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Two drag queens pose by bar holding cocktails
Photograph: Anna Kucera | Miss 3D and Etcetera Etcetera at the Imperial Hotel, Erskineville

The best gay and queer pubs, bars and clubs in Sydney

Head to one of these popular LGBTQIA+ spaces for a good time

Alannah Maher
Written by
Time Out editors
&
Alannah Maher
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From the historical drag palace to subterranean digs – we've got you covered for where to go for a gay old time. These pubs and clubs serve Sydney's LGBTQIA+ communities with open arms, providing safe spaces, thrilling parties and quiet beers with a side of queer most nights of the week. 

Honourable mention goes to Oxford Street stalwart Arq, which looks like its closed for good. Pour one out for all those makeouts in the toilets and deep and meaningful chats out back in Trash Alley.

If you're after some outdoor fun, have a look through our list of gay-friendly beaches.

Pop on your ruby slippers and follow us down the yellow brick road, here's where to find rainbow paths and crossings in Sydney.

Where to find a good gay time in Sydney

  • Bars
  • Erskineville
  • price 1 of 4

The launching site from the famous bus journey in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, this pub has been a historical safe space for Inner West LGBTQIA+ communities since the early '80s. Head here for regular drag shows, fabulous food, and a killer subterranean dancefloor. Bring your nan to drag n' dine, or find subversive events like Honcho Disko in the basement.

  • Bars
  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

In a former life the Bero was a famous gay bar, and the gentlemen of Darlinghurst are still well-represented in the crowd (especially on Sunday nights). The prettiest boys in Sydney pack out the courtyard here, and after a few pints, they start to head upstairs to the dedicated concert space and nightclub dancefloor. 

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  • Gay and lesbian
  • Darlinghurst

This Oxford Street venue has nicely cultivated itself into an inclusive hub where you can drink cocktails with rubber ducks in them and see drag most nights of the week, from lively amateur performers to the matriachs of the Pink Mile. The upstairs night club, formerly known as the stalwart Midnight Shift, transforms into a sparkling pop-up dinner theatre most weekends before the dancefloor heats up. 

  • Bars
  • Redfern
  • price 1 of 4

The weird and wonderful are welcomed at Redfern’s neighbourhood art bar; there is a mix of punters that properly reflects the Sydney rainbow, and nobody gives it a second thought (that's right, a toilet is a toilet here so there's no awkwardness when choosing what door to open). What it lacks in size, it makes up for in heart.

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Ching-a-lings
  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst
  • price 1 of 4

The tricky thing about this small bar is finding it, but hey – no sign, no line. The entrance is simply a small doorway behind a friendly bouncer with zero attitude. The rest is easy-peasy. You'll find big vibes in a small space (plus an outdoor wooden deck) and events including queer-centric life drawing nights and lofi drag shows with big camp energy. 

 

The Colombian Hotel
  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

One of the best spots on Oxford for kicked-back vibes, fabulous people watching and a cheeky boogie. This former bank is one of Oxford Street’s more revered and historic gay bars. The Colombian’s spacious street-level bar features cushy booths for a midnight pash and bar-stool seating that screams ‘you’re one chardonnay away from falling off me' and a generous window where punters can sit and people-watch as the hours tick by. 

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The Oxford Hotel
  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

A grab bag of themes, patrons and specials are always on offer at this longstanding corner pub. The basement of this iconic gay bar, known as Undergound, is a boutique bar and club. One level up you’ll find the main (street level) bar with an open floorplan and outdoor deck. On level two sits the recently refurbed Ginger's – dedicated to showcasing cabaret, drag shows and live music. 

  • Nightlife
  • Darlinghurst

This no-frills dive bar is one of the most beloved clubs on Oxford Street. People tend to head here for daggy, tipple-heavy nights that – more often than not – end up stretching into the wee hours. It's not the cool factor that draws the crowds, who often line-up down the street to get in, but rather the opposite: the messy fun vibes, daggy disco ambience and DJ sets of back-to-back '90s and '00s bangers.

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Stonewall Hotel
  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

Drag bonanzas, diva-heavy video clips, playful punters, drinks in beach buckets... what more do you want? Catch drag shows in the street level bar and head upstairs for multiple levels of dancefloors, podiums and cages where you can shake your thing. 

  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

The Burdekin is a skinny corner pub that has been guarding the entrance to Oxford Street since 1847. In addition to its regular roster of DJs pumping out house and party tunes, interspersed with drag queens doing spot numbers and the odd metal gig, this old-timer has added a rooftop bar to the mix. While there's more of a mixed crowd nowadays, it's still a great inclusive place to kick off your night. 

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