Six popular South Wharf event venues in the heart of the convention district
June 13, 2023
Melbourne’s South Wharf is centrally located in the heart of the Southbank convention district. Once a historic home to tall ships berthed from all around the world, South Wharf is now a promenade of exciting event spaces, restaurants, cafes and bars – with many located inside beautifully restored 19th-century cargo sheds.
With the Yarra River and Melbourne's central business district as the backdrop – and conference and entertainment venues such as the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), Pan Pacific and Crown Melbourne only a hop, skip and a jump away – South Wharf provides an unbeatable setting for a business event, conference dinner, cocktail party or wow factor gala soiree.
South Wharf Promenade activations
Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) partner Showtime Event Group manages a number of unique event venues dotted along South Wharf promenade, including Cargo Hall, Polly Woodside, Aerial and Showtime Event Centre. In fact, Showtime Event Group can activate the entire South Wharf promenade for up to 6,500 people.
First executed for the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) 2013, Showtime Event Group has since run over 50 promenade events, the largest being for 6,500 people.
The concept takes over the central venues of Showtime Events Centre, Common Man, Meat Market and Bohemian Wine Bar that circle the outdoor lawn area, which combined can cater for up to 2,500 people. As your numbers grow, they then add venues down the promenade including The Tessie Pearl Hotel, Melbourne Cellar Door, and Munich Brauhaus. The space can be designed and themed for a multitude of concepts, including Night Markets, Melbourne Laneways and Aussie Festivals.
Over the years the area has been activated as an Outdoor Cinema, Ice Skating Rink, Fire Garden and Lego Bar. Marquees can be erected across the area, and pontoons are able to be set on the river’s edge against the boardwalk. These precinct parties provide an offering unlike any other, with endless options for styling and concept development.
Originally a docking shed, Cargo Hall is now one of Melbourne’s most sought-after locations for stylish events oozing old world industrial charm.
Offering exquisite views of the Yarra River and city skyline, the 305 sqm Cargo Hall is conveniently located opposite the MCEC, Pan Pacific Hotel and Novotel Melbourne South Wharf.
Cargo Hall boasts an all-weather glass conservatory and an abundance of natural light, perfect for streaming sun or star gazing on a clear winter night. It’s also a highly versatile pillarless space, with a mezzanine floor and fantastic green room facility, ideal for creative conferencing, showstopping gala dinners or interactive cocktail events.
The use of installed curtains running the length of the venue allows organisers to open up the venue with the glass atrium or create distinct areas for the event, adding to the depth and versatility of the venue.
Cargo Hall can cater up to 220 banquet-style, 300 theatre and 450 cocktail-style.
Image: Cargo Hall by Showtime Event Group
Shed 2 at Polly Woodside
Delegates will feel like they’re going on a maritime adventure rather than attending a meeting or cocktail party, when holding a business event at this unique Melbourne venue.
Built in Belfast in 1885, the three-masted cargo ship Polly Woodside travelled 1.5 million miles and circumnavigated the world 17 times over, before permanently docking at South Wharf. Entertaining guests amongst this historical icon is facilitated by Shed 2 at Polly Woodside. This warehouse-converted space aesthetically compliments the significantly-sized ship, and is situated directly beside it, on the river.
Guests can walk directly off the ship and find themselves in an open-plan entertainment space, perfect for indoor-outdoor entertainment for any style event, from cocktails to a sit-down dinner. Shed 2’s ideal position, alongside the Melbourne Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre and Yarra River makes it perfect for your next event.
Polly Woodside is surprisingly spacious too, comfortably seating up to 100 people banquet-style, 120 theatre and 250 cocktail-style.
Image: Polly Woodside by Showtime Event Group
Aerial is a large, modern and elegant venue boasting an impressive arrival bar for a wow-factor first impression.
The 600 sqm venue stands out with shimmering white marble floors, striking gold detail and an elevated cocktail area. Aerial is also popular for its dining room, with soaring windows that provide panoramic 180-degree views across Melbourne’s skyline and Yarra River.
