Best Listening Bars in Melbourne
Listening bars, or jazz kissatens, started in Japan in the 1950s. The country was struggling post-war, and few people could afford luxuries like record-players and vinyl. Kissatens became a place for audiophiles to listen to the latest American music – sometimes in reverential silence.
Though Japan’s economy has recovered, its listening bars remain treasured destinations for music purists. The same way a cinema’s big screen, plush seats and surround sound outdo most home settings, listening bars feature high-end speakers and amps (often vintage), talented DJs (almost always playing vinyl) and a room designed specifically for good acoustics.
Waxflower kicked off Melbourne’s listening bar scene in 2021 and laid down a slightly different blueprint that others have followed – one where conversation and wine bar-style food and drink are just as important as the tunes. “Ah,” you say, “isn’t that just a regular bar?” Kind of – the lines are definitely blurrier in Melbourne, where lots of bars have record-players and decent speakers.
Our take is that you know a listening bar when you step into one. And all these fit the bill. Happy listening.