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Nightlife

SYDNEY’S LGBTIQ BARS, CLUBS AND PARTIES

Discover Sydney’s gay nightlife and get the most out of your stay in the Harbour City

Oxford Street is colloquially known as our ‘Gay Golden Mile’ and is the home of the Mardi Gras Parade. It also has Australia’s largest selection of LGBTQI venues, each with their own range of events.

Remember: If you’re out on Oxford Street after midnight, be sure to get into your favourite venues before the liquor licensing lock-out laws kick in at 1:30am (or 2am for the Stonewall Hotel, Kinselas and ARQ nightclub). Doors must close and no-one new can enter the venues after that time. Also note that alcohol service ceases between 3-5am.

OXFORD STREET

Stonewall Hotel
One of Sydney’s most enduring gay venues, Stonewall is the camp and brash staple of the scene, attracting a young colourful crowd most nights of the week. The beloved venue has been given a slight reprieve from the lock-out laws so can now allow new patrons through its doors until 2am. Stonewall’s ground floor features drag shows and themed events, and the top levels are open on Friday and Saturday nights with DJs and laser lights. Malebox on Wednesdays is very popular – so wear your number proudly and see if you get male! On Sunday evenings, Polly Petrie’s long-running drag talent quest is something to behold. Stonewall is at 175 Oxford Street. 

ARQ
This big two-level club just off Taylor Square boasts huge dancefloors, a mezzanine chillout zone and an outside smoking area. ARQ is where many big nights out on Oxford Street end up, but be sure to be in the line outside by 1:45am, as the lockout laws mean no one new can enter after 2am. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights feature drag show extravaganzas and regular themed parties. Find ARQ at 16 Flinders Street.
 
Universal
Oxford Street's beloved Midnight Shift is reborn as Universal, hosting a variety of events over two huge floors. Check their website to see what parties are happening this weekend: Universal, 85-91 Oxford Street.
 
Palms
There’s a long line outside this downstairs venue after midnight each weekend! Inside there’s a modest dancefloor and a fun up-for-it crowd enjoying retro and pop-dance classics. With its friendly, no-attitude atmosphere, Palms attracts a range of ages. All are welcome (but no open-toed shoes please). Palms is at 124 Oxford Street.
 
The Beresford Hotel
A short walk from Oxford Street is the Beresford, which a popular mixed venue throughout the week, but because the go-to spot for gay locals on Sunday afternoon - the large beer garden out the back heaves with people from 5pm onwards. The Beresford also hosts the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association and several LGBTQI special events at various times of year. Find the Beresford at 354 Bourke Street.
 
The Oxford Hotel
A gay mainstay, the Oxford is on the corner of Taylor Square and has several levels which hold different events and parties. The ground floor has lots of lovely booths inside and seated tables outside. There’s plenty of options to relax, meet, drink and eat. Enjoy cocktails and pub grub!  Visit the Oxford at 134 Oxford Street.
 
Kinselas Hotel
Kinselas is next to Taylor Square’s weird spurting water fountains, and has a long history with the local queer communities. It hosts trivia nights and is currently home to the Harbour City Bears’ Friday evening drink sessions. Kinselas is on Facebook here.
 
The Colombian
Situated right in the centre of Oxford Street, the Colombian is known for great bar service and cocktail selection. There’s DJs, drag shows and games too. Grab yourself a window seat and watch the talent drift by. Have a dance upstairs on Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays. The Colombian is on the corner of Crown Street.
 
Baby Bear Bar
Sydney’s small gay bar is open at 2 Oxford Street every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5pm to 2am. Located at the city end of Oxford Street with its entrance located at the rear in Liverpool Street. Designed for bears plus their friends and admirers, is the place to be for entertainment and great music, with DJs from 9pm. Happy Hour 6pm to 8pm with $6 drinks, $15 jugs of beer and $10 pizzas and burgers until midnight. Find out more here.

Harpoon Harry
Harpoon Harry, find him at 40-44 Wentworth Ave Surry Hills - at the bottom of Oxford St… Just a block away from Hyde Park. A charismatic two level venue with an upstairs boogie lounge and open-air oasis. Seriously great food, best on Friday and Saturday evenings – just as it warms up.

The Dolphin
The Dolphin is a favourite of Surry Hills creatives and lovers of quality food and drink, it's multi-zoned fun land of natural wine, cocktails, hand-stretched pizzas and $2 ponies of ice-cold beer. The terrace is the place to be in summer, underneath black-and-white-striped umbrellas with locally-made mortadella in one hand and a pre-batched Delfino Negroni in the other. Try the Dining Room for a dinner worthy of writing home about, or head to the Wine Room to sip over 300 wines on the menu by the bottle and 100 by the glass!

NEWTOWN

Discover a vibrant gay/lesbian nightlife in Newtown, and amazing food on offer all the way along King Street. The area is awash with cafes, unique shops and an unmistakeable 'Newtown vibe'. There's always something new to discover.

The Imperial Hotel
The star venue of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is still home to drag shows, parties and themed nights. There’s a friendly ground floor drinking area, and on weekends pay a small cover charge to enjoy the shows or parties on the other levels. The Impy is located a short walk from Newtown’s main drag – find it at 35 Erskineville Road.
 
