Wondering where you can beat Sydney’s ‘lockout’ laws for a lively party after dark? Grab a drink at one of these 10 nightclubs around the Harbour City.
Strict regulations imposed on Sydney venues have stifled nightlife in Australia’s biggest city over the past four years, but the Harbour City is still home to some great venues where you can party long into the night. Put on your party pants and check out these 10 lively nightclubs around Sydney.
The New South Wales state government’s decision to impose 1.30am lockouts and 3am curfews on bars in Sydney’s inner-city has completely changed the face of Kings Cross, but the World Bar is a stalwart of the area that used to be the pulsing epicentre of Sydney’s nightlife. The labyrinthine four-storey Victorian house is home to a series of cosy bars and balconies, serving World Bar’s signature teapot cocktails seven nights a week.
Controversially, Sydney’s casino is exempt from the government’s puritanical lockout laws, meaning that more and more revellers are heading to the Star in Pyrmont for their night out. Marquee nightclub is the jewel in the casino precinct’s crown, welcoming big-name international DJs like Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren and Will Sparks to their decks over the years.
This Darlinghurst icon is one Sydney venue that hasn’t lost its mojo in recent years, adding to its 20-year legacy as one of the city’s most vibrant night (and day) clubs. Club 77 has transformed from a rave bunker to a stylish underground bar over the years, but has retained its techno tunes – the stark red neon light and cool clientele set the mood for a weird and wonderful night.
The Ivy Complex is so large it almost needs its own postcode, packed full of eight bars, three award-winning restaurants and four events spaces smack-bang in the middle of inner-city Sydney. The star attraction is undoubtedly the Ivy Pool Club, Sydney’s only rooftop pool bar, where beautiful bronzed bodies come to see and be seen with a cocktail and a poolside cabana on the weekend.
At the more casual end of Sydney’s nightclub spectrum is this Surry Hills favourite, which pumps out daggy old-school tunes that the bouncing dance floor adores. Past Soda Factory’s kitschy American diner-style entrance lies an inviting, unpretentious industrial space that serves affordable cocktails and great classic hits, two ingredients that are always conducive to a heaving dance floor and a cracking night out.
Many Sydney suburbs that sit outside the lockout zone are enjoying a nightlife renaissance, such as Bondi Junction – a place that used to be better known for its enormous shopping centre than its nightclubs. The Junction (formerly known as Jam Gallery) is now one of the hottest clubs in the Harbour City – expect long queues of trendy young revellers outside this edgy underground venue, which hosts live music performances, art exhibitions, a bar and an eatery.
Named in honour of the legendary original New York gay bar, the Sydney version of Stonewall is a staple of the local queer scene. Stonewall is the beating rainbow heart of Oxford St – the venue features bars across three levels and hosts live entertainment seven days a week, including much-loved drag shows on Friday and Saturday nights, and has supported various LGBTQ charities and community organisations over the last two decades.
Home bills itself as Sydney’s leading super club, boasting nine bars across three levels, a world-class sound system, and probably the rowdiest dance floor you’ll find anywhere in the city. Enjoying peerless views over Darling Harbour, Home is open every weekend for Voodoo Fridays, Homemade Saturdays and S*A*S*H Sundays – expect a medley of bangers from the rotating line-up of DJs.
Come for a gig, stay for a drink. The Oxford Art Factory is Sydney’s best boutique live music venue – the 500-person performance space was inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York in the 1960s, and welcomes plenty of high-profile local and international acts to its stage – and after the roadies pack up the band’s kit, hang around for a night cap at the Gallery and the Live Art Space.
Part basement bar, part pizza café, part pinball museum, part live-music venue – and completely and utterly one of Sydney’s best fun nights out. Frankie’s puts on live entertainment seven nights a week, and this inner-city underground bar particularly comes alive with eardrum-splitting rock and roll on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 3am.