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Melbourne To Receive New Underground Venue, Wax Music Lounge

8 December 2023 | 9:39 am | Mary Varvaris

"I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and truly feel that we can bring something new to the CBD and Melbourne music and nightlife landscape."

Wax Music Lounge

Wax Music Lounge (Source: Supplied)

This Sunday (10 December), a new underground live music venue is opening in Melbourne’s CBD.

Wax Music Lounge, founded by the masterminds behind the iconic Melbourne record store Wax Museum Records, is a new underground music venue and bar set to transform the Wax brand and mark a new beginning for its owners and supporters.

Guy Roseby and Tim Bartold (Wax Museum Records), alongside Mark Lipshut (Spin Records), admit that opening the new space hasn’t come without resistance.

Wax Museum Records existed in the Campbell Arcade below Flinders Street Station for almost two decades, but when the state government’s Metro Tunnel works began in 2020, Wax Museum Records was left without a home. That was until an offer from a basement spot below 250 Flinders Street arrived, and since then, Roseby and Bartold have been steadily renovating the space.

Wax Music Lounge is an intimate 175-capacity venue, with Melbourne-based designers James Hebbs and Grace Darling providing striking lighting features. The venue also boasts a beverage list packed with Australian wines, craft beers and signature cocktails by acclaimed bartender Pita Dixon.

From 5pm this Sunday, Wax Music Lounge will have its debut but won’t actually be playing music for the first time. The last few months have seen the space spotlight improvisational jazz acts and internationals such as Japanese producer Grooveman Spot. Just last week, the venue installed a newly upgraded Pitt & Giblin sound system.

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Roseby notes that the venue was “built by music people, for music people. It’s a new place for underground scenes to thrive, a place for community.”

The Wax Music Lounge will trade from 5 pm to 1 am, Monday to Sunday.

“Having a venue that was in some way connected to our store, Wax Museum Records, was a dream my business partner Tim and I have had for some time,” Roseby explained. “After hosting many events in an old location in the iconic Campbell Arcade, there were always a lot of things to work around with permits and operational limitations. We always said to each other, wouldn’t it be awesome to do this all in one space where we don’t need to deal with this stuff each time we’d like to do something and have the proper infrastructure in place to do this well.”

Roseby continued, “When we finally had to move from the Campbell Arcade due to the Metro Tunnel works, we went looking around for a new space. After 16 years in the one spot, we canvassed many ideas and properties and actually found a new space, which we started the lease procession. Just as we were about to sign the lease, COVID hit, and our accountants and lawyers advised that it looked like it had some legs and that whatever we do, don’t sign. It was a frustrating experience as we were both very excited by the new venture, but alas, like everyone, that took a backseat over the next couple of years as COVID took over.

“After a period of negotiations, we reached an agreement with the new space – and it’s been a steady working process to design, fit out and operate it since. Now that we’ve reached the finish point, I’m overly proud of what we’ve achieved and truly feel that we can bring something new to the CBD and general Melbourne music and nightlife landscape.”