What $100 Gets You On A Friday Night In Each Major Aussie City
It doesn’t matter where in Australia you live, Friday nights are usually a cause for celebration. The working week is over, the weekend is just beginning for most and there’s always things to do and friends to see, but we’re wondering: what does $100 actually get you on a night out in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide?
The “night out” in question involves an averaged priced dinner, a gig or show, transport to and from the city, and a few drinks. All locations chosen are near the CBD of each respective city and we’ve averaged out prices according to the information we have available.
Meal out: Around $30 per head including one bevvie.
Show/gig at theatre: The Toff In Town is one of Melbourne’s most popular, celebrated and diverse night spots. With a cocktail bar and some of Melbourne’s best restaurants in the same building, a gig, show, or speaking event in the famed venue usually runs between $10 and $25.
Total: we’re averaging it out at $17
Beer or house wine: For a pint of nice craft beer, you’re looking at $12 and tinnies average at $6 per can. A glass out house wine sets you back $8, so that makes it an average of $8 per drink.
Total: six drinks = $48
Transport: With free tram transport around the CBD and inner suburbs thanks to the new “free tram zone”, you’re likely to be able to jet around from place to place for a low price. PT also runs all night on Friday and Saturday nights with the average adult fare being just under $8 for an entire day. It really is worth catching PT because the $15 (for a 5km trip) you save on your Uber there and back means four more drinks, or the ability to see another event or two!
Total: two trips = $0
Dinner, a gig, seven drinks and transport = $95
Verdict: Thanks to Melbourne’s new 24 hour public transport on weekends and free transport in the inner city, you can zip from home to a night out with ease. What does this mean for the rest of your time out in Melbourne? With the money you’ve saved from not having to catch cabs/Ubers everywhere you can get four extra beers or wines, which is a total of seven all up (which, actually, might be a bit much). That’s on top of the nice dinner and gig you’ve already enjoyed, of course, and a fiver left over for late-night snacks. World’s most liveable city, indeed!
Meal out: Around $26 per head including one bevvie.
Show/gig at theatre: The Oxford Arts Factory, in inner city suburb Darlinghurst also has a diverse array of gigs and events on regularly.
Total: average ticket price is around $30.
Beer or house wine: Prices don’t vary too much between Melbourne and Sydney drinks wise, with the average price of a beer or house wine being $8.
Total: two drinks = $16
Transport: It’s approximately $20 for an Uber trip 5km to or from the CBD. The daily fee on an Opal Card will be just under $7, making it around a dollar cheaper than Melbourne’s Myki, however as public transport only runs until around 1am, you’re likely to be paying upwards of $27 to get in, around, and back out of town.
Total: about $27
Dinner, a gig, three drinks and transport = $99
Verdict: Simply getting to and from a night out in Sydney ends up costing nearly a third of the $100 budget. Ticket prices for a mid-level gig or event are also pricier than most other cities in Australia at $30 a pop. As a result, a standard meal and bevvie, show and transport ends up costing over $80, leaving not a lot of spending money for drinks or other events.
Meal out: Around $27 per head including one bevvie.
Show/gig at theatre: A night out at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge is always a great way to kick things off, boasting local bands as well as international acts.
Total: average ticket prices are about $25
Beer or house wine: Standard drinks are definitely cheaper in QLD; tinnies are around $5 a can and it’s not unusual to find a glass of house wine for $7 or a craft beer for $10. We’ll average it out at $7 per drink.
Total: three drinks = $21
Transport: An Uber trip 5 kilometres from the CBD is approximately $17 in Brisbane. This is cheaper than Sydney and Melbourne which is good news because much like Sydney, transport finishes in the later hours of the night, meaning the likelihood of getting a taxi or Uber home is high. Transport, however proves expensive because of Brisbane’s zoning system. Suburbs 5 kilometres from the CBD or Valley district are classified as zone 2 or 3 meaning a trip into town and back out can set you back more than $9.
Total: realistically about $26
Dinner, a gig, four drinks and transport = $99
Verdict: As was the case with Sydney, transport and higher ticket prices to events break the bank on a night out in Brisbane, coming to $78 for the bare minimum. However, cheaper food and drink prices mean you can have a few extra bevvies than in Sydney.
Meal out: Around $28 per head including one bevvie.
Show/gig at theatre: Badlands Bar in inner-city Perth is a great venue for live music and late night drinks on a weekend.
Total: a modest average of $17
Beer or house wine: Drinks at a nice bar are steep in Perth with any beer coming in at $11 and wine at $9, making the average drink price $10.
Total: three drinks = $30
Transport: Uber is very cheap in Perth comparatively to other cities, with a 5 kilometre trip costing around $12. Similarly to Brisbane, Perth’s transport system has more zones than other capital cities. A trip in and out of town would set you back around $8 with the SmartRider. Services finish at around midnight though.
Total: $20 in transport for the night
Dinner, a gig, four drinks and transport = $95
Verdict: While drinks are pricier in Perth, cheap event tickets, modest food prices, and cheaper than average Uber rides make for a good night out. For the basics – a meal and a drink, a show, and getting to and from the city – you’re looking at $65 which leaves cash for three drinks, or another gig.
Meal out: Around $25 per head including one bevvie. Bargain!
Show/gig at theatre: A show at Fat Controller, in inner-city Adelaide is $20.
Beer or house wine: Drinks in Adelaide are fairly standard averaging out to $8 per drink.
Total: four drinks = $32
Transport: As with Perth, Adelaide has significantly cheaper Uber prices that the rest of the country with a 5 kilometre trip costing around $14. Public transit costs around $7 for a daily pass with a MetroCard and ends at around 1am.
Total: cost for transport would be around $21
Dinner, a gig, five drinks and transport = $98
Verdict: With the cheapest dinner in any capital city in Australia, decent public transport fares, affordable Ubers and cheap entertainment, $100 goes very far in Adelaide! After food, a show and transport, you’re left with around $34 which affords you four drinks, or another gig!
Surprise, surprise, Sydney has the least value for money. And despite Melbourne’s food and drink prices being on the high side, you get the most value for money there. Why? The real indicator of how much bang for your buck you can get on a night out came down to the cost and accessibility of transport.
While Melbourne’s Uber prices are average at best, 24-hour public transport on weekends and the free tram zone means that those on a night out can save big on transit costs, leaving more money for entertainment and drinks. Nice one, Melbourne.
Perth and Brisbane were on par for value in the mid-range, and Adelaide seems to be cheaper for just about everything: food, drinks, and entertainment. While public transport finishes at around 12:30am, Uber prices are modest so there’s still plenty of cash to play with.
The clear loser in our comparison was, unfortunately, Sydney. With expensive and infrequent public transport, expensive Ubers, above average entertainment prices and the second highest cost for food and drinks in Australia, there’s not too much fun to be had unless you’re willing to spend up.
Esther is a freelance writer, editor, publicist, content maker and dog patter. She has written for Interview Magazine, New York Press, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and local titles Broadsheet, Beat and Tone Deaf. Please tag her in photos of dogs @esthersaurus.