Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas, and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as “Sydneysiders”.
Now they enjoy a superb nightlife scene in Sydney, you could say Sydney has some of the best nightlife in the entire southern hemisphere with something for everyone. Locals and tourists alike will find something perfect for their night out. Just read on and find out!
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranks Sydney tenth in the world in terms of quality of living, making it one of the most livable cities. It is classified as an Alpha+ World City by Globalization and World Cities Research Network, indicating its influence in the region and throughout the world. Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics. The city is among the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city’s landmarks.
Sydney has amazing things to see and do at all hours of the day. From top-notch dinner dining experiences, to evening dinner shows with live entertainment, to theatre performances at the Sydney Opera House and sightseeing cruises; there is a diverse range of evening activities in and around Sydney. Take in the night skylines from atop an incredible viewing tower while enjoying a quality meal.
So as briefed above the city of Sydney offers a wide and great range of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs which has actually improved the nightlife experiences for their locals as well as foreigners, in context of the same, here in this article we are going to take a deep look into such features of the city of Sydney which will make your journey excellent.
The Nightlife in Sydney
One of the best things to do in Sydney is to discover it by night. As the day hustle starts to simmer down, the night owls are putting the final touches on prepping for the night. Put on a windbreaker and head out into the night and discover what this amazing city has to offer as the sunsets. From activities with the little ones to spots where you can appreciate the arts, there’s something for everyone even at night in Sydney. When the first night light goes on, get yourself out and discover Sydney at night, so check out our suggestion here and explore the city attractions to accomplish your trip at it’s best:
Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb
Enjoy unbeatable views of Sydney with a must-do Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb! Venture to the top of this iconic landmark, and witness the stunning city skyline from a whole new perspective. Choose the twilight time and watch as the city slowly switches off below you as the sun begins to set, workers begin the journey home, the ferries commence their final travels along the harbor and the city transforms from full of action to a much slower pace, decide on the evening climb and watch as the city shines from the assortment of lights brightening the city.
Sydney Tower Eye
The Sydney Tower Eye, located right in the center of Sydney’s central business district, is an ideal location to get a great view of the city in the evening. The observation deck offers 360-degree vistas of the city as well as informational panels on the view before you. Visitors can make bookings online, and there is also a bar and restaurant in the tower.
Sydney Tower 360 Bar & Dining
Located high up on the Sydney Tower, 360 Bar & Dining is the ideal venue for families looking for a classy meal at night. The restaurant revolves and offers uninterrupted 360-degree views over Sydney’s skyline. There is an extensive range of Australian and international wine, cocktails and light snacks.
Simply the best fun and free thing to do in Sydney is to visit the Vivid Sydney festival. Every year hundreds of light installations and projections transform Sydney into a colorful canvas during a cutting-edge event that has won multiple awards for innovation. This event features spectacular light shows across the city, as well as gigs by Vivid Music and creative talks from Vivid Ideas.
Sydney Helicopter Ride
For couples who want to see Sydney at night at the highest possible point, you will have to jump on a helicopter. This fun 30-minute ride will fly above Bondi Beach and then head north towards Manly before heading into Sydney harbor to witness the iconic landmarks Harbor Bridge and Opera house at Sunset. Onboard, you will have headsets to hear the guide’s live commentary. You will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel as well. Indicate your preferred timeslot and the nearest available appointment will be allocated to you.
Explore Darling Harbor
There is almost always something happening at Darling Harbor, Sydney’s other main harbor area. Darling Harbor is home to a number of Cafes, Bars, Nightclubs as well as a Shopping Precinct where visitors will find a bowling alley and more fun entertainment. Darling Harbor often plays host to local Sydney events, and the picturesque setting makes it easy to enjoy an evening. The nearest station is Town Hall, but visitors can also take a ferry into the harbor.
Sydney Harbor Cruise
Take your loved one on a fun Sydney Harbor cruise to get another perspective of the city lighting up at night while having loads of fun. All cruises will give you picturesque views of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to night cruising including dinners, entertaining shows, yachts, and unique tall ships.
Sculpture by the Sea
Another fantastic event in Sydney is the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition held in Bondi. During Spring, the coastal walk between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach is transformed into the world’s largest open-air sculpture exhibition. The already pretty stretch of coast is turned into a 2km sculpture park with unique works of art popping up everywhere from the cliff face to the beaches. Over 100 international artists take part so you never quite know what will pop up in the sand next.
