Bars and Nightclubs
Fitzroy, Melbourne

The Night Cat Nightclub

141 Johnston St, Fitzroy, VIC
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A much loved icon of Fitzroy has been entertaining crowds for over 15 years. From Hip Hop latin reggae to funk, salsa, swing or kitsch, there is always an interesting, fun live music scene entertaining those who love to DANCE! In the basement of the historic 1905 National Trust building, The Night Cat City will bring live music featuring some of Melbourne’s funkiest dance bands to Flinders Lane. The venue has been stylishly revived with a new look and a state of the art sound system in conjunction with a 24hr bar licence on Friday and Saturday nights, ensuring a pleasurable live music experience that The Night Cat Fitzroy has enjoyed for over 15 years.

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The Night Cat Nightclub Review

Review By Verity Trott

Put on ya dancin’ shoes and make sure to bring a hat and some jazz hands if you make a trip to The Night Cat. Passion and frivolity flourish underneath the low swaying lanterns; swinging in synchronicity with the bodies below. The occasional dress swishes alluringly between the crowd of jeans and casual wear. Voluptuous dancers swing, spin and swirl, as they wind their way around the dance floor.

However if you are new to the dancing game, and are yet to solidify your swinging steps, there is a class that begins early in the evening around 7:30 that will teach you the basics of the groove. Giggles and friendly laughter cloud any feelings of embarrassment as groups of late 20s and early 30s, friends and partners, try amusingly to grasp the foundation steps. One may observe from the sidelines if direct participation is not desired; however the jazzy rhythm of the night inevitably infiltrates one’s soul, as a continual foot tapping is more than common.

Free entry after nine means the venue stays continually full of characters, elegantly showing off the Salsa and other such sensual moves. A touch of Latin jazz flows through the night as the floor is populated with partners spicing up their life with some new tricks. A spacious open room constructs the venue, providing plenty of room for everyone to participate, practice and experiment their newfound dance talent. A stage for a live Cuban band is set up conveniently in the center, allowing for the rotation of dancers and onlookers to appreciate from all dimensions.

The bar is small and the drinks are expensive, however alcohol is not the primary concern, as one remains distracted and entangled in the full concentration of learning new swing moves. Later when you’re huffing and puffing you can always sink into one of the surrounding old couches and observe the vibrant energy of the twirling dancers encompass the floor.

Located in Fitzroy, interesting and amusing characters cram the venue and transport us back to a time before clubs replaced more traditional dances, and when every lass and lad were expected to know some graceful steps. The Night Cat on a swingin’ Sunday is definitely the place to head when you’re looking for a night of exotic new cultural experiences, with friends and partners.

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A 2nd Review Of The Night Cat Nightclub

Review By Sophie Lane

Upon first visiting Melbourne’s iconic jazz precinct The Night Cat, I preceded with an hour long self discussion about whether or not adorning a black beret to the venue would “A” hail me queen of Ladysmith Black Mambazo or “B” get me kicked out for making fun of serious jazz culture. So without my black beret in hand, was I smooth enough to bongo drum down with the cats of Fitzroy? I was ready for the verdict.

I purposely made a late departure from home towards The Night Cat. I don’t want to seem too eager to the “cultured, older crowd.” My interior dialogue continued (don’t worry, the following three Coronas will switch the ponderous part of my brain off within the next paragraph). As I spotted a line spanning hundreds of metres down Johnston Street, I realised where my first mistake of the night had incurred. With two clicks and a slide I made my way to the back of the line, soul sisters can’t be letting long lines get all up in their junk, after all.

Unlike many other clubs, the line moved quickly and orderly, by the time I edged my way into the front, the bouncers definitely deserved a ten minute break to come and join the booming beats that echoed inside.

Being greeted with instant warmth is always the first thing us skin-bearing ladies notice, but the warmth of this particular joint was on a completely different level. No, I’m not just referring to the lovely, all too familiar sweat of others; The Night Club radiates warmth in an array of other ways. The red and orange interior, dimly lit by lamp shades (which I could have sworn had been stolen from my Grandma Betty’s drawing room) met my freezing face. Framed pictures and arm chairs crowded the open space, while dim lanterns hung from the ceiling. Through the haze of smoke white smiles and clicking fingernails were all I could see.

As the dance floor lies towards the entrance of the club, my first task of the night was to get myself through the crowd to the long bar located towards the very back of the club. With a few hip grinds and booty shakes I was able to make my way through the crowd. By this stage I didn’t even want a drink; I would have been more than happy being part of the dehydrated fun which was now behind me.

Upon ordering, I noticed that it was not only the bouncers who were keeping a fast production line, but also the bar staff. I managed to get my Corona with no more than a 5 minute initial wait. I looked at the men to my left and my right and couldn’t help praising God for the bonuses of being a woman at a bar. The drink prices were average for a night club, and as per usual after just two drinks I found myself sending out a search party for the closest ATM.

The music at The Night Cat was a great distraction from blowing my entire savings, as when I joined the groove once more, the bar was all but forgotten about. Live music rung throughout the venue for the vast majority of the night, with the performers only lifting their hands from their bongo drums briefly. The music varied from African beats which made me feel like a cast member of The Lion King, to 90’s hip hop and other classics.

No matter what your taste in music is, the variety of the drums will keep those white smiles going until your feet give way.

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A 3rd Look Review of The Night Cat Nightclub

By Dianne Climent

As its name suggests, Night Cat is a place were nocturnal animals come out to play.

Sunday nights is ‘Latin Nights’ and from 9:30pm onwards ‘The Rumberos’ heat up the place with their fiery Latin beats.

Upon entering, to much surprise the venue is quite spacey, but once your legs start moving on the dance floor it gets quite hot in there (in al senses).

The great thing about the Night Cat is that everyone is there to purely enjoy the music and dance, dance, dance!

If a guy approaches you he asks you for a dance, twirls you about for a while and then lets you get back to your girlfriends, your drink, your seat, or whatever it is you were doing beforehand.They don’t linger, they don’t persist, and they don’t prey.

No strict dress code is enforced, which enables people to dress as they pretty much please.

You have your ‘pro dancers’ in short little dresses that sashay with their bodies as they practice their 1,2,3 dance step moves.Then there’s the ‘hippies’ sporting their dreadlocks, the ‘Latinos’ in their dickies and well you get the picture,

Dressy, casual, heels, flats…everyone and every type of attire is welcome (within reason of course).

The lack of dress code attracts a range of people, in terms of age and ethnicity. Making Night Cat anything far from your typical nightclub. Even though Sundays are Latin nights, this does not mean only Latin people are welcome.

Its appearance as such is inviting. Dim lighting, roomy dance floor and a decent sized bar. However, its upholstery could do with a little refurbishing or updating.There’s not much colour co-ordination. There’s a mix of wooden tables, run down blue couches, torn red- leather couches and metal chairs. It all seems to resemble an op-shop more than anything.

Flimsy couches and decor aside, the Night Cat is a definite must go to place.

The music encapsulates the Latin flavour perfectly, the crowd is super friendly and best of all entry is free (which we all know is a rarity these days).

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