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Gay Sydney: a guide to clubs, bars, cabaret and culture

Kinselas on Bourke St was a funeral home in a previous life and plays host to Friday drag competitions, Wednesday Tranny Trivia nights has beautiful ornate art deco ceilings and attracts a mixed crowd from early evening. The Oxford Hotel is a stunning location with four bars. The venue has been a gay destination for many years, but has become more mixed over the past few years. Gingers on the first floor is popular with LGBT visitors, especially on Monday nights With luxurious finishes, intimate booths, mezzanine level seating and a state of the art sound and lighting system; Gingers offers an alluring, contemporary and decadent experience.

Palms is open 8pm-3am Thursday through to Sunday. Slide is a nightclub, supper club, lounge, restaurant all-in-one and is open Tuesday through Sunday with cabaret shows. Slide remains one of the hippest gay venues, located in an art deco former bank building.

The Stonewall Hotel is a three-story entertainment complex, open daily from noon; top Sydney DJs and entertainers, big generally young crowds, weekend dancing and drag shows, Wednesday Male Box pickup night, karaoke, Thursday dancing boys on the bar. Great happy hours and always busy at weekends. This is where hotel guests mingle with locals, gays, straights and curious! The bars tend to get busy after 11pm.. The nature of going out in Sydney has changed. Many parties have shifted from night time to day parties; Apart from ARQ, clubs are no longer the go-to venues for gigs and DJs; and alternatives — pubs, warehouses, beaches, galleries — are being used.

Hotels in the CBD — Central Business District, are the closest to all of the main gay bars, clubs and tourist attractions. They tend to be more expensive, but offer the best views and most convenient locations. Book early to get the best price, especially during key events.


It is the place to see and be seen. Always busy and draws a large gay crowd on Sundays. You can have a few drinks outside in the courtyard first, then head upstairs later for a dance — with two floors of music. Coopers Hotel in Newton is a traditional Aussie pub, with games, bistro deck, beer garden, extensive tapas to full meals menu, wine and cocktails. Their tranny Bingo nights are also worth a visit. Inside this cosy establishment you get a glimpse of what it could be like if we all just got along. The weird and wonderful are welcomed here; there is a mix of punters that properly reflects the Sydney rainbow, and nobody gives it a second thought.

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Periodic events include: The party is usually held at the Oxford Art Factory in Darlinghurst. Club Exile another popular cruise party takes place usually on the 3rd Saturday of the month including special holiday weekends — Labour Day, Easter, Mardi Gras, etc. There are no strict dress codes, but leather, denim, jocks, trainers, rugby, lycra, boxing, swim, cycling, etc.

Heaps Gay started three years ago as a series of regular all inclusive monthly parties at the Gladstone Hotel which then evolved into charity events, art exhibitions and lots of big collabs with festivals like Vivid Sydney, Mardi Gras and Lost Paradise. HeadQuarters is the largest gay cruise club in Sydney. HeadQuarters offers a wide range of activities with playrooms, cruise areas, video lounge, private rooms, cubicles and refreshment facilities. The club is is always a good place for a quick fun.

Plenty of guys for every taste even during the day. No spa or sauna available.

Gay Sydney Guide: The Essential Guide To Gay Travel In Sydney Australia »

Signal attracts younger guys. Most of the hotels we have selected are close to these districts. Newtown, Erskineville and Glebe are worthy of a visit. These villages have great communities, cafes, pubs and eateries. Great news, we've signed you up. Sorry, we weren't able to sign you up. For something wild, try Unicorns , an under-the-radar lesbian night with a big reputation. The venue changes according to whatever warehouse is available at the time but the wonderfully whimsical vibe is always consistent.

Couches line the room and there are stages for contortionists, pole dancers or whatever else has been found for that particular evening. The crowd is loved-up and quirky, and everyone enjoys stripping off. The event is held on the first Friday of every month and is marketed as after-work drinks for lesbian professionals.

Vlog #10 My Experience Living In GAY SYDNEY

It provides a relaxed, safe place to network or hang out with other women. DJs and performers take to the stage later on and the vibe transforms from professional to dancey. The Red Rattler theatre in Marrickville, also known as The Rat, is the baby of five local queer artists who wanted to create a legal warehouse venue. It is volunteer-run and you really feel how loved the space is as soon as you enter — it has such an aura. I have seen some of the most avant-garde work in Sydney within this space, attended surreal and energised parties, including the annual costume ball Monsta Gras, and participated in workshops, forums and film screenings.

Club Kooky is a queer institution that has existed for around 20 years.

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Going to Kooky when it was at Club 77 now closed was a formative experience for me creatively and socially. It was here that I met future collaborators, the love of my life and a community of very good humans. The best part is the intergenerational nature of the community — I think communities like that are harder to find in other cities in Australia.

Bad Dog also moves to different locations. I remember being asked by another promoter why so many people attend these events and my response was that the core of them is family.


Bad Dog is run not for capitalist intention but to draw together queers who love to dance in beautiful spaces — most recently the St George Sailing Club. You jump on a bus with a family of good freaks and head to a ridiculous location with a strong sea breeze. Frances Barrett The Mardi Gras is a must-do. It hosts engaging events such as Queer Thinking, which brings together queer artists, academics, activists and historians to discuss new frontiers in queer thought and practice. In addition to these events, the group presents screenings and talks throughout the year at various venues. It presents a spectrum of screen-based work that ranges from the homemade to the vintage, from subtle to hardcore.

Nick Coyle Care? I like to go here and destroy the party vibe by singing Jewel. I also have a scar on my shin from spinning a bar stool into my leg while singing Stronger by Britney Spears. No regrets. Griffin Theatre Company has a long history of queer Australian storytelling. The venue champions diversity and new writers.

Male-focused and mixed

I put on my first main-stage play here in Was I ready? Belvoir St Theatre is a beloved venue with a main stage and a tiny downstairs space. The place has an amazing reputation, a loyal following, and increasingly bold programming that includes queer stories. The production of Angels in America in was heart-punchingly good, and I re-staged my turbo-gay one-man show, Blue Wizard, there during Mardi Gras this year — so it has definitely supported this queer.

Blue Wizard was part of the Mardi Gras Festival, which runs in the weeks leading up to the parade in March. During Mardi Gras, a lot of Sydney venues will programme queer performances to celebrate diversity — and to snaffle up that sweet pink dollar. Male-focused and mixed. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.