If you love live music, there is no shortage of wonderful venues in Wollongong and the Illawarra to catch the freshest up-and-comers, beloved local talents and big-name international acts. Whether you like it mellow or high intensity, Wollongong has you covered. Read on for the ultimate guide to the best spots to grab a drink and (rediscover?) that groove is in the heart…
Centro CBD in the centre of Wollongong, is an Events and Functions Centre with a well-known Italian Restaurant that is an intimate live music and performance venue that also includes dining packages. The venue specialises in ‘Up Close and Personal Concerts’, where you can relax and dine at the comfort of your own table with a bottle of wine and friends and enjoy listening to your favorite artists in a great acoustic environment. Their Sorrento Room is designed to hold only 200 guests so you are never too far from the stage. Check out their upcoming live music events here.
Fine dining, events, live music, function centre : Centro CBD
My pick for your next Sunday sesh. The house band gets very funky from 4-6. Still a bit of a local secret, Seeker Brewing is conveniently located in the industrial part of Unanderra on the south side of the Gong. Their team are all sweethearts and you can really feel the love for the local culture and good vibes in everything they do. They have a selection of 12 taps, a pool table and a basketball hoop. Their program of regular live music gigs definitely understands grass-roots cool in the local music scene – lots of world music, fusion funk and experimental. Long summer arvos, woodfired pizzas and an incredible range of craft beers = good times. Don’t just take my word for it, check them out HERE
Live Music Sundays at Woonona Bulli RSL!
Join WBRSL for lunch and live music, every Sunday from November! Woonona Bulli RSL Club is located in the centre of the northern suburbs of the Illawarra and sits between the escarpment and the ocean. Whether you’re after fun family dining, a great place for drinks and catch up with friends, their new Brasserie (open 7 days for lunch and dinner) menu has been wining locals over in the Illawarra for many years. Click here for what’s coming up on their Live Music Sundays!
Five Barrel Brewing is a family-owned and operated brewery in the Illawarra that established themselves in 2015. Along with expertly brewed beer, their taproom features their Five Barrel Food Truck, with a huge range of crazy-yummy burgers with gluten-free and vegetarian options. There are always new events happening at the brewery with long-running Jazz Sundays, live music festivals, new beer launch parties, community nights, tap takeovers and more. The vibes are relaxed, its a real catch-up spot and the demographic skews towards younger folk. These guys get very busy, so I recommend booking ahead if you have a group. Keep up to date with their new events on their Facebook page.
Live Music Guide to Wollongong & Illawarra – Wests Illawarra
Wests Illawarra’s brand-new live entertainment schedule is here! From Jazz Night to Karaoke, there’s something fun for everyone!
Local musicians perform live every Friday evening from 6:30pm-9:30pm in The Lounge.
SATURDAY LIVE ENTERTAINMENT – Jazz, DJ, Piano Bar & Karaoke! 7:30pm-10:30pm.
Sunday Sessions, live music and great food at Wolf & Woman Distillery
Sunday Sessions at Wolf and Woman Distillery, Bellambi
Based in the Northern suburbs of Wollongong, Wolf & Woman Distillery is a multi-award winning, family owned and run warehouse micro distillery crafting single malt whisky and artisan spirits.
Our monthly Sunday sessions have kicked off! We are excited to announce our family-friendly Sunday Sessions with food and live music once a month from 1pm – 5pm. Lock in the following dates above and see you then.
– Featuring a special cocktail for the day
– Free icy poles for kids
Stay up to date with all their events and live music updates via their FB page here.
Right down on the water’s edge, you can’t beat the view from Steamers. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm, this award-winning Wollongong restaurant features some of Wollongong’s best artists playing a chilled acoustic dinner set – at a volume level you can still hold a conversation over (!) The crowd is a real mix of ages and demographics and the menu is full of variety, with standout seafood. Plus you can always end the evening with walk on the beach, perfecto !
CLICK HERE for their upcoming live music events.
The historic Bally. We’ve got a lot of love for this local gem. The views are incredible, the interior is only recently renovated and there’s always something happening down at the Public Bar. The crowd are mostly locals, and always a real mix of ages. The bistro serves up a wonderful variety of pub favourites, and they’ve got cheap mid-week lunch deals. Live music line-ups play every Friday and Saturday, perfect to set the mood for a memorable weekend. The Bally are really watching up and coming talent and are great supporters of the local scene. Keep an eye out here to see who’ll be performing next – CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT’S COMING UP
A great mix of all your favourite music in one great place, The Fraternity Club, Fairy Meadow
One of the only venues in the Illawarra continuing to host free live music every weekend, The Fraternity Club has a mix of live music between Friday and Saturday night. All of their Saturday night music is free from 8pm in their Sunken Lounge. Check their website for Friday night music for a mix of your favourite cover bands.
Large enough to have party vibe and attract well known artists, small enough to stay intimate. The Music Lounge is Wollongong’s premium live music venue! Renowned enough to attract world class acts and with its own bar (essential of course!) This ‘underground’ spot is tucked away inside the Wollongong Town Hall. Always atmospheric, with attention to detail – the mood lighting and acoustics level up at The Music Lounge. Demographic is generally determined by the gig.
