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Clubs

The Bardar Guide to Sydney’s Best Clubs

An intro to this guide

Sydney’s club scene has begun to flourish once more after years in hibernation, with a slate of excellent events and thumping venues developing over the past few years. While the club scene is particularly active during Summer, there are plenty of great places to two-step the night away all year round. We’ve compiled a few of our favourites in this guide to Sydney’s best clubs.

The Guide

1. The Oxford Art Factory

The Oxford Art Factory is an alternative club that hosts a variety of artists from every genre from indie rock to hard techno, and is without question the best place to catch live music in Sydney.

Situated in the heart of Darlinghurst, The Oxford Art Factory is more than just a club; it’s a cultural institution. Known for its eclectic and constantly changing lineup of live music and DJs, this venue offers a dynamic atmosphere that attracts a diverse crowd. The space is divided into a main room for the big acts and an intimate gallery bar for more laid-back vibes. It’s a place where creativity and music come together to make every night a unique experience.

2. Club 77

Club 77 is the heartbeat of Sydney’s underground electronic music scene, offering an unpretentious and immersive experience with some of the best speakers in town.

For those who appreciate the underground scene, Club 77 in Darlinghurst is absolutely one of Sydney’s best clubs. This club has been a staple of Sydney’s nightlife for decades, known for its raw, unpretentious vibe and commitment to electronic music. With dim lighting and a subterranean feel, Club 77 is the perfect spot to cut some serious shapes well into the wee hours.

3. Mary’s Underground

Mary’s Underground is a legendary basement club that combines live music and DJ sets with a relaxed, intimate vibe.

Mary’s Underground blends the best of live music and club culture. With low ceilings and an intimate atmosphere, it’s a fantastic place to see performances of all varieties, from relaxed jazz to sweaty punk rock to electric DJ performances. Underground hosts a variety of one-off and weekly events, so be sure to check their website to work out what’s on in advance. Whether you’re there for a live gig or a DJ set, Mary’s Underground promises an unforgettable night.

Best Event: We are massive fans of Basement, a late-night techno event running every Saturday. Basement is easily one of the most reliably fun club experiences in town.

4. The Abercrombie

The Abercrombie is a multi-level playground for club enthusiasts, offering top-notch music and high-energy thrills all night long.

Recently revamped, The Abercrombie in Chippendale has quickly become a mainstay of the Sydney club scene. This multi-level venue offers something for everyone – a chill rooftop bar, a relaxed pub space and beer garden during the day and a ground-floor rave cave pumping literally all night. With a cutting-edge sound system and a lineup featuring some of the best local and international DJs, The Abercrombie guarantees a night of high-energy fun.

5. Carousel

Carousel is a first-class late-night destination, frequently showcasing the best local and international house music talent.

Another relatively new venue, Carousel has cemented itself as one of the premier destinations to catch house music in Sydney. Through an ever-changing rotation of Friday and Saturday night events, Carousel showcases a variety of local and international talent behind the decks, with excellent production and sound to boot. A soiree to Carousel is one of the best ways to keep the knees bending and elbows flexing as late as anywhere else in Sydney.

Best Event: We love the groovy, microhouse-focused S.A.S.H. parties that keep Carousel pumping every Sunday night.

6. Universal

Universal is the beating heart of Sydney’s LGBTQ+ nightlife, known for its inclusive vibe and spectacular drag shows.

Universal is a cornerstone of Sydney’s LGBTQ+ nightlife. Located on Oxford Street, this club is renowned for its inclusive atmosphere, fabulous drag shows, and energetic dance floors. The production value, including lasers, smoke machines, confetti and live dancers, is high for all their events, making it a great option for a riotous time on a Saturday night. Universal is a place where everyone is welcome and the party never stops.

7. Chinese Laundry

Chinese Laundry has re-emerged with cutting-edge sound and an electric atmosphere, continuing its legacy as a hub for underground electronic music.

Nestled in the heart of the CBD, this iconic venue has been renowned for its underground electronic music and vibrant atmosphere for over two decades. The revamped Chinese Laundry now boasts state-of-the-art sound systems and a refreshed interior that retains its edgy, urban energy. The multi-level layout features distinct spaces, each offering a unique musical experience, from deep house to drum and bass. It’s a place where longtime clubbers and newcomers alike can come together and boogie hard.

8. Civic Underground

Civic Underground is an intimate haven for electronic music lovers, offering an immersive and powerful clubbing experience.

