First published on 19 Mar 2012. Updated on 21 Mar 2012.
Let’s face it, gay bars aren’t for everyone. Sometimes you just want a drink and a good time without the pop soundtrack, disco balls and well-defined cliques – but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to hook up. Lucky for you, we’ve scoured this big city – okay, we looked in Newy, Surry and Darlo – for the most gay-friendly straight bars Sydney is offering. So next time you want to start the night straight, but end it very, very gay, we recommend…
Courthouse Hotel (Newtown)
Nestled in the heart of one of Sydney’s oldest and most established gay scenes, the Courthouse shines as a strobing beacon of hope for all those looking for a decidedly ‘not toogay’ night out… but who still want to hook up with hot guys. Packed with a mix of scruffy uni students (hot), unemployed musicians (hotter) and centuries-old locals (er…) the Courty is the perfect place to let your secret straight flag fly for the night with some lo-carb beer and chilled conversation. The vast majority of heteros need not put you off –anything this close to King St draws plenty of attractive and like-minded boys and girls join in your evening of faux-straightness.
Come for Bearded boys, badass babes and band groupies in Newtown’s premier secretly hetero beer garden. 202 Australia St, Newtown 2042. 02 9519 8273.
Kings Cross Hotel (the Cross)
The sheer size of the place means every night there is a vast fruit salad of straight people, gays and lesbians and everything in between. The multi-level super pub may feel a bit suburban-hotel-meets-casino, and at first glance is very ‘straight’ indeed’. But it’s actually a perfect place to have a dance and listen to Sydney’s most exciting up and coming young bands… all the while keeping the door open for Mr/Mrs Right Now to sidle on through. With free entry and cheapish drinks, the Kings Cross Hotel is definitely your best and most economical bet for a gay-friendly straight night in the Cross. Ensure you’re gaydar’s tuned, though: those roided-up Friday nighters won’t take kindly to being wrongly propositioned.
Come for Cheap drinks and the size factor – the place is so big, and so heaving with the young and thriftily sloshed, you’re bound to leave plastered and paired. 248 William St, Kings Cross 2011. 02 9331 9900.
The Cricketers Arms (Surry Hills)
With all the charm of your local but all the style of a Shoreditch club night, you know this pub well as the favourite of the trendy-but-friendly Surry Hills hipsters. But did you know it makes for a great gay date night? The pub’s tininess probably discounts the chance of a messy, dance floor hook-up (a shame given the level of talent behind and in front of the bar!), but it is the perfect place to bring a significant other or first date for an intimate chat and glass of mulled wine. The pub’s obvious proximity to Sydney’s HQ also ensures singletons have the perfect place to get drunk enough to face the squawking, throbbing, fluoro crowds down the road. It also expands your Grndr options. The any-time-of-day cheese toasties are also a must whether you’re gay, straight, bi or penguin.
Come for The perfect venue to tip your confused straight friend over the edge in a casual and cosy environment. 106 Fitzroy St, Surry Hills 2010. 02 9331 3301.
The Beresford Hotel (Darlinghurst)
On the other side of the Cricketers coin is the glamorous and closeted Beresford. The favourite watering hole of Surry Hills’s more moneyed-up yuppies – and our unscientific survey says about 98 percent of those are swinging for our team – the bar has developed a very positive reputation amongst the city’s gay community. Come here on a Sunday arvo for some fancy cocktails and fun with a view to moving to the makeshift dance floor later on in the night. Perfect for the well-groomed gay who loves the finer things in life but loves a messy night out even more. Don’t be put off by the line, what lies within is more than worth it.
Come for Sunday night gay nights. 354 Bourke St, Darlinghurst 2010. 02 9357 1111.
Darlo Bar (Darlinghurst)
Perhaps Sydney’s most conveniently positioned bar, an equally short walk from both Oxford St and Kings Cross, the Darlo attracts mixed company. On any given night, the bar will be full of suits and skinny jeans, Prada and Vinnies, and the variety doesn’t stop there. One thing they all have in common: they’re all at least sevens. Gay dudes will generally cluster upstairs in the smoker-friendly terrace space, green and lovely and decked out with picnic furniture. In the day, it’s simply gorgeous; by night, it’s heaving with hotties and just dimly lit enough to get your stare on without looking overly suss. Have a drink with friends, play some charmingly old school pub trivia and keep your second eye peeled for someone to spend the latter hours of the evening with.
Come for Hotties on a terrace a short walk from pretty much everywhere. 306 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst 2010. 02 9331 3672.