Time Out Sydney

Where to throw shapes till all hours of the morning

Sydney's nightlife scene – despite the lockouts – is still as colourful and diverse as ever. There's a strong set of local producers and DJs, complemented by plenty great venues where you can head for a boogie. Not into electronic music? Don't worry: there's live music, juice bars, drag shows, cabaret and even bowling alleys, which will lure even the most sceptical clubber to one of Sydney's favourite nightspots.

Best for local talent

Chinese Laundry and Oxford Art Factory
The top-notch sound system at Chinese Laundry attracts up-and-coming producers, DJs and established beatmakers like KLP, Acaddamy and Wordlife. Oxford Art Factory has a live room and usually follows every gig with DJs till the early hours of the morning.

Best for a mid-week rager

World Bar and El Topo Basement
World Bar pumps out boozy teapots and floor-filling sets seven days a week. The Banquet and Wall parties attract a younger crowd lured by live art, drink specials and sometimes even donuts(!!). El Topo Basement also pulls ’em in on Wednesdays with DJs, tacos and tequila to fuel the antics.

Best for niche and underground vibes

Freda's and Civic Underground Subterranean techno den Spice Cellar hosts international DJs until the early hours of the morning. Freda’s transforms from canteen to tropical disco haven with vinyl nights and performance artists. Or head to Civic Underground to hear house maestros do their thing at the Adult Disco parties.

Best for burlesque and cabaret

Tokyo Sing Song and Slide
Tokyo Sing Song curates the offbeat entertainment, from secret discos to dress-up parties. Slide hosts modern neo-burlesque shows.

Best for an alfresco boogie

The Island and Kings Cross Hotel
The Island is a floating bar in Sydney Harbour that attracts sun-loving party people who jet out for DJ sets complemented by sublime views. The rooftop of the Kings Cross Hotel has an outdoor terrace where punters can boogie while looking out over the famous Coca-Cola sign.

Best for dancefloor fillers

Standard Bowl, Cliff Dive and Goodgod
Looking for some crowd-pleasing, genre-dodging but still accessible beats? The Standard Bowl has a free bowling alley, live music venue and bar all rolled into one. Downstairs, Lo-Fi boasts psychedelic interiors (courtesy of local design duo Romance Was Born), chilled beats and bright cocktails. The DJs at basement bar Cliff Dive flex all sorts from party anthems to obscure Caribbean beats you can enjoy while sipping a tropical cocktail. Over at the Goodgod, you’ll find kooky '90s music parties and gigs by indie bands.

Best for big room EDM

Ivy and Marquee
Mega-club Marquee boasts LED screens and go-go dancers and attracts big name international stars for after-parties and one-off DJ sets. Over at Ivy every Saturday night is Pacha Sydney, a ‘circlesque’ extravaganza with headline DJs, fire dancing and burlesque. Escape to the top floor for cocktails by the pool.

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Updated on 18 Sep 2015.

By Jordan Kretchmer   |  
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