The Empress Hotel is a fine establishment located on the corner of Scotchmer and Nicholson Streets in Fitzroy, an inner suburb of Melbourne (Melways map 30 A11). It's official name is the Empress of India Hotel.
The Empress is a classic pub catering mostly to young "alternative" types. It is dimly lit and features: alcohol, good food, a pool table, a three-in-one arcade game machine including Galaga, a beer garden, a cigarette machine, friendly staff, a stage and rotating displays of art. It does not feature poker machines. Beers on tap include Victoria Bitter, Stella Artois, Carlton Draught, Cascade and of course Guinness.
Live gigs featuring local and international acts are held at Empress at least five nights a week and more often than not the groups which play there are of very high quality. These include Melbourne icons such as the Trojan Horns, Commissioner Gordon, Mach Pelican and Music versus Physics. A fee is charged to see the band but it is usually quite reasonable ($A4-$A10), and the front bar is open free of charge anyway. On a weeknight or on the weekend, when things are quiet, the Empress is a good place to enjoy a quiet pint with friends. During the weekday, however, it is almost too quiet - Sasha Gabba Hey! and I led a group of noders there one sunny afternoon to find that we were eerily alone save for a small posse of old men.
Every first and third Monday of the month from 8pm Splodge plays 16mm films in the back room. Always different but guaranteed to entertain, you will see everything from from amusing 1950s American propaganda cartoons to intelligent documentaries, classic European films to lunatic student productions. Entry to this is FREE the first two times (you are required to join, at a cost of $7, the third time). Heartily recommended.