Check out the upcoming gigs, live entertainment and bands and book in advance – CLICK HERE
The gorgeous Anita’s Theatre is the cultural hub of vibrant Thirroul Village. This enormous performing-arts venue has all the old-school charm you could wish for, and proximity to plenty of local restaurants and night spots to make for a great night out. The venue started out life as a Cinema in the 1920s, and has since gone through many changes! Now a versatile theatre, Anita’s hosts big name touring musicians, comedy acts and film screenings. They attract a wide variety of both artists and audiences, check out their upcoming line-up here
Long time supporters of local live music, the Wombarra Bowlo is a great spot to get your fix of tunes in an open air setting. Their line up is always something fresh! From DJ parties to mini-festivals, home-grown favourites to Big Names – the Bowlo brings in big crowds. Traditionally very popular with locals, the demographic here shifts depending on who is playing. On the whole there is a good mix of people, and a very welcoming vibe. Drinks are cheap, food is delicious. Their events are all ticketed events so jump on the website for more information and tickets – https://www.bowlo.com.au/whats-on
Probably best known for showcasing fabulous tribute bands, like the Fleetwood Mac show, The Beaches is always a great place for live music – it’s a vibrant spot and you can yourself have a whole night out here. Guaranteed to get you in your nostalgic feels with their impressive selection of professional cover bands from all over the state. The crowd skews a little older here, and they love their music. People go off at Beaches! Some of the events have a cover charge and others are free so always best to check the website for the full line up and tickets – https://beacheshotel.com.au/entertainment
A fun night on the dancefloor at The Shellharbour Club
Dust off your dancing shoes at The Shellharbour Club, pull up a seat in the Lounge and enjoy some electric live music, alongside some delicious refreshments from one of our many bars. Click here for their upcoming and regular live music acts.
If laid back acoustic tunes are more your style, accompanied by an excellent selection of wine and tapas then The Pickled Poet is for you.
They bring local live music every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm and a sensational Sunday Session from 5pm. All acts are in the courtyard, but don’t be discouraged on a cooler night – they have heaters! This welcoming and intimate environment is perfect for listening to original sets by renowned local acts. Sundays can usually be counted on the have a bit of a jazzy vibe if that’s your jam. The crowd here is very hip, mixed ages. Walk-ins welcome or reserve a table online. https://www.pickledpoet.com
The Illawarra Hotel is somewhat of an institution in the ‘Gong and it’s now better than ever. The urban independent pub is a rare beast, and with its strong community focus, The Illawarra is a champion of the live music scene.
Every Friday and Saturday they feature not just one but two acts. Solo’s and Duo’s take the first 3 hour shift from 6pm on Fridays and 5pm on Saturdays. Then things get a little more rowdy with a band kicking on for the next 3 hours. Sometimes on Saturday nights they might have a DJ instead of the second band, but the website has the full line up. And on Saturday nights if you just can’t leave there is always a DJ on til late. They also have your Sunday Session sorted with talented acoustic performers from 3 – 6 pm. There is no better cure for Monday-itis than a cruisy music filled Sunday arvo.
If you haven’t been to The Servo – get there! This is a fabulous collective initiative put together by passionate Port Kembla community members. It is a very inclusive and diverse venue, with a big outdoor area where kids and fur kids are very welcome. There is an ever changing roster of food trucks so you will never get sick of the food! These guys have a very varied program of live music as well as other entertainment, from hard thrash metal to bluegrass. All under the watchful eye of the huge beautifully lit Servo mushroom. Yep, not a typo. It’s a thing. And it’s magnificent!
Right on the Highway at Figtree you can’t miss the Figtree Hotel. It’s a big space with a welcoming courtyard, and plenty of ambiance to soak up. Not in the least of which is the Gigtree at the Figtree Hotel. Every Friday and Saturday night from 8:30pm you can enjoy a meal from the Bistro (The Brisket Burger is pretty special!), while you sit back and enjoy the tunes. A regular at The Figtree is the amazing Emily Markham. This very talented woman has the voice of an angel. She has recorded in Nashville and we are very lucky to have her living local so we can enjoy her all to ourselves! – Check out their upcoming events here!
This is a glorious old pub, that has been beautifully restored. There is a fantastic beer garden that is surrounded by huge white birch trees. Perfect in summer, and with an outdoor fireplace, not too bad in winter as well! In the warmer months, the Sunday show is perfectly placed on a small stage in the beer garden. In the cooler seasons you can find the tunes in the welcoming front bar. Being big supporters of the live music scene you can catch local entertainers at Mount Kembla Village Hotel on Friday nights from 7 – 10pm and Sunday arvo’s from 2 – 5. While you are there grab a pizza from the Wood Fired Oven – they are seriously delicious!
Well, gigs nearly every night! Get your pool game on upstairs and enjoy some tasty (and cheap!) snackies at La La La’s while downstairs hosts diverse artists and bands. Self-described as ‘part dive bar / part live music venue’, this joint is always inclusive and LGBTQIA+ friendly. There is a dedicated dance floor for those who want to dance and get close. The music is LOUD so when the bands are on, conversation is not possible! Crowds here can skew towards the younger side. This spot is the heart and soul of the buzzing music scene in the Gong.
Click for the upcoming Gig Guide and to buy your tickets (it is generally OK to pay on the door if they don’t sell out)
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