Located at the center of Sydney’s business and shopping districts, Pitt Street Mall is one of the busiest shopping precincts in Australia. This pedestrian mall, which stretches for two city blocks, contains shopping centers, arcades, and more than 600 specialty stories. On Thursdays usually, most of the retailers are open late (closing around 9 pm), making it an easy way to spend an evening.
Best Bars in Sydney
Tucked in the Lower Concourse level of the Sydney Opera House, the alfresco Opera Bar is the place you’d recommend to anyone visiting Sydney for the first time. For one, it’s got Instagram-worthy views over the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. A strong cocktail list excels at twists on classic cocktails; the wine list, meanwhile, features mainly Australian bottles as well as high-end Champagnes like Dom Pérignon and Cristal. There are also gorgeous, upscale, tapas-like bar snacks like anchovies with waffles and chicken paté on sourdough.
Old Mate’s Place
One hundred and two steps. Rooftop bars are not for the faint of a quad. But all that thigh-burning just primes you for the reveal: swing open the door at the top and there you are, in a lushly planted oasis in the Sydney skyline. A smiling bartender hands you a VB throw-down while you flip through the menu. It might only be a quarter past six down on street level, but up here, it is always time to take it easy.
Button bar is a trendy pirate-themed enclave hidden behind a humble wooden door. Although it is perfect for weekday date nights, Button Bar is at it’s prime on a Saturdays, when you can truly experience this cocktail slinging station come to life, by getting into an all-bar sing-a-long of the rock-n-roll classics.
The old Unicorn pub in Paddington has been resurrected, but not into a new hipster small bar. With the help of Mary’s co-owner Kenny Graham, Young Henry’s Oscar McMahon and Porteño’s Elvis Abrahanowicz The Unicorn retains much of its Aussie pub appeal with dishes like steak, schnitty with mash and burgers and chips. As for drinks, The Unicorn keeps it down-to-earth with XXXX, VB, Resch’s and Coopers, living up to its reputation as a proud boiling billy of Aussie wine, beer, music, art, food, and conversation.
If ever there were a bar to impress your most sophisticated globetrotting friend, Monopole would be it. The sexy European-style wine bar goes all-in on atmosphere with a gleaming black bar, slivers of gray metal hanging from the high ceilings, and dark, rich woods. And although the cocktails are decent, what you’re really here for is the award-winning wine list: that’s 500 rare and boutique bottles from around the globe handpicked by co-owner (and one of Australia’s most renowned sommeliers) Nick Hildebrandt. The bites coming out of the kitchen are likewise excellent.
Stowaway is an evergreen watering hole just outside of the heart of Manly (in a neighboring suburb, Freshwater) where you will find local Four Pines brew on tap, a wide variety of wine, and plenty of cocktails on offer. The menu’s description of The Campfire Louie, a cocktail of vodka, apple-wood okar, fireball whiskey, mango puree, lemon & smoked cinnamon epitomizes the Northern Beaches approach to life.
Bibo Wine Bar
At Bibo Wine Bar, the beautifully curated wine list, overseen by one of Sydney’s best sommeliers, Louella Mathews focuses on the under-appreciated wines of Portugal (head chef Jose Silva is Portuguese). There is a list of cellared wines, which you can try by the glass, but you could just as easily spend the night sampling the terrific selection of reasonably priced glasses, all while digging into the knockout Mediterranean fare.
If you have ever longed for the perfect neighborhood bar, you will wish you lived a little closer to Jangling Jack’s, a delightfully named subterranean drinking den hidden behind an awkward, narrow entrance. The decor is cool and eclectic, with bold, mismatched rugs, vintage concert posters, and antique Victorian lamps; the cocktails are terrifically executed renditions of the classics, and a kitchen turns out stick-to-your-ribs comfort fare like fried chicken with honey butter and ice cream sundaes with bourbon butterscotch.
When you change your cocktail list more often than people change their sheets, a guarantee that those five drinks are going to be creative, delicious, exciting, and worth every last dollar sounds very attractive, isn’t it? That is why people still love Bulletin Place. This 45-person capacity bar hidden down near the harbor has proved without a shadow of a doubt that time does not have to erode the quality or consistency of your product.
