If you’re thinking about Sydney nightlife, what kind did you have in mind? Because this city’s got it all – from magical moonlit harbour tours to the thumping techno and house music in Darling Harbour’s clubs. If you want to make a night of it, remember that the recent lockout laws mean no alcohol is served in the city after 3am.
1) See the night sky
The Sydney Observatory in the Rocks comes into its own when the sun sets, as you can use the telescope domes to get superb views of the moon, planets in our solar system or stars way out in space. If the night is cloudy, it’s still worth a visit. There’s a 3-D space theatre here too, giving you a captivating glimpse into what it’s like to be an astronaut.
2) Go Chinese
Chinatown is the place to come if you’re feeling peckish. There are some great value Chinese restaurants here, as well as sushi joints and dumpling eateries. If you just fancy a drink, some of the sake bars are very much on-trend with the locals. And on Friday nights there’s a market with plenty of tempting food. Chinatown is just a few blocks from George Street.
3) Have a Darling time
If you’re in town on a Saturday, head over to Darling Harbour. There’ll be a firework display along the waterfront, not to mention lots of good-hearted ambience as Sydney relaxes and comes out to play. It’s the perfect place to spend the night – why not eat at one of the restaurants, then visit one of the clubs nearby?
4) Push the boat out
A twilight sailing experience is a wonderful way to spend the early evening. The trip takes about 2 hours, and your boat will sail right underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Your skipper may even give you the chance to take the helm. Or if you’d prefer a less expensive alternative, simply hop on a ferry and gaze out at the lights and sights of Sydney.
5) See art after hours
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the world’s most visited art galleries, and hosts superb collections of Australian and international art. Every Wednesday the gallery stays open till 10pm, with films, guided tours and talks. Or you’re free to wander the galleries under your own steam if you prefer.
6) Dance at Chinese Laundry
The recent introduction of lockout laws have hit some clubs hard, as venues can’t accept new guests after 1.30am. But Chinese Laundry at Darling Harbour is still bucking the trend, with its magnificent sound system and lots of big name DJs rocking the decks. There are 3 rooms to choose from, plus a garden bar if you like your sounds outlandish and outside.
7) Enjoy the party at Freda’s
Come the weekend this cocktail bar really lets rip, with extravagant music-themed nights like Psychedelia or Rhythm and Blues stomp. Freda’s is held at the Chippendale Bar, just off Regent Street, And if you work up a thirst while you’re dancing, you’re in the right place. The cocktails range from the classic to the cookie, and you can grab tasty bar snacks here too.
8) Feel the vibe at Tokyo Sing Song
If you like to be challenged by your nightclub, then Tokyo Sing Song could be right up your weird street. The décor is a bewildering mix of just about every style you could think of, the programme changes every month as someone new takes over, and the music, themes and looks are just plain extraordinary. You’ll find Tokyo Sing Song on King Street.
9) Enjoy a cocktail
Head over to Eau-de-Vie on Darlinghurst Road – the décor is North American speakeasy style, the atmosphere is informal and the cocktails are perfection itself. Or try This Must Be the Place on Oxford Street for a selection of homemade cocktail recipes and tastefully furnished rooms.
10) Get to know Australian wine
The first vines were planted in the Botanic Gardens, but we’ve come a long way since then. If you’d like to sample Australian wine by the glass, you can’t go wrong by going to 10 William Street. Or if you’re peckish too, Bentley Restaurant & Bar on Pitt and Hunter Streets offers a list of over 1,000 wines for you to choose from.