Hidden beneath the Civic Hotel in the CBD, Civic Underground is a gem for those who love electronic music. The club’s intimate setting and powerful sound system combine for a potent experience, making it easy to lose yourself in the music. It’s a sanctuary for music lovers who want to feel the beat deep in their bones.

9. Home the Venue

Home The Venue is a multi-level nightlife powerhouse offering diverse music and spectacular views of Darling Harbour.

As one of the largest clubs in Sydney, Home the Venue is a powerhouse of nightlife entertainment. Located in Darling Harbour, this multi-level club features numerous dance floors, each with its own unique atmosphere. From house and techno to R&B and hip-hop, Home the Venue has something for every music lover.

Best Event: Sandbox – A monthly techno and trance event that goes hard on production value and heavy beats.

10. The Ivy

One of Sydney’s premier true nightclub experiences, the Ivy is a fantastic destination if you want a big-room clubbing experience, particularly on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Along with Home, the Ivy is one of Sydney’s two real super clubs. The Ivy hosts a weekly series of rotating events across a range of musical genres from commercial to hard techno, and you can expect a radically different experience depending on the night you decide to go. The Ivy routinely books the best international talent touring in Australia for their house-oriented Saturday and Sunday parties, drawing some of the biggest crowds in town no matter what they put on.

Best Event: Lost Sundays – a Sunday night house and techno party finishing at midnight that goes off during summer and books a tonne of excellent touring DJs.

11. Selina’s Coogee

Selina’s is an institution of Sydney’s live music scene, and while it’s more of a live music venue than a strict nightclub, it’s worth mentioning among Sydney’s best dance destinations.

Selina’s is a storied concert venue in Coogee and has played host to numerous first-class international bands and artists over its long lifespan, including The Prodigy, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Killers, Bag Raiders and more. Recently, Selina’s has been hosting a variety of monthly house and techno events, and when one of these is on Selina’s gives the best clubs in Sydney a run for their money.

Best Event: Switch, a monthly house/techno event on Saturdays that attracts great local and international talent.

Honourable Mentions – Commercial Clubs

Because the Bardar team are house and techno heads, the clubs on this list are mostly focused on dance music, great sound systems and specific events. For a more standard, commercial club experience there are plenty of decent spots around town, with some of the best being Cargo Bar, Soda Factory and Cliff Dive.

It’s also worth noting that tonnes of great pubs around Sydney like The Clock, The Beach Road Hotel, Coogee Pavilion, Bank, Beresford, Golden Sheaf, Hotel Harry and Imperial Erskineville reliably get a good dance floor on a Friday and Saturday night.

Sydney Club Nights

Generally, the best way to experience Sydney’s clubbing scene is to pick a good event at one club and then head there for the night. Therefore, we’re providing a couple of night plans that involve hitting a local pub or two first for warmup drinks before heading to the main event at one of our fav clubs.

Central Syd Night Out

If the plan is to head to any of our favourite clubs on or around Oxford Street, we highly recommend hitting one or two of Surry Hill’s finest pubs. These venues are a short walk from Oxford St, have a great vibe and are reliably pumping every Friday/Saturday night. Plus, If you’re feeling it early, The Clock and Beresford (upstairs) have good warmup dance floors.

Plan: Clock/Dolphin/Beresford → Carousel/Universal/OAF/Club 77

Wynyard/Circular Quay Night Out

In the city, we recommend warming at a few pubs around the Rocks before heading to Mary’s or the Ivy. The Rocks has the best concentration of pubs for early drinks, and is probably the liveliest area of the city on the weekend, which is why we recommend it as the starting point of a big night in or around the city.

Plan: Orient/Glenmore → Ivy/Mary’s/Chinese Laundry

Other Areas

For the other venues on our list that aren’t as clumped together, we would recommend picking a nearby pub or bar that’s busy to get the energy up and build some momentum before heading to the event at the club. While we’re a bit biased, we recommend using Bardar to check out how busy nearby venues are, and pick a warmup spot based on our live data.

Outro

Sydney’s club scene has truly experienced a renaissance in recent years, and there are now tonnes of viable options all around town for a few drinks and a boogie. However, when going clubbing in Sydney it’s best to be organised ahead of time, picking specific events and venues for the night rather than just wandering out and hoping for the best.

If you’re looking for a tool to make doing this easy, check out our app, Bardar, now available on iOS!