Sydney has an enormous number of places to drink and party. A limited number of venues have 24 hour licenses, however the majority close before 3AM and some as early as 11PM, particularly if there are nearby residents. Most venues will have door staff checking photo identification to determine that you are over 18. Admission is also commonly refused to those who seem visibly drunk to the staff. More popular venues have discriminatory door practices, the most common of which is refusing entry to groups of men who are not accompanied by women.
Most places have at least a basic dress code. If you're not sure where you're headed and want to get into most generic pubs and clubs you come across, men should wear a collared shirt, neat full-length pants (not jeans) and business-style shoes. Cheaper pubs have looser requirements, and of course different groups follow different fashions. This recipe won't work for entry to a goth club. In almost all cases, women can dress more freely, but a small number of places require closed shoes.
Entry charges for live music or DJs are usual and range from $5 to $30 depending on clientèle. Entry charges are rare if you're going into a pub for a drink.
Note that there is a taxi shift change at 3AM, and it is notoriously difficult to catch a taxi anywhere between 2:30AM and 3:30AM. Also beware that there is currently a government enforced lockout at many establishments between 2 and 5AM - which means that you need to stay inside or you won't be able to get back in - even if you go out for a cigarette (smoking is illegal inside). Ask the bouncers or some locals if you're unsure and they will tell you which places are affected by the lockout and which aren't.
Some types of nightlife are concentrated in particular areas:
- Backpackers drink near the hostels, and will find a lot of fellow budget travellers in pubs in the Eastern Suburbs Beaches like Bondi Beach and Kings Cross in the City East
- In some ways Irish pubs are a global phenomenon, but they've certainly taken Sydney by storm. Irish pubs are concentrated in both The Rocks area and the southern area of the CBD. They are outrageously popular on the 17th March for St Patrick's Day.
- Business pubs also cater to the city crowd: lawyers, financiers and brokers and are very busy Friday nights when the city workers are let loose for the week.
- Large nightclubs are concentrated in the Darling Harbour area.
- Sydney's large gay scene is concentrated on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst although it still has a large range of pubs and clubs for all ranges of sexuality and is a prominent nightspot for a lot of party-goers.
- Sydney's students drink in the Inner West.
- Some nightclubs and Sydney's younger party-goers are found in North Sydney.
There are many great nightclubs in Sydney, unfortunately they are very spread out so it would be a good idea to get an idea of were you want to go. A free magazine called 3D world can be picked up at most clothing stores and music shops which hosts a large range of night spot opportunities. Also a new website GuestlistSydney lists a large number of nightclub events each week.
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Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.