the heart of Sydney’s gay area, swarms with cafés and
clubs (gay, straight and mixed) while the established red light
district of Kings Cross continues to cater for the seedier side
The Rocks, with its wharves
and warehouses, was the original drinking heart of Sydney and in
the early 20th century, the rowdy scene of the ritual ‘6 o’clock
swill’, when workers would drink as much as possible before
the pubs closed at 6.00 pm.
Today, the period pubs have been cleaned up for the huge
tourist consumers. Drinks at the harbour side terrace across
the bay, at Bennelong Point under the curves of the Sydney Opera
House, are expensive but also worth it for the views.
Bouncers at the more fashionable clubs enforce firm dress
codes and ID checks. The days of the 6
o’clock swill are long gone, as Sydney’s licensing hours
are extremely relaxed. At any hour of the day or night, someone
somewhere is serving drinks to any person over the legal
age of 18. The
price of a drink is generally between A $4 and A $10.
For up to date listings, free weekly entertainment
Media and 3D
World are available at most city centre bookshops and record
stores, as is the gay and lesbian Sydney
The Sydney Morning Herald also carries an ample entertainment
guide, ‘Metro’, in the Friday edition.
The Establishment lives up to its name as
Sydney’s de rigueur after work drinking place. Stylish and
enormous, it incorporates the exclusive Hemmesphere cocktail lounge.
Address: 252 George Street
Middle Bar plays
host to many stunning young things.
Address: 383 Bourke Street
offers a classy take on the traditional Sydney pub, as does the
beautiful Art Deco Civic.
East Village address: 234 Palmer Street
Art Deco Civic address: 388 Pitt Street.
has beautiful views of the Harbour Bridge and equally as stunning
Address: 69 Macquarie Street
The Victoria Room
fills out its cavernous space with British colonial décor
and classy drinkers.
Address: 235 Victoria Street
which is on the corner of Oxford Street and Crown Street, offers
the best of both worlds, straight upstairs and gay downstairs.
The Stonewall is another good place to start
a gay night out in Sydney, there are DJs, drag shows and friendly
faces in abundance.
Address: 175 Oxford Street
The Darlo Bar,
(address: 306 Liverpool Street) the Green Park Hotel, (address:
360 Victoria Street) and the Bank Hotel, (address: 324 King Street)
are where the younger inner city crowd congregate for pool and beer.
City Casino, is a A $60 million casino, restaurant, theatre
and hotel complex on the site of a former wharf. Dress code is smart
/ casual and the gaming section is restricted to people 18 years
and over. A passport or other proof of age is necessary.
Address: 80 Pyrmont Street
Telephone: (02) 9777 90000
Website address: www.starcity.com.au
Sydney takes clubbing very seriously, it is always safer to dress
up rather than down and it is advised to be prepared to queue.
Home has 4 different sections featuring techno,
funk, 2 step and disco.
Address: Cockle Bay Wharf
Tank, is part
of The Establishment complex (please see bars section).
Address: 3 Bridge Lane
The Chinese Laundry combines a blistering sound system
with mock East Asian decor.
Address: 1 Slip Street
Sydney’s well connected society clubbers go to Cave,
Pirrama Road, whilst the old stand-by, Q Bar, 44
Oxford Street, is a dependable choice for mid week clubbing.
Other Prominent venues include Gas, 467 Pitt Street,
Soho, 171 Victoria Street, and The World
Bar, 24 Bayswater Road. The gay dance scene revolves around
Arq, 16 Flinders Street.
The Comedy Store is open from Tuesday to Saturday,
and is Sydney’s premier venue showcasing local, national and
international stand up talent.
Address: Fox Studios, Lang Road
Telephone: (02) 9357 1419
Website address: www.comedystore.com.au
Monday night is comedy night at the Fringe Bar,
Address: Unicorn Hotel, 106 Oxford Street
Telephone: (02) 9360 3554).
The Laugh Garage, situated in the Agincourt Hotel, corner of
George Street and Harris Street is open Fridays and Saturdays (telephone:
(02) 8883 1111).
