Sydney Clubbing Guide
Wed 18th May, 2011 Lists and Guidesin
If you’re out in Sydney on any given weekend, you won’t be short on options. From the tried-and-tested club hub of Kings Cross to the buzzing basements and bars scattered around the city and beyond, you don’t have to journey far to find a dancefloor.
As a general rule, Sydney is less about regular weekly club nights (although there are still a few staunch favourites) than semi-regular parties. That said, there are key venues where dance music is always welcome. Here’s a guide – in democratic alphabetical order – to clubbing around Sydney.
Arq is probably Sydney’s best-known gay club, and it’s a room built for dancing. A large mezzanine level circles above the main dancefloor, which comes equipped with state-of-the-art sound, lighting rig and lasers.
It’s no surprise, then, that dance promoters from outside the gay scene have utilised the venue. In 2008, inthemix staged an almighty blowout at Arq with Dubfire and Stephan Bodzin, and its assets have also been put to good use by the likes of Fuzzy and Sounds. It’s a true, purpose-made ‘club’, and that’s something of a rare thing.
WHERE: 16 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, 2010
The Arthouse Hotel
For many a Sydney clubber, The Arthouse is synonymous with Kink, the club night that packed ‘em in each Saturday until its final hurrah in 2007. Weekly clubbing may be less of a sure-thing in the Harbour City now, but The Arthouse remains a premier venue for dance music all-nighters.
With the building dating back to 1836, the high ceilings and ornate design of its main room sets it apart from any other club around town. In fact, it’s only a club on select occasions, with the bulk of its business coming from after-work drinkers and the Dome Restaurant And Bar.
Kink continues to make one-off comebacks at its former stomping ground, with house hero Roger Sanchez settling in for five hours in January. You never know when a party’s going to pop up there, so keep a close eye on the inthemix What’s On guide.
WHERE: 275 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Beauchamp Hotel
Originally constructed in the 19th century, The Beauchamp was only recently redeveloped after years in disrepute. Now it’s a hot spot for the Darlinghurst set enraptured by the bar’s plush interiors and finger food.
Where does that leave dance fans? With the advent of the Verano party series from the Golden Cage clan, The Beauchamp gets a regular Sunday afternoon makeover with local DJs brining some deep tech-y love to the building.
WHERE: 265/267 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst 2010
Consistently voted the best club in the state by inthemix readers it’s clear that Chinese Laundry is doing something right. Fearlessly switching styles from house to electro to even dubstep now, Chinese Laundry often has something on to fit anyone’s tastes. Hit up it’s beloved Cave room for an intensely deep sweat-fest or hold out for one of the club’s infamous garden parties.
WHERE: 111 Sussex Street, Sydney 2000
If you’re after (literally) underground music in Sydney, make a beeline for The Civic Hotel. While its art-deco street-level bar is good for a civilised beer or even a cheap meal at its Greek bistro Eleni’s, the party happens down below. The Civic Underground is decked out with arguably the city’s finest soundsystem (they claim it as Australia’s best), a sunken dancefloor and a row of booths running along the right wall. It all adds up to a warm and inviting space, helped in no small part by the music you’ll hear coming out the speakers.
Friday nights at the Civic belong to Reckless Republic’s PLUS + 1 parties, which joins forces with grassroots crews like Chemistry and Shrug to present guests across the house and techno spectrum. Think Dave DK, Thomas Schumacher, Funk D’Void and hometown talent like Jamie Stevens and Robbie Lowe.
On Saturdays, Future Classic’s Adult Disco is in the building, with an equally impressive roster of guests on the deeper house and disco tip. Adult Disco went from strength to strength in 2010, with club-filling appearances from Todd Terje, Pantha du Prince, Holy Ghost! and many more.
WHERE: 388 Pitt Street, Sydney 2000
The Enmore Theatre
Something of a grand dame amongst Sydney’s live venues, The Enmore Theatre on the edge of Newtown remains a must-visit for any gig hungry punter in town, no matter how brief the visit.
As well as a stunning retro façade The Enmore (as it’s lovingly shortened to) is big enough to pull in the heavy-hitters yet still small enough to catch the up-and-comers early on before they graduate to bigger venues. Memories of LCD Soundsystem’s life-changing 2008 show there won’t soon be forgotten.
WHERE: 130 Enmore Road, Newtown 2042
The Gaelic Club
You wouldn’t call The Gaelic Club a regular haunt for dance music. However, its pleasingly no-frills set-up has hosted some standout rave-ups over the years. With a raised stage and a dancefloor for 300, there’s also a mezzanine level that overlooks the action.
The venue tends to suit live acts, but dance parties with the likes of Dave Seaman, Simon Patterson and Sied van Riel have banged through till sunrise, putting the NEXO Alpha E sound system through its paces. Keep an eye on the inthemix What’s On for one-off events; there certainly isn’t any recurring theme we can identify!
