There’s nothing like the harsh reality of the last call to make you realise how hungry – and perhaps how tipsy – you really are. Sometimes the only way to sort yourself out and curb tomorrow’s hangover is to treat yourself to a feast. Whether you prefer sweet, salty or spicy, we’re here to help keep your hangover at the helm with a cheat sheet for a satisfying late-night meal in Sydney that’ll bring you back to your senses.
For your last stop of the night, head to one of these conveniently located venues open late enough at the end of the week to cater to your post-party needs. They’re within walking distance of some of Sydney’s best pubs, clubs and entertainment hotspots.
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Open until: 24/7
Try the: Hot chocolate
Café Hernandez has been roasting coffee longer than a lot of us have been alive, and in 40 years of serving caffeine and Spanish cuisine, they’ve seen their fair share of early morning hagglers. As a night at the Cross comes to an end, wander here to soak up excess alcohol in your system with a chorizo roll or a tortilla. It won’t do much damage to your wallet; everything here is under $10. Grab one of their revered hot chocolates, or if you need a stronger pick-me up, a cup of their house-roasted coffee.
Open until: Fri 2am, Sat 3am
Try the: Stinger
Conveniently located near Kings Cross station, Thirsty Bird is a chicken specialist with a four-step program involving a 24-hour air-dry and a secret spice buttermilk bath to ensure perfect fried bird into the wee hours. If you want something to really wake you up, try the Stinger with their house-made roast chilli sauce, or double up on any burger for an extra $6 to really fill yourself to the brim before heading home.
Open until: Midnight
Try the: Deep-fried dim sum
If you’re going out anywhere in this city you’re probably prepared to spend a few bucks, so if you find yourself coming out of the soon-to-be-extinct Ivy, take only a few steps to find yourself at Mr Wong for a refined return to the land of the living. To really cap the night off with a bang, splurge on 16 duck pancakes for just shy of $100, or keep it budget-friendly with the deep-fried dim sum platter for around $30 as a late night snack.
Open until: 3am
Try the: Jeweller’s Calzone
‘By the slice’ is the operative phrase here. You can score a medicinal slice of whatever’s hot for $6 to guide you home. Frankie’s takes care of you like a good nonna would, with soft lighting, plush seats and a sturdy set of tablecloths for any red sauce spills. If you’ve had a whole-pizza kind of night, you can keep it classic with their Jeweller’s Calzone of salami, ricotta and mozzarella, or treat yourself to the Nonna vs Nonno cheese and truffle paste pizza. If you’re serious about sobering up for the night, steer clear of Frankie’s back room, it’s full of hard rock and harder liquor.
Open until: Fri, Sat 4.30am
Try the: Bogan Sandwich
After a night of dancing in Darlinghurst you’ve probably earned yourself a substantial meal, so go all out with pork belly. Mr Crackles prepares their succulent pig over three days of seasoning, braising and grilling to get that coveted layer of crackling, before it lands on your plate in many different forms. For a snack, they sell crackling by the cup for $6, or sticky pork fries for $13.50, but the aptly named Bogan Sandwich is best for a post-party fuel up, marrying crispy pork with hot chips, cheese and gravy.
Open until: 3am
Try the: Cheese, any cheese
Right in the middle of Oxford Street, Big Poppa’s is best if you’re hungry late at night but can’t take the fluorescent lights of a fast food joint. If strong flavours are your go-to after a bottle of wine, try the three milk Blu di Langa blue cheese or the adventurous toma quattro latte with donkey milk. Ask for the chef’s selection of one hard, blue and soft cheese for $32 if you’re not in a decision-making mood. For a hearty hangover-stopper, there’s also hand-cut pappardelle with lamb ragu.
Open until: Fri, Sat 3am
Try the: Wagyu burger
If you’re in need of a quick bite before the descent to Central but your drunk alter-ego is an irresponsible decision-maker, try Goros’ stripped back, late night food menu. Carefully curated for hungry drinkers, Goros offers a select five Japanese dishes until 2am on weekends. Keep it simple with karaage fried chicken, or go for gold with the wagyu cheeseburger with teriyaki sauce for a plush take on a late night classic.
Open until: 2am
Try the: Fried kibbi
Up the ante from the humble kebab to a hardier Lebanese late-night feed at Surry Hills local Fatima’s. Fried carbs are the most effective drunk fix, so grab some deep fried kibbi balls of minced lamb and crushed wheat, or an all out protein power meal that is the mixed grill with kafta, shish kebab, shawarma and chicken. Fatima’s provides a choice of small, medium or large for most dishes, so you can customise the feast for whatever night you might be having.
Open until: 1am
Try the: Lamb nihari
A favourite amongst many of Sydney’s late night taxi drivers, Tandoori Hut knows how to keep the Inner West going. Stumbling out of a gig at the Enmore, particularly if it’s a sweaty one, often calls for a good feed, and there are few meals more substantial than a curry. Shelter by the warmth of their tandoori oven and try lamb shank nihari stew or some of their tandoori prawns as you sober up.
Open until: Sat 2.30am
Try the: Mac’n’cheese burger
A burger is the perfect balance of meat and carbs for the ravenous post-party patron, so Big Daddy’s Burger Bar is perfect when you’re in Newtown, or drinking nearby their sister stores in Redfern, Darlinghurst and Penrith. For a heart-stopping, carb-tastic end to your evening, attempt the mac’n’cheese burger with some loaded curly fries.
Open until: Fri, Sat 2am
Try the: Murtabak
A rowdy night of karaoke can be exhausting and very hunger-inducing. As you stumble out of your favourite haunt, you’re sure to pass Mamak, a Malaysian restaurant specialising in roti that often has a line stretching right through Chinatown. They’re open late on Friday and Saturday serving both savoury and sweet platters of the rich and flaky pastry. Try the butter-heavy roti planta with spicy sambal, or for a full meal grab the murtabak, a savoury pancake stuffed with spiced chicken or beef. Get ahead of your dehydration with one of their frothy milk teas (teh tarik), or go old school with the Milo ais – iced Milo.
Open until: Fri, Sat 2am
Try the: Snow cheese fried chicken
Arisun prides itself on its strict soundtrack of K-pop hits – the perfect backing for a tipsy late night meal. To pair with the tunes, choose one of ten different types of fried chicken, and curb any carb cravings with a sturdy hot pot of spicy sausage and noodles to warm your soul before crawling home to bed.
Open until: Fri, Sat 1am
Try the: Mortal Sin cake
Bay Vista has been providing sobering sweets to Parramatta locals for more than 25 years, and it’s close enough to the train station to warrant a pit stop as you head home. If it’s been a particularly interesting night, keep it messy with a slice of ‘Mortal Sin’ triple-layered chocolate cake and a scoop of ‘Disaster’ peanut butter ice cream to round it off.
Open until: Sat 2am
Try the: King salmon tacos
It may be better known as Manly’s only beachside Japanese bar, but Daniel San also serves up a fusion of Aussie and Japanese styled dishes available long after most of Manly’s restaurants have packed up for the night. If you’re heading there late and a little haggard, get something light like the king salmon tacos or the hot chipsu fries with yang-nyum sweet and spicy red sauce. Finish with a fried bao ice cream sandwich to keep you sweet and cool even as the headache sets in.
Party for no dollars
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. So you don’t have to scour their event pages, we’ve found the best evenings to head to these eight party spots so you can get in without flashing any cash. Because in da clerb, we all fam.