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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.