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A performer on stage at Show Us Ya Tips
Photograph: Supplied/Show Us Ya Tips

The best free nightlife in Sydney

Hit the town and head to one of these wallet-friendly nights out

Olivia Gee
Written by
Olivia Gee
Written by Maya Skidmore
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We all love free things. And when it comes to partying, for many of us, the free-er is always the better.

For those of you with itchy dancing feet and fiscal responsibility, we suggest you get more bang for your buck with cut-price drinks and no cover charges in clubs, bars and party basements that are putting the free in footloose and fancy free. Trust us, they exist. 

Just so you don’t have to scour their event pages, we’ve found these party spots so you can get in without flashing any cash. Because in da clerb, we all fam.

Don't mind throwing down some cashola? Have a squiz at our list of the best dancefloors in Sydney.

Free nightlife in Sydney

  • Clubs
  • House, disco and techno
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 1 of 4

Best night to visit: Friday

This subterranean club has had a few leases on life – it was once a favoured haunt of the city’s goth and fetish community and it then went on to serve as a destination for club kids across the city. Now, it's back with a total redux – there's kitschy interiors, big ass booths, snacks till late and DJs on every night. Free entry is a go from Monday to Friday, meaning you can jazz up your week with some fresh tunes and low-budget partying that is bound to thrill any fiscally-responsible dancing feet. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Erskineville
  • price 1 of 4

Best night to visit: Sunday.

The Inner West’s famous queer pub is an opulent party hive. Sashay away to ‘I Will Survive’ with drag queens in the front bar, get down to intoxicating ’00s tunes in the sweaty-but-sexy basment, or take that dancefloor grind buddy on an impromptu dinner date at Priscillas. Boogie in every cranny of the beloved venue for ‘Explore Yourself Sunday’, with free entry, DJs, drag performances, live shows and audience lip sync battles. You’ll also get into the underground Friday party for free most weeks, but we're always keen to stack up cash for their paid events, too.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Surry Hills

Best night to visit: Thursdays

They sure know how to fill a week here. There’s a colourful adventure from Monday-Saturday which you can normally join for free or $10 after 10pm ($15 if you arrive in your pumpkin coach after midnight). Wednesdays are $1 wings affairs,  Thursdays are themed nights (ABBA comes along reasonably often), and over the weekend they bring in live musicians and DJs to get you grooving. 

  • Nightlife
  • Newtown

Best night to visit: Wednesday

For more than 12 years, Birdcage has been a homing beacon for Sydney's queer women and a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folks to cut a rug. Formerly roosting at the dearly departed Sly Fox on Enmore Road, Birdcage is now bringing all the chicks to the yard mid-week up on King Street at the Bank. This good time Newotwn pub is open for dancing from 8pm to 2am every Wednesday night, bringing free entry, glitzy fun and an assortment of DJs and drag hosts to spice up your mid-week.  

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars

When it comes to our best and brightest bars, who also cost nothing to enter? We've gotta hand it to you, Sydney. You didn't make this easy. Our town is awash with great places to grab a drink and for that, we will be forever grateful. We’ve whittled this update down to focus on what really matters most to us in a bar – what it is, why we love it and whatever hot tips we think will make your visit even better. The bottom line, however, is still the same: if it's on this list, we think it's a winner – and we hope that you do, too.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Chippendale

Best night to visit: Friday

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. The Gladstone has come to the rescue of the casual party – not the dress-to-the-nines style night out, but the kind of after-work hangs that see two wines become six, or an afternoon session that ends up kicking on until the wee small hours. You don’t need to plan it – just show up and have a good time. 

 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Enmore
  • price 2 of 4

Best night to visit: Friday

Jacoby's is a cocktail bar unlike any other. With free entry, you'll come in chuffed and rich (yes). Inside, you'll find a motley crew of people who are there to have a good time, a solid chat, and will remember your name while still shaking up a perfect Daiquiri. It’s very easy to have a good time here, and even easier to leave them in possession of all your money, because with a smashable wine list that leans natural, juicy and exciting you won’t be able to stop at just one glass. And neither can anyone else, which is why the whole bar will end up singing along to George Michael’s ‘Faith’. You won’t want to leave.

 

Ivy Thursdays
  • Bars
  • Sydney

Best night to visit: Thursday

Ivy Thursdays is one of Sydney's longest running weeknight parties, known for it's backpacker crowd and pumping pop ballad dance offs. This iconic Sydney venue is normally pretty pricey when it comes to entry, but, if you head down on Thursdays before 10pm, you'll find that entry is totally, totally free. If you don't make it between their opening at 9pm and the zero-dollar cut off at 10pm, you'll just have to hand over a nifty $10 and be on your merry way. Not too shabby. 

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  • Bars
  • Sydney
  • price 1 of 4

Best night to visit: Friday
The heart of the business district is not where you’d expect to find an underground heavy metal pizza party, but Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice doesn’t much go in for the expected. The front room feels like a pizza parlour from a movie set, but it’s more Ninja Turtles than Sopranos. There are postcards and old photos tacked to the walls; red and white tablecloths and candles in bottles; and they sure can bake the heck out of a pepperoni pizza. They’ll also sell you a slice of whatever is hot for $6 – a night here is one you should prime for. Plus, you don't have to pay nothin' to get in. Delicious. 

  • Nightlife
  • Petersham

Best night to visit: Saturday

If you wanted to get in on one of the Inner West’s best hidden treasures, you might want to prime your game and head down to the Oxford Tavern in Petersham on of their selected monthly Saturday's for their show-stopping event; Show Us Ya Tips. Hosted by city renowned DJs, The Dollar Bin Darlings, this erotic event is one that's not to be missed. 

 

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