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Laneway art
Photograph: Destination NSW

Where to go out at night in the Blue Mountains

From Springwood to Blackheath, Leura to Katoomba, the mountains have a lively nightlife scene – check out these six places to go out during your getaway

By Time Out in association with Destination NSW and Blue Mountains City Council
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Three sisters walk into a bar… The Blue Mountains may be high on your list of getaway destinations close to Sydney, but when you think about them you probably have breathtaking views and bracing hikes on your mind more so than things to do after dark. 

As it happens, the Blue Mountains have many great places to eat, drink or see a show. Whisky, craft beer and local wines are showcased in top-notch establishments, alongside food options from affordable to fancy, and every weekend the live music scene goes off. Here are six of the best ways to spend an evening in the Blue Mountains – along with our suggestions on how to make a complete weekend of it, with top accommodation picks, galleries to visit, cafés and shopping must-dos.

A bartender mixing cocktails
A bartender mixing cocktails
Photograph: Supplied/Bootlegger Bar

1. The Bootlegger Bar, Katoomba

Where: 92 Bathurst Rd, Katoomba
Open: Wed-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm; Mon 5pm-midnight (closed Tue) 

With an old-time western barroom ambience – check out those bentwood chairs – and a matching taste for whisky, the Bootlegger Bar is a must-visit for a tipple and a hearty feed. The bar occupies the famous art deco Niagara building on Bathurst Road, and specialises in American-style brisket, pulled pork and ribs as well as burgers. Whisky flights give you three themed whiskies to try: it’s an opportunity to expand your knowledge of bourbon, rye, Australian or Japanese whisky, sing malt Scotch or gin. Local products on the menus include wine from Megalong Creek Estate and Dryridge Estate, beer from Brew Mountains, and Grose Vale-distilled Karu Gin. Bookings are recommended here – especially if you’d like a good table to watch the live music acts that perform every weekend. 

Make a weekend of it in Katoomba: Stay at elegant duplex Lurline Villas, halfway between the Three Sisters and Katoomba Town Centre. Brunch on the famous toasties at Frankly My Dear Coffee. Visit the ever-changing art exhibitions – or even get creative at a workshop – at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Blackheath Bar and Bistro
Blackheath Bar and Bistro
Photograph: Blackheath Bar and Bistro

2. Blackheath Bar and Bistro

Where: Shop 1, 35-41 Govetts Leap Rd, Blackheath
Open: Wed, Thu, Sun 4-10pm; Fri, Sat 4pm-midnight

Blackheath Bar and Bistro occupies the former Blackheath hardware store with its distinctive green tiles out the front. The venue now boasts stylish interiors, a large range of craft beers and ciders, a menu focusing on locally sourced seasonal produce, and live music with the Gigs on Govetts program. Food leans towards pub classics with smatterings of Asia (salt and Szechuan pepper squid) and America (Southern fried chicken wings). The venue is family friendly with a good kids’ menu. You’re not obliged to order food if you just want a drink, however, and happy hour is weekdays 4-6pm with $5 drink specials.

Make a weekend of it in Blackheath: Stay amid the landscaped gardens and period charm of the George Boutique Hotel. Get breakfast and a Campos coffee at Anonymous Café. Peruse Day Gallery’s showcase of contemporary Australian artists, and don’t miss the enormous Victory Theatre Antiques, a treasure trove of retro, kitsch and antique objects, books, clothing and furniture, housed in a 1921 former cinema.

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A bartender mixing cocktails
A bartender mixing cocktails
Photograph: Supplied/Station Bar

3. Station Bar, Katoomba

Where: 287 Bathurst Rd, Katoomba
Open: Daily noon-midnight

Aptly named, as it’s located right by the station at the very top of Katoomba’s main street, Station Bar has an enviable reputation for the very best woodfired pizza in the Blue Mountains. Don’t expect VPN-certified pizza like they make in old Napoli, however: you can get kangaroo, crocodile, smoked salmon, lamb, chicken or duck on a base here, and the Vegemite entrée pizza confirms their love of umami Australiana. Live music plays every Friday and Saturday night, so settle in and try making a dent in the wine, cocktail and boutique beer lists, and leave happy.   