WHERE: 64 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 2011
Goodgod ‘Small Club’
The recently re-opened Goodgod club is one of the CBD’s more wholesome venues. Although, as the name suggests, the venue is small, this doesn’t deter revellers from partaking in the venue’s more unique events including hip-hop karaoke and love-song dedications, along with appearances from the odd local and international superstar on the decks.
WHERE: 55 Liverpool St. Chinatown. Sydney CBD
Things do happen on the other side of the bridge, people, and The Greenwood Hotel has more than earned its dance music stripes. Once famous for the Sounds on Sunday parties, The Greenwood has now established itself as a house music Mecca. The venue was recently taken over for the day by Ibiza clubbing brand Circoloco and will soon host Kaskade when he drops into Sydney.
WHERE: 36 Blue St North Sydney
Home The Venue
Home to Sublime, one of the longest-running club nights in the world, and a regular favourite amongst inthemix50 voters, Home The Venue is one of Sydney’s – no wait, Australia’s – biggest clubbing institutions.
WHERE: 101 Wheat Rd Darling Harbour
Part of the massive Darling Harbour complex Home The Venue, Home Terrace has forged and identity of its own. As the new base for Spice After Hours, Home Terrace is where the true party animals gather, with DJs kicking off at 5am every Sunday morning. The Terrace has also been host to some unforgettable events including Claude Von Stroke’s afternoon set in early 2010.
WHERE: 101 Wheat Rd Darling Harbour
Sydney residents are used to seeing Justin Hemmes’ name in the gossip pages which seem to document every move the local mogul makes. But arguably his most renowned achievement yet would be with his swank Ivy superclub in the CBD. As a part of his Merivale empire, Hemmes’ Ivy offers a wonderfully manicured setting beloved by trendspotters and corporate high rollers alike.
The pristine set-up is only accentuated by the steady stream of big house DJs spinning at the club each night with recent visitors including Bob Sinclar, Basement Jaxx, Bimbo Jones and GT. Extra points if you can spot a loaded Home & Away star or some models by the pool.
WHERE: 330 George Street, Sydney 2000
Unlike other uni bars, Manning is much more than a place to get lubricated before a lecture. With a schedule of gigs and events to rival the likes of The Metro Theatre, the functional space does the job in style. With a sunken main floor surrounded by raised platforms, sight-lines are rarely a problem, and the vibe of the room lends itself to raucous fun. The beers on tap – with James Squires as king – are a cut above the usual gig-going fare, too.
As well as band shows from the likes of Foals, Two Door Cinema Club and Mayer Hawthorne, you’re just as likely to find a heaving rave-up with DJ Marky or Vitalic commanding the stage.
Level 2, Manning House, Sydney University, Sydney 2000
Marrickville Bowling Club
When it’s not doing its daily trade of schooners, Chinese food and lazy rolls on the green, Marrickville Bowling Club is – incongruously enough – one of Sydney’s best club spaces. It’s the long-standing home of esteemed crew Mad Racket, who put its unique charms to use every six-or-so weeks.
When the mood is right and the dancefloor under the famous copper ceiling is buzzing, there’s nothing quite like it. While Mad Racket has been the Bowlo’s chief patron for over 12 years now, it has also hosted the likes of Bad Dog and more recently Ha-Ha, with distinguished guests like Vince Watson, Deetron and Juan Atkins.
WHERE: 91 Sydenham Road, Marrickville 2204
The Metro Theatre
Often the first stop for international acts riding some buzz (see previous guests like Ladytron, !!! and Crystal Castles) , The Metro Theatre remains an institution for underground music lovers in Sydney. Right in the centre of the CBD – it’s literally seconds from the Town Hall train station – you can’t miss The Metro…and you wouldn’t want to.
WHERE: 624 George Street, Sydney 2000
Oxford Art Factory
In a few short years, Oxford Art Factory has staked its claim as one of Sydney’s leading venues for gigs, dance parties, performances, award shows and whatever else can fit inside its depths. The venue first drew attention on inthemix by hosting the likes of James Lavelle, Ewan Pearson and Dixon in 2007, and since then the main-room has been packed out many times over.
With its exposed brick walls and glassed-in art exhibits, the OAF is certainly easy on the eye. That said, when it’s rammed you’ll hardly be concerned with aesthetics. Ask anyone who witnessed the scorching live encore show from The Bloody Beetroots last year – the place can heave with the best of them.
WHERE: 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, 2010
Just above the Shark Hotel, Liverpool Street’s Space club boasts one of the strongest bloodlines in Sydney clubbing having played host to the likes of James Zabiela, Dave Seaman and more over the years. Still firing in 2011, these days Space’s 800 capacity main-room is often taken over for Masif Saturdays with hardstyle the flavour of the night. Best of all the club has a 6AM license.
WHERE: 127 Liverpool Street, Sydney 2000
A relative newbie on the Sydney scene, the Surry Hills-set Tone has already amassed a dedicated crew of local followers with its charmingly muted aesthetics and wonderfully diverse musical rosters including recent shows from Dam-Funk, DJ Vadim and the weekly Loop Thursdays.