This Twin Peaks-themed venue is a swift antidote to every serious wine bar and tonic water menu in town. It is an Inner West Tiki bar decked out in glowing fishing floats, dried pufferfish, and flocked banana palm wallpaper. They are also sporting some of the city’s most ridiculous cocktails, and they are not kidding about those cocktails. If you order a Shark Bait, you better strap in for a big, white plastic shell full of crushed ice at sea in a mix of flaming rums and tropical juices.
Stillery is a renovated five-star Inter-Continental Hotel in Double Bay, which has opened a lavish gin palace, where over 60 local and imported, rare and vintage gins can be sampled – enough to put even the snobbiest connoisseurs in high-spirits. Each of the cocktails on the menu features a different gin paired with botanical ingredients that complement. We recommend blackberry and thyme, pink grapefruit and sage, or strawberry, basil oil and lemon – all incredibly refreshing, well-balanced medleys.
Locals and regulars comprise the effortlessly hip crowd at Dead Ringer, an elegant neighborhood bar with raw timber surfaces, big potted ferns, and a casual vibe. Eight different Australian wines are opened daily and served by the glass; in addition, there is a selection of Aussie-only beers and ciders. Cocktails tend to be on the drier side; the house cocktail, the Dead Ringer Aperitif, (vermouth, pineapple, and tonic) is a standout. And a drinks-friendly food menu spins organic produce into Australian share plates like a roasted free-range chicken with peppers and grilled peaches with radicchio.
The Baxter Inn
Clarence St is becoming a hub for some of the best bars in Sydney, and The Baxter Inn is one of the best whiskey establishments around. A sophisticated bar, the Baxter Inn features an extensive selection of top-shelf whiskeys, plus classic cocktails, with a funky, underground, old-school vibe.
The Lobo Plantation
Inside this dimly lit, Caribbean-inspired rum bar, you will find rattan chairs, lush banana palms, and plush-red Chesterfield booths – a veritable vintage hideaway in the heart of Sydney. The Lobo Plantation attracts a well-heeled crowd of cocktail lovers who flock here for – what else?! – it’s signature liquor. There are hundreds of rums on offer, which you can drink straight or in a number of creative cocktails. Don’t leave without ordering the Old Grogram, Lobo’s signature drink; it’s made with spiced rum, lemon, sugar, and vermouth. Then it is set on fire.
Best Bar Restaurants in Sydney
The Apollo has put contemporary Greek food on the local map. Shared plates are designed to bring the table together – start with the more traditional taramasalata mullet roe dip with warm pita and olives or the more innovative saganaki cheese with honey and oregano. Heartier mains are cooked over wood and charcoal, from barbecued octopus and white beans to oven-baked lamb shoulder with lemon and Greek yogurt. Loukoumades donuts make a divine dessert.
Indeed it is a standard-setter for fine dining in Sydney. Executive chef Peter Gilmore is tireless in his pursuit of what is interesting, new and Australian. His backyard is peppered with test plantations of rare vegetables, he works with local ceramicists on custom crockery and, like interstate peers Ben Shewry and Jock Zonfrillo, and he is a leading advocate for native produce. The restaurant’s theatrical tasting menus show off all this and more, bolstered by some of the city’s best harbor views.
Italian-meets-Asian fusion in Acme’s small but beautifully plated dishes. Pasta-centric mains like macaroni with pig’s head and egg yolk, or linguine with black garlic and burnt chili center the meal, while starters and desserts funk things up-think a bologna sandwich or a carpaccio ‘halal snack pack’ and chamomile ice-cream with stone fruit. A smart selection of wines by the glass or bottle will appeal to unconventional types, including skin-contact varieties from Australia and Europe.
Ester Restaurant & Bar
Dinners at the dim-lit Ester don’t feel like a big occasion, even though Mat Lindsay runs one of Sydney’s most inventive and consistently delicious menus. The place has an easy, effortless feel that off-duty chefs have fallen hard for, along with the rest of the city. It helps that the set menu (a la carte is also an option) includes the restaurant’s many woodfired hits, such as potato bread, blood sausage sanga, and king prawns. Confidence, knowledgeable staff and a cracking list of minimal-intervention booze from co-owner Julien Dromgool is really a positive point of this restaurant. This is everything great about cutting-edge dining in Sydney.