The Newtown Hotel
The Newtown Hotel is one of Newtown’s traditional LGBT watering holes, and hosts a variety of event including trivia on Mondays from 7pm. Don’t miss the $4 pizza special! Check it out at 324 King Street, Newtown.
 
Bank Hotel
The Bank is a busy restaurant and bar for your after-work drinks or weekend chill-out. There’s a huge beer garden out the back, and The Harbour City Bears take over the upstairs bar from 4pm on Sundays. The Bank Hotel is at 324 King Street.
 
The Sly Fox
Enmore’s queer central features DJs and happy hours. There’s karaoke, comedy and live music there too. It’s a fun, no attitude venue that’s easy to find on the corner at 199 Enmore Road. Find out more here.  

REDFERN

The Bearded Tit
Located just a couple of minutes' walk from Redfern Station, The Bearded Tit as a happy place and creative space offering drinks and food along with exhibitions, music and performances. Drink, dine and chat inside, or out back in the Caravan of Love. Find The Bearded Tit at 183 Regent Street.
 

PARTIES

Heaps Gay
This regular series of parties for LGBTIQ+ folks and their friends has become one of the city’s most popular queer go-to events, involving an eclectic mix of DJs, performers and artists. Heaps Gay parties happen in all manner of locations around the city each month, even including carparks, warehouses and laneways. Get details at HeapsGay.com.
 
Honcho Disko
A queer community providing supportive safe events that are fully inclusive, combining performance, music, art, creativity, fashion and self-expression. Happens first Saturday of every month in the Imperial basement. See Honcho Disko's website here.
 
Loose Ends
Two magic rooms of house, disco, techno, ecosexual art bears, loving beauty and all night dancing at the Oxford Art Factory cave. See Loose Ends' Facebook page for news.
 
Bad Dog
Bad Dog is a roving pack of friends, DJ's and art hounds that have banded together to stage a series of get togethers outside the mainstream club scene. Bad Dogs happily interbreed all the different hounds in clubland in friendly, small scale off the beaten track venues. See BadDog.net.au for all the deets.
 
I Remember House
DJ Dan Murphy’s events attract a big crowd for an afternoon of great hands-in-the-air house music and shows. I Remember House parties normally happen on long weekends - keep an eye on its Facebook page for details.
 
Chicks with Picks
This is a once-a-month Sapphic Sydney favourite, where women can bring their guitars to this open-mic night. Join the Chicks with Picks Facebook page for details about the next session.
 
Daywash
Daywash is one of gay Sydney’s busiest parties, held every few months at the Chinese Laundry venue on Sussex Street beside Darling Harbour. Expect plenty of muscled hunks, a great mix of international, national and local DJs, and of course plenty of unique Daywash surprises. Details on the Daywash website here.
 
GiRLTHING
One of Sydney’s most popular nights for women, the crowd at GiRLTHING enjoys a blend of dance, pop and retro dancefloor classics among some of the city’s most gorgeous Sapphic women. Parties normally happen once a month, and locations vary. Check GIRLTHING on Facebook here.
 
Swagger
Hip Hop/RnB lovers unite at Swagger. Sway to your favourite tracks until the early AM. Get Swagger party details here.
 
CHiCK
CHiCK events are for girls who love girls, featuring sexy vocal house music from iconic female DJs. Check out CHiCK's Facebook page for the next party announcement.
 
Honey
Popular with the bear community, Honey parties are fun, friendly events with a masculine vibe. See the Honey website here.
 
Apollo
Sydney's most over-the-top day party doesn't do anything small... it's big production, big music, big everything at their twice-yearly parties. Held in the iconic Metro Theatre, Apollo promises an experience you'll never forget. Members get first access to the highly sought-after tickets. You can sign up at their website.
 
Club Barcode
Along with DJs and laser lighting, this men-only party gives you a sex-charged atmosphere with XXX shows. Wear as much or as little as you like. Find Club Barcode's website here.
 
UP Dayclub
Go out – stay out! UP Dayclub starts at 5am so you can keep the party going. Up parties happen on long weekends – find details here.
 
Extra Dirty
Proudly born and bred in Sydney's gay underground, Extra Dirty is a gay techno party popular with the leather/fetish crew but open to all. Get party details here.
 
Trough
This is a hot-and-heavy men-only party promising plenty of flesh, sweaty beats and mantastic mayhem plus not-so usual decor, exhibitionist performances and lighting / video installations. Visit the TROUGH Sydney Facebook page for updates.
 

SEX VENUES

Bodyline is located just off Taylor Square at 10 Taylor Street, and is one of Sydney’s most popular all-male sex venues, with a spa and sauna along with private intimate spaces and comfortable spots to relax in.

357 – Sydney City Steam is a four-level sauna/steam/maze/private room venue located at 357 Sussex Street close to Chinatown, and is particularly popular with Asian men and their admirers, though not exclusively.

Sydney Sauna is handily located at level 1, 38/42 Oxford Street and includes a steam room, dry sauna, large spa, movie lounge, dark room, lockable rooms, cruise areas, porn lounges and glory holes.

HeadQuarters is an all-male cruising club at 273 Crown Street in the city, with a variety of rooms and equipment available. Join XXX parties on various nights.


This page is regularly updated. To recommend amendments or additions, please email matt.akersten@mardigrasarts.org.au.