The Sydney Festival which is held in January, features
open air concerts and theatre from around the world, alongside Sydney’s
best. The Biennale of Sydney, held from May to
July of even numbered years, is an international contemporary art
festival held in combination with the Museum of Contemporary
Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
& Lesbian Mardi Gras is a month long festival in February
/ March, which is famous for its colourful and lively parade along
Oxford Street, attracting over half a million spectators every year.
The Royal Easter Show is a traditional
12 day show that brings farm life to the city during April. The
Festival of the Winds is Australia’s largest kite
flying competition, held annually in September at Bondi Beach.
Manly Jazz Festival, which is held on the
Labour Day long weekend in October, is Australia’s largest,
longest and best known jazz festival, featuring traditional, fusion,
big band, bop and contemporary jazz.
which is a fundraiser for the Mardi Gras Festival, is also held
on the Labour Day long weekend in October. Up to 16,000 gay and
lesbian revellers dress to a theme and party all night at Fox Studios.
Australian Ballet (telephone: 1300 369 741) performs mainly
traditional pieces during its
summer and winter season at the Sydney Opera House,
Address: Bennelong Point
Telephone: (02) 9250 7111
Similarly, the Sydney
Dance Company (telephone: (02) 9221 4811), the city’s
leading contemporary dance group, performs at the
Opera House for 2 seasons per year.
The Bangarra Dance Theatre performs a fusion of
contemporary and traditional dance at various venues throughout
the city. The company also tours extensively, both internationally
Address: Pier 4/5 Hickson Road
Telephone: (02) 9251 5333
Website address: www.bangarra.com.au
Syndey's central cinemas, situated near Town Hall, have all merged
into the 17 screen Village Greater Union Hoyts
Address: 505 George Street
Telephone: (02) 9273 7431
Website address: www.hoyts.com.au
Fox Studios Australia
Address: Lang Road, Moore Park
Telephone: (02) 9383 4333
Website address: www.foxstudios.com.au
is home to 2 cinema complexes, Hoyts (telephone:
(02) 9332 1300), which includes the luxury La Premiere
cinema (telephone: (02) 9332 1663), and the arthouse, Cinema
Paris (telephone: (02) 9332 1633).
Other arthouse cinemas include the Academy Twin
Address: 3a Oxford Street
Telephone: (02) 9361 4453
Website address: www.palace.net.au
The Academy Twin is home to the Gay & Lesbian Mardi
Gras Film Festival (telephone: (02) 9332 4938), the Chauvel,
Paddington Town Hall (telephone: (02) 9361 5398), and the Art Deco
Address: 380 Military Road
Telephone: (02) 9908 4344
Website address: www.orpheum.com.au
1st run movies open on Thursday and discount night is on Tuesday.
Sydney Film Festival (telephone: (02) 9280 0511) takes place
every year in June, with most screenings in the magnificent marble
auditorium of the State Theatre
Address: 49 Market Street
Telephone: (02) 9373 6852
Website address: www.statetheatre.com.au
Makers of short films enter Tropfest
(telephone: (02) 9368 0434) every February to March, with finalists
shown on open air screens set up in the Domain, a large park on
the fringe of the city centre.
set or partially set in Sydney include:
Weir’s The Last Wave (1977)
J Hogan’s Muriel’s Wedding (1993)
Stephan Elliot’s The Adventures of Priscilla
of the Desert (1993)
Lawrence’s Lantana (2001)
Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich’s animated feature Finding
‘One of the finest, most beautiful,
vast and safe bays the sun had ever shone upon,’ composed
inveterate traveller Joseph Conrad in 1906.
Sydney Harbour continues to inspire eulogies from writers, including
Miles Franklin who, in 1946, wrote: ‘A month
would not be long enough to imbibe such beauty.’
More recently, Clive James, the satirist, writer,
broadcaster and critic, was rather more blunt: ‘Sydney is
like Venice without the architecture but with more sea.'
The city’s literary luminaries include Peter Carey,
who lived in Sydney before moving to New York, and set his Booker
Prize winning Oscar and Lucinda (1988) in 19th century Sydney, where
country girl Lucinda dreams of self reliance and an industrial utopia.
David Williamson, Australia’s most
victorious playwright, calls Sydney home. His Emerald City (1987)
is a comedic hymn to the city’s temptations.
