Just left the late shift at work and need to find a feed at midnight in Sydney? Just left another country and still adjusting to the new time zone? Just left the pub at 1am and looking for a meal to mop up those 11 schooners you just slurped down? This list of the top eight late-night eats in Sydney has got you covered.
Bar, Cafe, Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, Beer, $$$
Late nights in Sydney’s inner city screams one venue: Frankie’s Pizza. And when we say scream, we really mean it, with late night rock and roll seven nights a week at this lively basement bar slash traditional New York pizza joint. The live music is the perfect accompaniment for the wide selection of icy cold craft beer and generous slices of thin-base pizza, with 20-odd varieties available for $6 a slice until 3am all week.
Sydney’s Chinatown — just south of Darling Harbour, between Town Hall and Central stations — is a haven of quality late-night eats and Golden Century has been a standout for almost three decades, with a mammoth menu of Cantonese classics pleasing punters until 4am seven days a week. The salt and pepper squid is legendary, as is the mud crab (fresh from the live seafood tank), steamed prawn dumplings and Peking duck pancakes.
This Oxford St venue is a collab between genius Sydney hospitality duo Lewis Jaffrey (Frankie’s, The Baxter Inn) and Jared Merlino (The Lobo Plantation), so it was always going to nail what Sydneysiders were looking for at 2am. Big Poppa’s is split into two levels — an upstairs restaurant serving Italian-inspired dishes, and a downstairs cocktail bar with a whopping menu of 26 indulgent cheeses, both pumping hip hop and finger-licking feeds until 3am every day.
Beloved Newtown burger joint Mary’s hits up the inner-east at the Unicorn Hotel in Paddington, which serves Mary’s signature burger and crinkle-cut chips until 3am Wednesday to Saturday. The Unicorn — divided into a jolly bar upstairs and quieter downstairs dining room and beer garden — is an unpretentious, modern take on the classic inner-city Aussie pub, with an all-Australian beer and wine list plus fresh, delicious, traditional pub fare, including one of the best chicken schnitzels you’ll find anywhere in Sydney.
Cleveland St in Surry Hills is lined with bars… as well as Lebanese restaurants waiting to feed their patrons kebabs, lamb-cabbage rolls and bowls of hummus on their way home. Fatima’s has been leading the way for more than 30 years — pass the takeaway shop front to find an atmospheric cushioned restaurant welcoming diners with a generous Lebanese banquet and a side serving of belly dancing on weekends. The vegetarian and meat-loving Middle Eastern cuisine is available from 9am to 3am, seven days a week.
You’re not a true Sydneysider if you haven’t ended a night out with a pork roll and a box of crackling from this Oxford St institution, which dishes up pork, pork and more pork until 4.30am on Friday and Saturday nights. The pig on Mr Crackles’ logo is precisely what you turn into when you’re confronted with the mouth-watering menu — pig out on pork belly that’s been slowly braised for 10 hours, as well as hot dogs, loaded fries, lamb, and even vegetarian roast pumpkin.
Sneakerheads will drool at the wall of trainers as much as Butter’s menu, which is headlined by spicy fried chicken that comes in four levels of heat: naked, O.G., fire and hot AF. Surry Hills’ half shoe shop, half late-night restaurant is renowned for fried chook Colonel Sanders would be proud of — combat the spice with some creamy coleslaw and one of the fruit-flavoured alcoholic slushies.
This cheery Mexican cantina began life as a pop-up at the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills six years ago but proved so popular it’s been a permanent fixture ever since. The food on the plate is as colourful as the bright decor on the walls — El Loco dishes up crowd-pleasing Mexican fare until 3am on weekends, including three tacos for $20 (don’t miss the ‘al pastor’, with pork and pineapple salsa) washed down with $15 jugs of tequila cocktails.