Designed to be shared the traditional Argentinean way, Porteño’s menu highlights fabulous flame-cooked meats from grass-fed sirloin and wagyu skirt steaks to short ribs with charred red cabbage. Fish and seafood also get fiery treatment – think fried and spiced octopus. Even a salad of oranges is cooked in embers then tossed with buttermilk ricotta. Vegetarian sides are surprisingly strong, including the signature crispy fried Brussels sprouts with lentils and mint. For something entirely new, order the Guatemalan rice tamale with wood-fired pumpkin, mozzarella, and mole Colorado.
Owner/head chef Lennox Hastie is the creative force behind Firedoor, where he is serving Australia’s first fire-powered menu. The local meats, fish, and seafood are all cooked to order here, and the kitchen uses different types of wood to flavor the food, from apple, cherry, and chestnut to wood-salvaged from aged wine barrels. If the 147-day, dry-aged, grain-fed rib of beef is too pricey, consider the fire-roasted eggplant or the Murray cod with spinach and Hakurei turnips.
Icebergs Dining Room & Bar
This elevated vantage of Bondi’s sloshing surf is one of Australia’s great views – one a less conscientious restaurateur might easily lean on. Not Maurice Terzini, who’s been pushing his resplendent Italian diner to greater and greater heights since 2002. Under current executive chef Monty Koludrovic, long lunches in this smart aquamarine room have never been better, largely thanks to a strict insistence on top-quality Australian produce, which makes them mostly classic menu sing.
Hubert’s low ceilings,timber-paneled walls, and candle-lit tables feel like they have been there forever. And yet, this convincing facsimile of a grand European restaurant circa World War II only opened in 2016. Behind this extravagant and ambitious facade, there is unmatched reverence for classic hospitality and notably un-classic French food. Sure, the menu includes duck parfait and escargot, but with clever tweaks such as maple syrup jelly and Chinese XO sauce. This is a room you want to eat in, and often.
The room is dim, the volume loud and the drinks are flowing. More than any other venue on this list, the focus here is fun. Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz opened this tapas and cocktail bar before they became better known for their Argentinean restaurant Porteño when little else like it existed in Sydney. Many have since tried to replicate this simple but perfectly executed package, but none have succeeded like Bodega.
You will feel like a real VIP when you arrive at Ormeggio. It is hidden among yachts, in the marina just near the Spit Bridge in Middle Harbor. Executive chef Alessandro Pavoni is from the northern-Italian region of Brescia and oversees a menu of nuanced dishes that range from glazed pork jowl to creamy risottos and some of the prettiest entrees in town. Australian seafood shines here, so come for Moreton Bay bugs, Queensland red scarlet prawns and Sydney rock oysters did creatively.
When Tetsuya Wakada opened his eponymous restaurant in 1989, it’s sophisticated service and careful marrying of Japanese and French cuisines changed the game. Thirty years on, it remains one of the most elegant and on-brief examples of fine dining Sydney has to offer if a little solemn. Tetsuya’s is about balance and fastidious technique – ideals passed down to a legion of alumni who today run many of the city’s best restaurants themselves.
If Fred’s has the most beautiful dining room in Sydney, Bennelong has the most iconic. Aside from the fact it is set within the window-cupped, city-facing end of the Opera House, the dining area is spectacular, no matter if the sun pours in or the CBD’s lights are illuminated. Quay’s Peter Gilmore and head chef Rob Cockerill run a menu that matches the location – seafood from nearby waters, house charcuterie made with all Australian produce and show-stopping desserts, such as pavlova sculpted to match the sails above it, and the best lamington you will ever eat.
Golden Century has been serving Sydneysiders with classic Cantonese fare for more than three decades. Many of its popular orders are now legendary, the pippies with XO sauce most of all. Arrive at midnight or a few hours later on a Sunday and you might see some of Sydney’s best chefs bulldozing their way through out-of-the-tank seafood, mud crab with ginger and shallot, and maybe a bizarre mix of cheap imported beer and luxury wines.
Restaurants all over Sydney have tried to copy Mr Wong’s refined Cantonese-led menu, its modern fit-out and the quality of its service, but none have been successful. Consequently, the large but intimate-seeming space is always packed, even though it’s down a CBD laneway. Inside, a bank of barbequed ducks are not just great to look at: they’re plump, juicy and delicious. Likewise the delicate dumplings, which are some of the city’s best. Chef Dan Hong sets a benchmark that has the right amount of Aussie-Cantonese nostalgia.
Best Nightclubs in Sydney
Controversially, Sydney’s casino is exempted from the government’s puritanical lockout laws, meaning that more and more revelers 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 has not 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.