White, Australia’s Nobel laureate, lived in Sydney
for most of his life, and passionately evoked the city’s artistic
life in The Vivisector (1970).
A characteristic streak led Sydney born Thomas Keneally
from the priesthood to the life of a full time novelist. He published
his first novel in 1964 then was consequently awarded the Booker
Prize for Schindler’s Ark (1982).
Teenagers Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette
wrote Puberty Blues (1979) as an depiction of the sexual rites of
passage of teens at the beach suburb of Cronulla.
Dalton’s Aunts Up the Cross (1965) is a demonstrative
memoir of Kings Cross in the 1930s, while John Birmingham’s
Leviathan (2000) takes a more cynical look at the city’s history
of criminals, ‘razor gangs’ and corruption.
Modern Sydney receives a sanction of sorts from one of its favourite
sons, world famous art critic Robert Hughes, who
‘The provinciality that seemed to characterise
Australian society, and could be plainly seen in Sydney 25 years
ago, is all but gone. To a striking degree, the city’s habits
have softened … Sydney is no longer quite so keen on the ‘ocker’
(Pacific redneck) image of the Australian: beer gut, thongs, nasal
foghorn voice and a truculent certainty that, short of Paradise
itself, Australia is the only ticket and that the rest of the world
only displays its inferiority by not necessarily wanting to come
The Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point (telephone:
(02) 9250 7111), is the premier performance venue for classical
Sydney Symphony (telephone: (02) 9334 4600), the Sydney
Philharmonia Choirs (telephone: (02) 9251 2024), Opera
Australia (telephone: (02) 9319 1088) and the Australian
Chamber Orchestra (telephone: (02) 8274 3800) hold most of their
performances at the Opera House.
The Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo
Centre, Harris Street (telephone: (02) 8333 1500), tends to be used
for smaller performances, as does Sydney
Town Hall, 483 George Street (telephone: (02) 9265 9189), and
Hall, Angel Place (telephone: (02) 8256 2222).
Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street (telephone: (02) 9351
1222), hosts symphony, wind and chamber concerts
as well as jazz big bands.
is played at the Hopetoun Hotel and the Annandale Hotel, which are
the best centrally located venues for up and coming bands:
The Hopetoun Hotel
Address: 416 Bourke Street
and the Annandale Hotel
Address: 17 Parramatta Road
and international acts perform at:
The Sydney Entertainment Centre
Address: Harbour Street, the Metro, 624 George Street
The Enmore Theatre
Address: 130 Enmore Road.
Jazz fans can
find world class performers at :
Address: 29 Reiby Place
The Side-On Cafe
Address: 83 Parramatta Road, Annandale.
Sydney Theatre Company (telephone: (02) 9250 1777) is Sydney’s
stylish flagship theatre company.
take place at the Wharf Theatres, Pier 4, Hickson Road (telephone:
(02) 9250 1700), the brand new Sydney
Theatre, 22 Hickson Road (telephone: (02) 9250 1999) and the
Opera House, Bennelong Point (telephone: (02) 9250
Acting celebrities, such as Geoffrey
Rush and Cate Blanchett, have performed at the highly respected
Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street (telephone: (02) 9699 3444).
Performance Space, 199 Cleveland Street (telephone: (02) 9698
7235)), and the Seymour Theatre Centre, Cleveland
Street and City Road (telephone: (02) 9351 7940), are the main venues
for more left field contemporary performance.
Musicals are staged at:
The Capitol Theatre
Address: 13 Campbell Street
Telephone: (02) 9320 5000
Website address: www.capitoltheatre.com.au
The State Theatre
Address: 49 Market Street
Telephone: (02) 9373 6852
Website address: www.statetheatre.com.au
The Lyric Theatre
Address: Star City, Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Telephone: (02) 9657 8500
Website address: www.lyrictheatre.com.au
Newer Australian playwrights stage their work at the Stables
Address: 10 Nimrod Street
Telephone: (02) 9250 7799
Website address: www.griffintheatre.com.au
Sydney’s longest established theatre is the Ensemble,
Address: 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli
Telephone: (02) 9929 0644
Website address: www.ensemble.com.au