If you're a nostalgic rock lover pining for the days of high-pitched, raspy vocals and dirty riffs, look no further than Back in the Day, the Friday night home of hard rock and heavy metal in Melbourne. Located above the Portland Hotel (separate side entrance) on the corner of Little Collins St and Russell St, Back in the Day specialises in both performers and patrons who live and die by the electric fret-board.
Back in the Day is a club with no pretensions. You don't find men with hair to their shoulders who have a score of Guns 'n' Roses tattoos and possess lizard leather pants unless they really, really mean it. They're in it for the music first and foremost, and they let that desire set the scene, rather than the other way around.
Head banging and hair flinging: rock out with your crop out at Back in the Day.
As a Back in the Day promoter told WeekendNotes, this is an important distinction, and is the thing that sets the club apart from others that have opened since Back in the Day took to the Melbourne stage in 2003, such as the more recently launched House of Rock on Saturday nights at the Palace Theatre. That said, Back in the Day isn't snobbish either. You can rock up and rock out in your regular party clothes if you so wish, though no doubt you'll have more fun if you dress to fit the vibe.
There are three main sections of the venue to cater to various groups. The central room holds the bar with pool tables at the back and seating through the middle. Off to one side is a small lounge area for those who want to chat and listen to the music without being in the thick of things, and to the other side is the stage and dance floor arena. There is some seating around the dance floor, though once the crowd is roused, most everyone is on their feet.
Back in the Day opens from 10pm until late on Friday nights. Happy hour usually runs from opening until midnight, with $5 specials and rock-themed shots available at the bar. For more information on what's on, check out the website or the Facebook page.