Time Out Melbourne

No secret handshakes are required at this offbeat lodge-turned-club

The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes sounds a lot like the lodge Fred Flintstone belonged to, but it is in fact a real live fraternal organisation. Its Melbourne headquarters have stood in one of the quieter CBD laneways for over 50 years, and would probably have continued to do so unnoticed by most were it not for the newcomers who have taken over the bar.

The Buffalo Club is an electronic and live music venue that makes the most of its incongruous setting; most of the décor is original, including the lodge banners that line the walls and the portrait of the Queen, which overlooks the dance floor. A pair of antlers crowns the bar, which is cluttered with a pawn shop’s-worth of amusing junk. It’s a gloriously, authentically daggy venue – wandering along the hallways and past the locked offices on the ground floor brought back memories of gymnastics classes, blue light discos and 21sts.

The Buffalo Club is technically a social club; proprietor Hugo Atkins joined the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (Grand Australian Banner) in order to operate out of their building, which qualified the venue for a RSL-style license. This means that anyone who wants to drink at the Buffalo Club has to either become a member ($20 a year, which entitles you to a discount at the bar) or sign the register upon entry. Thursday and Friday are dedicated to progressive dance music; Saturday is for live bands. Although the doors open at 5pm, there’s not a lot of point arriving that early; things don’t kick off until a fair bit later, and the bar isn’t currently very conducive to just dropping past for a drink. In fact, the staff seemed a bit put out when we tried it. As a music venue though, The Buffalo Club has a strange, off-centre charm that makes it very attractive.

Updated on 2 Sep 2011.

By Una Cruickshank   |  

The Buffalo Club details

22 Sutherland St, Melbourne 3000

Nearby Stations: Melbourne Central; Flagstaff

Price per person including drinks Up to $50

Open Thu-Fri 5pm-5am; Sat 7pm-12 midnight

The Buffalo Club website

The Buffalo Club map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

Raw Trader

14m - Get all that the deliciousness you're after in a morning tea or afternoon...

Burger Theory

46m - These days no one bats an eyelid if a burger shop pulls out a stack piled...

Duke of Kent Hotel

46m - Smack-bang in the heart of the CBD, the Duke of Kent Hotel is host to a bar...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Hugs and Kisses

"People of strong moral character and a pleasant temperament" are welcome to...

Phillips Shirts

64m - With 60 years of experience in making the finest quality shirts and...

Beam Contemporary

117m - A gallery specialising in contemporary art, located down a hidden laneway in...

More venues nearby


Got an itch for short films? Flickerfest is here to scratch it

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more