The Tote Hotel

The Tote Hotel

The Tote Hotel in Collingwood is one of Melbourne's favourite venues for live Rock and Roll - Loud and Proud.

The Home of Rock (and punk-metal-pop-indie-shoegaze-post-dole-synth-wave and miscellanea)

The roster of bands that have played the Tote is long and illustrious, spanning back to the early 80's.

There's not enough space here to even start listing them, but if you want to know more then come down and look around, our history is on the walls, in the carpet, in the beergarden and on the stage.

Opening Hours
Weds - Sun 4pm - Late


March 2023 - The gig's up: Beloved Melbourne live music venue The Tote goes on sale

Collingwood's legendary live music venue The Tote is up for sale, with its owners saying they have "no petrol left in the tank" following the "stresses and strains" of the pandemic.

"We signed up to save The Tote once, not expecting to have to do it twice," co-owners Jon Perring and Sam Crupi said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It's time for someone else to take it on with renewed enthusiasm and vision now COVID is behind us. We feel the timing is right," they said. "The Tote needs to broaden its business model to remain relevant in the future.

"We will be looking favourably at proposals that ensure a live music component, including buyers who wish to pursue a mixed development of the property centred around the hotel."

They said the venue would keep hosting gigs until the transition of ownership takes place, and then "it will be up to the new owners" to manage any future bookings beyond the middle of the year.

An expression of interest listing for the hotel describes the venue as having 520 square metres of floor space, a late-night liquor licence for up to 408 patrons and the potential to add value with a mixed-use development.

Formerly known as the Ivanhoe Hotel, the venue was renamed The Tote in 1981, when previous publicans began hosting regular live music with a focus on new and local bands.

It has continued to operate as a live music venue for the past four decades, hosting countless Australian and international artists seven nights a week.

Jet, the Drones, Hoss, Spiderbait, You Am I, the Birthday Party, Courtney Barnett and Camp Cope are among Australian groups who have filled the venue's band room, while international acts have included the White Stripes, Mudhoney and the Lemonheads.

Paul Stewart, frontman of Melbourne band Painters and Dockers, said The Tote was an important breeding ground for bands and artists learning their craft.

"Many bands have benefitted from The Tote, it's an institution," Stewart said.

"It was vital to the existence of the Painters and Dockers, it provided invaluable opportunities to play in the early days, and not only us, but for many other bands. Melbourne is renowned for its live music, and The Tote has always been one of the bright, shining lights."

Former publican Bruce Milne shut the doors in mid-January 2010 after new "high-risk" conditions for Melbourne venues were introduced under Victoria's liquor licensing laws. Milne said the cost of meeting new requirements, including additional security staff and CCTV, was not financially viable.

"I have simply run out of money," Milne said at the time, after running the venue for nine years.

A month later a crowd of 20,000 live music fans, musicians and venue owners marched to state parliament for the SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) rally, to oppose laws that were crippling live music venues.

Six months after Milne shut The Tote's doors, business partners Perring, Crupi and the late Andy Portokallis re-opened the venue. COVID-19 lockdowns again forced the venue to shut its doors in March, 2020, and soon afterwards Perring spoke about the difficulties facing venue operators.

During the early stages of Melbourne's lockdown, The Tote's owners were among other venue operators that started GoFundMe campaigns to help keep venues operating.

"Like many other small businesses and cultural institutions, The Tote has been financially crushed by the COVID-19 shutdown," Perring said at the time.

Airbourne singer and guitarist Joel O'Keeffe, who is back in Melbourne recording, said Australia was known "around the world for its phenomenally good live bands" and "institutions like The Tote" were where they learn.

"Alongside hosting major international acts, it has been instrumental for young bands," O'Keeffe said. "The Tote is one of the last live venues Melbourne and Australia has that not only rocks, but gives birth to future, world dominating artists and bands."

ByMartin Boulton -
March 1, 2023

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What a year it's been for the Tote

❊ Address ❊

 ℅ Yalla-birr-ang
 ⊜  71 Johnston Street Collingwood 3066 View Map
 ✆ Telephone: (03) 9419 5320
71 Johnston StreetCollingwoodVictoria(03) 9419 5320

❊ Web Links ❊

The Tote Hotel

Disclaimer: Check with the venue (web links) before making plans, travelling or buying tickets.

Accessibility: Contact the venue for accessibility information.

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The Tote Hotel