Sydney’s implementation of the 1:30am lockout laws last year pretty much go like Heidi Klum’s infamous Project Runway one liner – “one minute you’re in, the next, you’re out”.
On any given night, the minutes prior to 1:30am pass in a cacophonous rush of ladies and gents sprinting haphazardly to the finish line, with the prize being entry granted to the multitude of Sydney bars, pubs and clubs around the CBD, Kings Cross, Oxford Street and surrounding areas.
Regardless of your stance on this law, all could attest to Sydney’s changed nightlife scene; come 1:30am you’re either in or you’re out and if you find yourself sitting on the wrong side of the fence, you might as well go home and call it a night… Until now. We’re letting you in on our picks of where to go come lockout to continue your antics at some of Sydney’s best bars into the wee hours of the morn. So have fun and stay classy, Sydneysiders!
Henrietta’s Supper Club
Henrietta’s Supper Club is a cool, old-worldly cocktail lounge in Darlinghurst that’s flashing up on our radars for a post 1:30am tipple and promises of a good time. Perfect for either after work sophisticated drinks as well as a frequented hotspot for Sydney’s hospitality crowd (given their 6am license), Henrietta’s has got you covered for whatever you may be after. Offering up a bit of ol’ English style bistro fare and a killer list of cocktail concoctions accompanied by great chat, this place is pretty much our idea of how best to end an evening. We enjoy the Trinidad Sour with Angostura bitters (a whole shot at that), whiskey, lemon and sweet syrup as well as the Sgroppino, which is a refreshingly sweet and fizzy potion consisting of Messina lemon gelato, vodka, sparkling wine and passionfruit in a champagne glass (heaven). If you’re after something unique, go the banana bread Old Fashioned. What is that you may ask? Simply banana bread soaked in rum, whisky, salted caramel syrup and chocolate bitters - kinda like the perfect midnight snack and drink in one!
The Smoking Panda
Think LA hip meets retro-Chinese and boom, you’ve got one of Sydney’s best new bars – The Smoking Panda. Situated above The Hotel Coronation on Park Street, The Smoking Panda has got an amazing array of cocktails, delectable pan-Asian bites, a solid tick of a wine list and offers up a helluva good time. Open till very late Wednesdays to Saturdays, this place is a Sydneysiders’ go-to once the pesky lockout kicks in. What resembles the retro Australian Chinese dining experience has been modernised and tailored into beautifully presented, exotic fare served in a relaxed, shared-dining experience. Whilst sitting on red and gold kitsch dining chairs, check out the eerily glowing jellyfish tank whilst sipping on some mighty fine, if not a bit kooky, cocktails like the Bourbon Blackberry and Sage Smash or the Dunkin Doughnut Martini paired with braised short rib san choy bau, salt and pepper squid, and crispy soft shell crab and Asian slaw slider.
The Oxford Tavern
The Oxford Tavern doesn’t close its doors till the wee hours of the morn’, and provides the perfect spot to have a meal, enjoy some drinks and a bit of a dance. With a menu that’s got our mouths watering such as pulled beef short rib, cheese and guac nachos, tacos, burgers, steaks and more as well as a bunch of daily deals for even the tightest of wallets, what’s not to love about this Sydney bar? This hotspot is inexpensive food and drinks wise, with $10 Margaritas on Friday, $20 cocktail jugs Saturday and $10 Bloody Marys on Sundays (just keep going to avoid that hangover, Listers). So when lockout kicks in head on over to The Oxford Tavern for a night you’ll wish to remember!
Tucked up on Mary Street in Surry Hills, Goro’s has got your back till late on Friday and Saturday nights. Reminiscent of Goro’s upbringing in Tokyo and his memories of the Golden Gai – Tokyo’s infamous criss-cross of streets offering up little drinking holes and good times, his story is an eclectic and interesting one. We love that he decided to set up shop here in Sydney with a great mix of cool drinks and food on offer that stays true to izakaya style (where food accompanies the drinks). This place is big on music with a cool selection of disco, American and British music mixed in with a touch of Japanese sounds to get the party started. Tuck into some Japanese drinking-cuisine like yakitori and gyoza whilst sipping on Japanese beers, sake, cocktails and the infamous highballs. Take a journey through Tokyo without leaving Sydney at Goro’s!
Robin Hood Hotel
Open till 3am every fun day of the week, the Robin Hood Hotel is providing a bunch of good food, drinks and entertainment long after lockout’s locked us out. The ‘Sharing is Caring’ plates are too good to actually share, whilst the ‘Main Events’ and burgers are perfectly washed down with a beverage or two. With a solid and affordable wine and cocktail list, we’re keen to while away the night and party on into the early morning here at the Robin Hood. There’s absolutely no need to end your night prematurely ‘cos this locale’s got us covered come rain, hail or shine!
The Sly Fox
The Sly Fox in Enmore recently underwent a renovation and has been reborn into a fun factory open till late (6am on weekends), seven days a week. Promising live music, delish drinks, yummy pizza and great service, this is one of our new fave Sydney pubs. With pizzas on offer by Manoosh Pizzeria, you know from the get-go it’s going to be good. This laid back pub and its super cool staff is a great way to enjoy the weekend with the option to head home when the sun begins to shine.
The Jam Gallery is an artistic, eclectic and entertaining way to spend your evenings until the early hours with no fear of lockout. Open till 3am, Jam Gallery offers up two rooms, three stages, cocktails and the best sound system in Australia. Fridays at this Bondi Junction space feature JAWS where the best of art, music and live performance are brought together and showcased in one space. The place is transformed for a visual artist, live performer, live band or DJ to show off their talent in a night that’s sure to blow your socks off. With something new in the mix for every night of the week, Jam Gallery will never get old and we can’t wait to see who comes up with what at next week’s JAWS event.
Image: The Smoking Panda