The World Bar
The New South Wales state government’s decision to impose 01:30 am lockouts and 03:00 am 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 epicenter of Sydney’s nightlife. The labyrinthine four-story Victorian house is home to a series of cozy bars and balconies, serving World Bar’s signature teapot cocktails seven nights a week.
At the more casual end of Sydney’s nightclub spectrum is this Surry Hills favorite, 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 center than it’s nightclubs. The Junction (formerly known as Jam Gallery) is now one of the hottest night clubs in the Harbor City – expect long queues of trendy young revelers outside this edgy underground venue, which hosts live music performances, art exhibitions, a bar, and an eatery.
Home The Venue
Home bills itself as Sydney’s leading super night club, boasting nine bars across three levels, a world-class sound system, and probably the rowdiest dance floor you will find anywhere in the city. Enjoying peerless views over Darling Harbor, 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.
Oxford Art Factory
Come for a gig, stay for a drink. The Oxford Art Factory in 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 nightcap at the Gallery and the Live Art Space.
At the end of Oxford Street around the corner from the all-hours spa (wink wink) lies a special kind of ark where the animal’s march two-by-two (sometimes one-by-three) into a sturdy sanctum of entertainment and pleasure. Frequented by drag divas and the A-gays (it’s where we once even saw Jean Paul Gaultier) you really have not experienced quintessential queer Sydney until you have been to Arq. It is the kind of place where even the sound system is designed to give you “the ultimate 360-degree aural stimulation”.
If you ask anyone who lives there, Bondi Junction is the last place you’d expect to have decent night clubs in this city. Known more for its mega-mall than dancefloors, the suburb has had a renaissance since the lockouts, and The Junction (formerly the Jam Gallery) is a venue of choice for the hot young kids. It is also where festivals usually roll through for after parties, so big-name rappers and DJs are not an uncommon sight – and neither are the lines at the door.
Wanna hit Laundry, bro? Nope, we are not talking about outsourcing your intimates (although they may need an actual laundry after visiting) – this famous night club is less about suds and more about superstars. Hosting the likes of Hudson Mohawke, Baauer, DJ Slink, and other international dance legends, here is where you can get lit, turn and twisted like a wet towel.
The Cliff Dive
Sydney’s only under-the-sea-themed, tiki nightclub has been slinging tropical-themed cocktails and wrangling huge crowds for a while now. There is a lot to take in visually, it is a sensory explosion of lighting and shipwrecked decor, but once you settle into the sunken dancefloor, pineapple in hand, you will never want to leave. Cliff Dive’s vibe lately is hip hop, trap, grime, and R’n’B focused so gear up for an aquatic grind time.
This nightclub on the lockout-skimming Paddington end of Oxford Street is all raw concrete and neon. Taking cues from Berlin nightlife and industrial (but oh so chic) warehouse raves, Goodbar is a mainstay with dance music enthusiasts and minimal aesthetes. There are two levels to explore, sophisticated lounge bar with laid back dancefloor at the top, and serious party bunker at the bottom. The focus here is on the International house and techno DJs with rotating rosters of local talent to boot.
Tokyo Sing Song
Super offbeat entertainment is the order of the day at this late-night basement bar on King Street. The venue itself is a mishmash of Japanese Pachinko Parlor, Lower East Side speakeasy and the divest bar your filthy mind could imagine. There is a tiny stage that hosts delightfully weird performances and lots of extremely dark corners to dance to the eclectic tunes in.
Let us conclude the topic, here in this article we had a brief introduction of Sydney along with highlighting some of its prominent norms, culture, and nightlife features. We also went through different activities and places to enjoy the nightlife of the region, Musical venues, Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals as well. There are plenty of pubs & bars throughout the City areas and they are truly satisfying the desire of thirsty visitors where you can enjoy your cocktails with the mesmerizing architectural beauty of the hand-crafted beers and their decors. You don’t feel any hunger during your trip, that is why we also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks. You can enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze.
And lastly, we went through comprehensive options of nightclubs of the city that offers great music and fun with some delightfully exotic choices of drinks and cocktail that will delight your overall experience of charming nightlife during your stay at Sydney.
All of the experiences as mentioned above will work together to make your journey to Sydney absolutely a memorable one. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can actually boost your experience and make your trip extremely unforgettable for you.