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Photograph: Supplied/Solotel

The best dancefloors in Sydney

Get your groove on at one of Sydney's most poppin' bars and pubs.

Alannah Maher
Written by
Jordi Kretchmer
&
Alannah Maher
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Dancefloors come in all shapes and sizes in Sydney – sticky-floored pubs can double up as heaving rave caves, slick neon-lit DFs and small bars transform into late-night party dens when local DJs hop behind the decks. 

As of November 8, dancefloors are back in the business of boogie. Nightclubs are now permitted to join pubs and bars in allowing punters to have a little shimmy on the dancefloor – so long as they adhere to the one person per four-square-meter rule, and everyone can provide proof of vaccination. Drinking and eating while standing up is also allowed again, and so is singing. So get ready to belt one out while you raise a drink at the clurb.

Banished be Sydney's reputation as the town in Footloose! Here is a rundown of all the places you can legally break some shapes in the Harbour City right now.

Note: things change quickly and often nowadays. The reopening dates of these venues and their prospective dancefloors will differ. Always plan ahead and check in with individual venues before embarking on your night out.

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  • Clubs
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 1 of 4

This subterranean William street club has a long legacy of day and night parties to rival any of its Continental counterparts. The Berlin-inspired den regularly host nights with Motorik and local selectors. Also the later you head here, the better. 

  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

Sydney’s much loved mid-sized live music venue doubles up as an awesome after-party when gigs conclude. The Gallery bar is usually free, while ticketed events go off in the main bar.

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  • Gay and lesbian
  • Darlinghurst

This hot spot on the 'Pink Mile' of Oxford Street promises pumping tunes and five nights of drag performances every week, with lines often sprawling down the street. Upstairs on Friday and Saturday nights in the former Midnight Shift club, dance parties Fame Fridays and Déjà Vu kick off after drag and dine experience Premiere packs up. 

  • Bars
  • Erskineville
  • price 1 of 4

The basement at Erskineville's LGBTQIA+ haven has got enough sweat and grind about it to make it feel like it deserves to be underground. And the best part is the music. It’s loud, and proud and so early '00s awful that it’s intoxicating. The basement also hosts regular parties from some of Sydney’s best queer collectives: Honcho Disko, Heaps Gay and Girlthing. Between underground affairs, you can have a sip and a bop while drag queens and other fab performers twirl in the ground floor bar.

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Hotel Harry
  • Bars
  • Surry Hills

Harry’s snack game is strong – and what better way to work of fried chicken wings than with a post-dinner dance off. The lounge upstairs goes off with DJs from 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

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  • Bars
  • Newtown
  • price 1 of 4

They cut a mean dancefloor at the monster pub at the Newtown crossroads. Every Wednesday, the Marly's ground floor jumps with local DJs. Come Friday and Saturday nights, all three levels get their groove on: in the basement, Picnic touring presents an electric line up of DJs in rave cave Tokyo Sing Song, and upstairs at Cuckoo you can get weird with live music event YAH!

  • Clubs
  • Darling Harbour

Located in Cockle Bay, this large three-storey nightclub with Harbour views attracts locals and tourists alike for mainstream house music and occassional local live music. For the ultimate kick-on party, Morning Glory starts from 5am every Sunday. 

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Parramatta
  • price 1 of 4

Looking for a dancefloor out west? This Parramatta pub's nightclub space has you covered every weekend evening. Kicking off with RnB and hip hop for Albion Fridays, then, Vibe Saturdays packs DJs, percussion, big beats, and finally, get a taste of Latin/African-inspired music at Tropical Sundays with DJs and guests on rotation every week.

  • Bars
  • Newtown
  • price 1 of 4

You gotta get up to get down at this huge King Street stalwart. Up on the first floor you’ll find a bar and music venue called Waywards. On Wednesdays, queer-femme night Birdcage has transplanted from the now-closed lesbian landmark Sly Fox and the entire main space becomes a dancefloor. Live music is back to full throttle with dancing at live shows in Waywards on Thursdays and Fridays, and Saturday nights bring dancing to the public bar on street level.

 

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  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Boogie to your heart's content at this Surry Hills pub with Lust Song Dedications on the first Thursday of the month: DJ Levins will spin some of your favourite power ballads and tender crooners – you dedicate it, they play it. There's also DJs on the decks every Friday and Saturday night.

Sweethearts Rooftop
  • Restaurants
  • Potts Point

You'll need to climb a lot of stairs to find this al fresco rooftop haven above the Cross, but the snacks are good and the beer is cold. And wouldn't you know it, it's not a bad spot to put a little boogie in it either. On Saturday mornings you can bop, sip and munch along at Morning Tea, the "more civilised", brunchier sister to the beloved kick-on event Morning Glory. 

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Chippendale

The ability to squash so many Sydney scenes inside a modest space is one of the Gladdy'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. On Friday nights 'genreless' weekly party Bloom brings emerging artists and DJs to the decks, and you're in for a knees up on Saturdays and Sunday sessions too.

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  • Nightlife
  • Darlinghurst

This no-frills dive bar is one of the most beloved clubs on the main gay drag of Oxford Street. People tend to head here for daggy, tipple-heavy nights that – more often than not – end up stretching into the wee hours.

  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

While Oxford Street has changed a lot in recent years, this subterranean tropical club’s sunken dancefloor still gets pumping. Keep any eye out for regular parties from Dibby Dibby Soundsystem and a 2000s-themed rager called the Naughty Noughties.

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  • Music
  • Bondi Junction

This Bondi club gets a solid dancefloor going on the weekend. Featuring a state of the art sound system and live music set up, this crew is still spicing things up in the retail-dominated Bondi Junction.

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