Once upon a time, a night out on the town meant drinking and dancing.

But knock-off drinks had a different feel when Raising the Bar took over 10 venues in Melbourne city, hosting 20 talks from academics and experts.

The event was conceived in New York, but spread to Melbourne last year, where a booked-out program ensured a repeat appearance.

The topics range from arts and culture, to science and technology, sociology and philosophy.

And while the subjects may seem dry, another sell-out night suggests there is a strong thirst for learning.

Jacinta Young and Steve Taitoko were ready to settle in for a long evening of discussion about topics from legal storytelling to cryptocurrency.

Mr Taitoko is clear on the appeal.

"I mean it's like TED talks in bars, I think that's becoming more of a way that people can engage and again it's about telling stories so you want something that's quite informal," he said.

Ms Young agreed.

"It's a relaxed atmosphere, it's different to a seminar where you might go and sit in an auditorium," she said.

Lucy Plisko and Tassie Williams also aimed for a big night out with academics and experts, signing up for three separate sessions.

Considering university students spend thousands on their education, only to sleep through their lectures, the pair pondered the popularity of informal learning after a full day of work.

"So I think the engagement is higher when people have chosen to come."

Ms Plisko agreed.

"It's a good way of seeing Melbourne, the city as well. We hadn't been to any of these bars before, so it's a good reason to come back for a bite to eat," she said.

Raising the Bar