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:: Spotlight :: Honkytonks named as one of the world's best clubs

By: Annabel Ross

Last month, Melbourne’s Honkytonks was named one of the world’s top five clubs by New York fashion bible V magazine. Annabel Ross met up with club owner Michael Delany to find out how he’s created one of the world’s best places to party.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved in running clubs?

We opened Honkytonks six years ago. Before that I owned Misty on Hosier Lane. I studied sculpture and media arts at uni and then got into interior design. I’ve always loved music and used to play in some s**t bands…I then started designing interiors for clubs and eventually moved into management positions before becoming an owner. The idea for Honkytonks gained impetus when I realised that there wasn’t really a place in Melbourne that had atmosphere, sold kickass drinks, and was also a good place to dance. Honkytonks provides all these things and is also not too big or intimate. The warehouse aesthetic is really different to most other places out there, we haven’t really changed much, we’ve just added the outdoor decking and of course the décor and whatnot.

What do you think defines Honkytonks as one of the world’s best clubs?

Well, I think the drinks are a very important part of what we do here. We pride ourselves on our cocktails, which are awesome. I think the venue has an ideal balance of sleaziness and sexiness as well. It’s a great place for girls to come out without getting hassled; in fact, it’s more of a place for girls to pick up than guys! Our staff are cool and interesting without being pretentious and don’t wear uniforms. They’ve all got their own thing going on. DJs also love the club because of its size and intimacy. We actually get DJs asking if they can play here instead of the other way around.

What’s your favourite drink on the menu?

At the moment it’s the Bali 9, which is a rum based cocktail with Sangsom, which is like a Thai cordial. It comes served with a kaffir lime leaf taped to the glass.

Tell us about some famous guests you’ve had at Honkytonks…

Well, Mick Jagger came on the Stones’ last tour…he tore up the dance floor and had the ladies hanging off him all night. We’ve had Liam Gallagher, Heath Ledger, the late Aaliyah, and Pharrell Williams to name a few. Carl Craig (Detroit techno music producer and pioneer of the new drum and bass movement), Michael Mayer (German deep house maestro and FabricLondon resident) and Derrick May (Detroit techno stalwart and head of Detroit’s annual electronic music festival) are some of the biggest and best DJs we’ve had at the club.

What’s your favourite destination for clubbing overseas?

I hardly get the chance to go overseas. I’m always working…we’re looking at expanding Honkytonks and maybe setting up a sister venue in Sydney…maybe. We’ll see. I’ve only been overseas twice in the past ten years, but I’d have to say New York is my favourite place to go out. It’s just got a great atmosphere.

What are your hours like?

I’m here 10.00am - 5.00pm four days a week doing everything from graphics to posters to organising alcohol to administration duties, plus I’m here two nights on the weekends. I usually DJ in the ladies toilets on a Saturday night, which I have to admit is a pretty good gig!

Honkytonks is in Duckboard Place, Melbourne (off Flinders Lane).

For more information, visit

www.honkytonks.com.au