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Late night venues without a lockout

Behold, our list of the places you CAN go to keep your night going

Photograph: Anna Kucera

Sydney, the lock-out laws are now in place: no entering a venue in the designated CBD and Kings Cross areas after 1.30am and no booze after 3am. But outside those areas there are plenty of late-night options in town to keep your evening rolling along. Here are our picks.

Agincourt Hotel

This late-night pub at Central has live gigs in the basement bar Wednesdays through Saturdays and $12 meals at lunch. With the new lockout laws in place, it's likely to become a popular after-after-hours destination. 

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Ultimo

Bar Broadway

With Mama Wong's Garden Restaurant now open and live music Thursdays and Saturdays, the Central landmark is overcoming its noisy sports-bar past. That said, it's still a noisy student hangout with a cheap and cheerful vibe.

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Ultimo

Goros

It was a mammoth job transforming the old Tailors on Central into a Japanese booze and snack palace. The first round of the extreme makeover covered the basics, but the space still felt deserted on a quiet night. Round two has finally banished the last vestiges of that dreary tavern – it's now Goros, a low-lit bar decked out in splashes of rainbow neon, figurines, lanterns, bamboo and three kickass-looking karaoke booths.

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Surry Hills

Madison Hotel

A solid local with cheap meals and big screen sports, pool tables and a video jukebox. It's open late and it's next to Central: that's reason enough, right?

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Surry Hills

Strawberry Hills Hotel

Once a wizened watering hole for elderly gents and gig-goers spilling over from the nearby Gaelic Club, the Strawberry Hills has been rebirthed as a hipster hideaway following a snazzy refurbishment and the possession of a rare 24-hour license.

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Surry Hills

Churchills Sports Bar

Fancy a flutter? Every sporting event you can think of is available on the big screens here and they have a bistro menu that stretches from breakfast through to late night snacks so you are all sorted for game day.

 

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Kingsford

East Leagues Club Bondi

It's the Bondi home of the Roosters, so have a tipple, enjoy some live music on Saturdays, or score big on the meat raffle. 

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Bondi Junction

The Eastern

Bondi Junction's four-level watering hole has had a helluva facelift and now can be broken down into four distinct venues (something not unlike the ivy). The public bar downstairs is now Good Times Burgers while upstairs is undergoing some changes, so stay tuned. Next up is the El Topo Basement (not a basement) with Mexican hideout El Topo sitting at the top of the pile.

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Bondi Junction

Randi Wix

Avoca Street's legendary restaurant/bar/club is open for business a scant three nights a week and it has the distinction of being both hard to find and difficult to describe: but how many venues can boast a dancefloor covered in Saturn-print carpet?

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Randwick

Regent Hotel

The Kingsford corner pub is one of the closest to UNSW and it shows: staff and customers skew young. And to be honest, that chance to relive your uni days is part of what makes this your best bet along the Kingsford-to-Kensington Anzac Parade strip. And it stays open late on weekends.

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Kingsford

Robin Hood Hotel

This cosy local does trivia on Monday nights, karaoke on Fridays and is open until 3am every night except Sundays. Amazing.

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Waverley

The Bank Hotel

There are four main quadrants to this late-night hotel at the tipping point of King Street. The front bar is a quiet sports bar most nights, and a seat in the open window is tops for people watching, but on weekends things get rowdier. Up the back and down the stairs is a sunken beer garden with a retractable roof and scads of heaters for chilly evenings. Up on the first floor you’ll find Waywards, a bar and music venue open Thursdays through Saturdays, but at the heart of this vast establishment is Uncle Hops, their cosy craft beer bar.

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Newtown

The Bridge Hotel

Old-school Aussie pub rock is the mainstay at this pub and concert venue. Think Angels, Dragon, Diesel, Ian Moss, and the like. Plus it has a famously late night licence, which has earned it a reputation as the 'Last Chance for Romance' in this neck of the Inner West. 

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Rozelle

The Lord Gladstone

Sydney might be struggling to keep the late-night vibes pumping, but there’s a rebel force of party people and most weekends they are congregating at the Lord Gladstone. The ability to squash so many Sydney scenes inside a modest space is one of this pub’s most  impressive attributes. On an unremarkable Saturday night you’ve got Bondi babes, queer indie kids, footy fans, sneaker-freakers, hip hop heads and what appears to be a crew of nonchalant models all cramming into the concrete courtyard for a good time. 

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Chippendale

The Marlborough Hotel

The Marly seems to have finally settled into its groove as the monster pub at the Newtown crossroads with a little something for everyone after hours. Upstairs Miss Peaches is still happily dishing up soul food and American beers to rock’n’roll tunes, downstairs the lock out-free club, Tokyo Sing Song is pulling punters like its free ice cream day at the fair, and in between beats the heart of an old school pub.

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Newtown

Marquee Sydney

At Marquee, like in Vegas, money talks. Cover on an average night will set you back $30, for a night like Avicii you’re looking at $60, a glass of house wine goes for around $15, the bar has a minimum card charge of $100 and to sit down at one of the club’s tables you’ll need to drop a cool $10,000. But most importantly, it's outside the lockout zone.

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Darling Harbour

Slyfox

This Enmore dive bar has been taken over by Kerry Wallace (one of the people behind SASH) and friends, and now boasts a mean Funktion1 sound system and a solid roster of parties. You'll find regular queer nights, fresh band gigs, and the legends from Bad Deep doing a bi-monthly, themed takeover of the whole venue.

 

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Enmore

Tokyo Sing Song

Super offbeat entertainment is the order of the day at this late-night basement bar on King Street. Each month, a new curator takes over the venue and programs a bunch of pretty crazy stuff – it might be a band, it might be DJs, it more likely will be an experimental artist determined to mess with you, big time. 

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Newtown

Town Hall Hotel

There are those who hold being thrown out of the Townie as a badge of honour, since the staff are notoriously understanding of the youthful high spirits that accompany a night out. With a late, late licence and conveniently situated but a hop, step and a woozy stagger from Newtown train station, it's an integral part of the community. 

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Newtown

ZanziBar

Sometimes you can turn an average drinking session into something special just by adding a flight of stairs. The rooftop bar at Zanzibar may require a bit of a climb but trust us, it’s worth it. It's decked out with wrought-iron furniture, spiky potted plants and terracotta tiles; squint, and you could almost be drinking in Marrakech. Of course after 10pm you'll be shepherded downstairs where the party ramps up unitl late.

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Newtown

Crows Nest Hotel

The Crowie is an infamous late night haunt on the lower north shore. They screen UFC and the English Premiere League in addition to all the Australian football codes and they go hard on happy hours for the North Sydney knock-off crowds. But their real appeal lies in their 6am closing time on Fridays nights and 5am on Saturdays for when you have a lot of steam that needs blowing off.

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Crows Nest

Minskys Hotel

Need to discuss the arthouse film you just saw at the Orpheum? Do it over a glass of the Endeavour Harvest Growers bright ale, a Peroni or one of the Matilda Bay suite – they’ve got the amber ale, the pilsner and the sparkling on tap. The blue-tiled kitchen does typical European tavern fare, and they keep doing it until 1am. 

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Cremorne

Prefer to party by day?

The best Sunday sessions in Sydney

Do you want to see our your weekend in a craft brewery filled with local dogs, or watch the tide roll away at a seaside haunt? These are the places we want to cool our heels at before the working week kicks off again. 

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By: Emily Lloyd-Tait

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