Make a weekend of it in Katoomba: The Gatsby is an elegant house where you can enjoy a stay infused with jazz-era romance and luxury. The Yellow Deli is a legendary international café franchise where you can grab a luxe sandwich. Browse paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass art and Indigenous art at Lost Bear Gallery and Gallery One88; and get even more live music with a Sunday sesh with Slack-off Sundays at Aunty Ed’s.

A bartender mixing a cocktail
A bartender mixing a cocktail
Photograph: Supplied/Fairmont Resort & Spa Blue Mountains

4. Sublime Lounge, Leura

Where: Fairmont Resort & Spa, 1 Sublime Point Rd, Leura
Open: Daily 10am-late

Girls’ getaways are a bit of a thing at the multi-award-winning Fairmont Resort and Spa, and one of the main drawcards is its chic bar offering, Sublime Lounge. You can enjoy a Devonshire Tea or coffee and cake by day here, or an afternoon glass of fine Australian wine or a Sydney Brewery craft beer or cider along with the golden-hour views of the resort grounds. And how does classic cocktails and light refreshments in front of the fireplace sound for an evening’s diversion? Sublime Lounge is for guests only, so expect to be taken care of properly.

Make a weekend of it in Leura: Fairmont Resort and Spa has boutique-style accommodation, rejuvenation at Ubika Day Spa, a variety of restaurants with incredible views and even an adventure park. Brunch in autumnal splendour at Sorenson’s Glasshouse and Gardens, and get dinner at top local restaurant Leura Garage – don’t go past the famous slow-cooked lamb shank.

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The Old City Bank Bar and Brasserie, Katoomba
The Old City Bank Bar and Brasserie, Katoomba
Photograph: Supplied

5. The Old City Bank Bar & Brasserie, Katoomba

Where: The Carrington Hotel, 15-47 Katoomba St, Katoomba
Open: Thu-Tue (closed Wed) noon-late 

The Old City Bank Bar & Brasserie was originally built as a literal bank for the Carrington’s guests (ATMs were still many decades in the future), and converted into a saloon bar in the 1930s. With a polished wooden bar and a fireplace, the Old City Bank Bar now specialises in craft beer, hearty meals (chase that Porterhouse steak with a slice of New York cheesecake), and live music every Friday and Saturday night. The Baroque Room nearby is Katoomba’s top live music and cabaret venue, hosting the biggest acts to come through the Blue Mountains. Recent gigs include Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), Daniel Champagne, the Gadflys and Imogen Clark.

Make a weekend of it in the Blue Mountains: The Carrington Hotel's grand, historic surrounds have been wowing visitors to the mountains since 1883 – check in here or try the more modern opulence and front-row Jamison Valley views of Echoes Boutique Hotel. Finish any evening with a nightcap at Champagne Charlie’s Cocktail Bar and start the next day the right way down the road at Lawson with delicious pastries and coffee at the organic Black Cockatoo Bakery.

Amanda Palmer at the Blue Mountains Theatre
Amanda Palmer at the Blue Mountains Theatre
Photograph: Brigitte Grant

6. Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood

Where: 106-108 Macquarie Rd, Springwood

Opened in 2015, this theatre and community centre in the foothills of the Blue Mountains boasts a 436-seat theatre where classical and contemporary music concerts take place as well as film screenings, opera, ballet and drama. The venue has hosted acclaimed international acts (Amanda Palmer, Bill Frisell Trio, the Soweto Gospel Choir), Australian artists (Vince Jones, Ian Moss, Marina Prior and David Hobson, Lior, the Necks and the Whitlams), comedy (Anh Do, Kitty Flanagan, Jimeon and the Kransky Sisters) and local community shows by the Blue Mountains Musical Society, Blue Mountains Orchestra and Blue Mountains Concert Society. Park free for four hours at the back of the facility and get a drink from the foyer bar before the show. Local cafés, pubs, and restaurants are within strolling distance.

Make a weekend of it in the lower Blue Mountains: Stay in a cottage surrounded by private gardens at Studio Cottages in Faulconbridge. Get dinner before the show at 2773, Glenbrook’s place to go for unpretentious but very tasty Asian, pizza and sharing plates. Brunch the next day at Dbl Ristetto in Springwood – they’re strong on vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and smoothies. Art fans can’t miss the former home of legendary artist and author Norman Lindsay at the Norman Lindsay Gallery and community exhibitions at the beautiful Braemar Gallery

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