s political centre, it has a sorta-seedy underbelly with Fishwick and its sex shops, not to mention the punch-line stigma of fireworks and endless roundabouts – possessing a rich and varied dance music culture is not one of them.

Yet despite Canberra’s half-way status that sees the city often skipped over on east coast and national tours, there is plenty of events and intimate clubbing experiences to keep your night-going needs satisfied if you know where to look. Take a cue from us and check out these essential club stops in Canberra.


It would be fair to say that Academy, located in the depths of Canberra’s civic town centre on the former site of the historic Center Cinema, is the closest Canberra will ever get to a genuine ‘super-club’. The multi-level club both looks and sounds fantastic once you’re inside, with an open, multi-tiered setup that’s conducive to all-night dance-athons with visiting Australian and international DJs with past guests including Justice, Drop The Lime, Boys Noize and TV Rock. Add to that the upstairs Candy Bar for some smaller scale club adventures and the private POD VIP area and you’ve got a little bit of everything. Just be wary of the bone-chilling lines that form outside the club on a Saturday night.

Where: 15 Bunda St Canberra City

AIS Arena

It’s not often that you’ll find yourself with the candy bracelets and fluffly boots on and heading out to the AIS Arena for a night of clubbing fun, but it’s worth noting that every now and then something that’s too big for anywhere else in Canberra will take over the hallowed sports quarter. Recently we’ve seen Australian electro stars The Presets graduate to the arena-sized show while the annual Warehouse festival sets up shop there with headliners from previous outings including Deadmau5, Skrillex, Armand Van Helden and The Bloody Beetroots.

Where: AIS Sports Quarter, Leverrier Crescent Bruce


What do you uni students like more than almost anything besides cheap wine and meaningless sex? Live music! That’s why the ANU Bar at the Australian National University has been alive and kicking as one of the go-to grounds for music in Canberra. Over its 30+ years in business the ANU Bar has played host to historical gigs from Nirvana, Beastie Boys and Henry Rollins not to mention electronic fare with The Presets, Digitalism and old hardstyle events like Hard Nation. No doubt it’ll continue on strong.

Where: Level 1 Building 20 Union Court, Acton

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