Before our club-crush Red Bennies hit Chapel Street, the main drag of Prahran was the exclusive domain of scenester nightclubs and hoon cars. Now, however, you can get a killer burlesque show, some delicious grub and damn-fine cocktail without an ounce of wankery, smack bang in the middle of Chaps. Time Out ordered an exotic drink with events and marketing manager Alex Schoffel to find out what makes this place hum.
What do you love about Red Bennies?
The performers. They are the heart and soul of this venue. Anyone who comes here can see that it's one of the few places you can have fun with your appearance. Its one of the last, or maybe the first places that people really make the effort to look amazing in their own individual way. Sometimes even the audience become the performers.
Tell us more about the creators of this bubble of brilliance, Chris Mitchell and Garrath Holt?
Chris has been responsible for a wide range of entertainment from international touring and artist management, to producing major music festivals and writing and directing award performance art and film. Garrath is a former bartender of the year, and one of the most in-demand venue operators in Australia. Plus, there are a whole host of fringe artists who bring their own thing to the venue.
Who comes here?
Apart from the tourist bustle of Chapel Street and the local market, Red Bennies has a stalwart following of fringe arts buffs who travel from all across Melbourne for its touring cabaret shows and weekly events: Thursday bands, Friday burlesque, Saturday circus and vaudeville, and Sunday queer arts and homoerotica.
What’s your poison?
Any of the premium tequilas… They're my vice.
ROLL UP, ROLL UP! Our pick of Bennies bashes in April and May:
Southside Show: 1940s party
Did someone say zoot suit? Prepare to flip your wig at this bangin’ burlesque, cabaret and circus party. Who doesn’t love a dress-up night? Sat Apr 28, 10pm. $20-$25.
Bloodsucking burlesque with both tongue and fangs planted firmly in cheek. Draculaesque is bound to be one of those nights you will never forget, nor adequately describe. Sat May 4, 7pm. $20-$25.
Miss Mae’s Burlesque Box
Never seen burlesque before? Start your education here with comedy, classic, dark, modern and classic burlesque. Sat May 5 & 19, 6pm. $20-$25.