Features include an abundance of natural light, high ceilings for installations, inbuilt drapes, private VIP suite and option for arrival by boat.
Aerial can cater up to 350 banquet-style, 300 theatre and 600 cocktail-style.
Image: Aerial by Showtime Events Group
Showtime Events Centre
Showtime Events Centre is the birthplace and flagship venue of Showtime Event Group. Originally known as docking shed 11 during Melbourne’s formative days in the 1800s, this heritage venue has lived an exciting life. Situated along South Wharf Promenade, parallel to the Yarra River and gazing over the Melbourne city skyline, Showtime Events Centre maintains the proximity and prowess of the CBD while remaining true to the rich history of the wharf.
The 350 sqm warehouse-style venue was repurposed and redesigned in 2010, solely for events. Fully integrated lighting, sound desk and audiovisual are the expected minimum at this riverside venue. Delegates will be wowed by a custom-designed chandelier bar - always an attention-grabber as it sits down the far end of the venue above the large stone bar top. While original, wide hardwood floorboards provide a nod to a bygone era seldom available anywhere in Melbourne.
Other amenities and design includes a modern green room, elegant bathrooms and wrought laser-cut iron walls illuminated by coloured LED’s from behind, modernising the venue in a balanced juxtaposition of old and new.
The addition of a riverside marquee is also the perfect setting for pre-dinner drinks or as an arrival space for guests, any time of the year. Often used to great effect with food stations, canapes or whisky bars to provide that extra exciting element.
Showtime Events Centre can cater up to 380 theatre-style, 280 banquet and 600 cocktail-style.
The Common Lawn
In support of Showtime Events Centre, the adjoining Common Lawn is a unique outdoor space right on the side of the river. Combining the Common Lawn with Showtime Events Centre provides capacity for up to 1,200 guests cocktail-style. The lawn is partially covered by a permanent marquee. There are existing furnishings with inbuilt lighting and PA system for background music. And a large fixed LED screen for sponsor logos, video or rotating imagery.
Image: Showtime Events Centre
Horizon by Crown Melbourne
Situated in the private quarters of Level 29 at Crown Towers Melbourne, Horizon is a luxury events space at Crown Melbourne. Perfect for 100 guests seated or 120 cocktail-style, Horizon is designed to be the most sought-after, lavish venue in Melbourne, offering an elevated event experience set amid the city lights.
Delegates enter Horizon via private elevators into a spectacular entrance hall, adorned with golden-hued timber panelling, custom furnishings and unique artworks from Victorian-based artists. From the moment of arrival, guests are transported to another world of unimaginable opulence with dazzling Italian crystal chandeliers and ivory-white pillars.
Horizon dishes up astonishing views of Melbourne’s stunning city skyline through grand floor-to-ceiling windows. And seasonal menus designed purely to please with premium, locally sourced ingredients and international flavours catering to all your desires.
Image: Horizon at Crown Melbourne
THE LUME by Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Perfect for 150 to 1,200 delegates, The LUME Melbourne is an incredible contemporary event space, with jaw-dropping digital projections on an epic scale. It offers an outstanding venue for gala dinners or cocktail parties and is the only multi-sensory immersive space of its kind and scale in the Southern Hemisphere.
Delegates will journey into another world when celebrating at THE LUME, with ever-changing exhibitions such as Connection, launcing late June 2023. THE LUME, Connection is the most comprehensive telling of our country’s story through art, bringing together First Peoples’ art, music and culture in an immersive new experience fusing the world’s oldest culture with the most cutting-edge technology.
You can even work with their creative team to develop a fully customised, immersive experience for an unforgettable gala event.
Image: THE LUME at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Ask Melbourne Convention Bureau for assistance
The friendly team at the Melbourne Convention Bureau provides free assistance and support for conferences, meetings, events and incentive groups. Get in touch for advice on where to hold your next business event in Melbourne!