With countless bars and clubs to fill your nights with strobe lights, loud music, and sweaty crowds, sometimes all you need is an easygoing night out with the right amount of food and music for a change of pace. Check out these 10 live music venues to visit in Sydney to get away from the chaotic clubs and still enjoy a night out in the city!
1. Rock Lily
If you’re not too sure what sort of night out you want, Rock Lily is the place to go. Located right in The Star at Darling Harbour, you can enjoy a night of good food, great live music, and even better vibes.
Rock Lily hosts Student Showcase Mondays where some of Sydney’s music institutes come to perform, karaoke competition where you get to be the performers, and other events such as comedy stand ups, Melbourne Cup celebrations, Rugby World Cup screenings, and more.
But if halfway through you decide you want to continue the party elsewhere, don’t worry because you’ve got a plethora of choices like the firework show, the Casino, deserts, other clubs and bars, or just a nice stroll awaiting your pick all in Darling Harbour. If a free night comes around, Rock Lily is the answer!
Address: Casino, The Star, 1/80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009
2. The Red Rattler
This not-for-profit venue is run by the community, for the community – all in the name and love of music. With an army of passionate locals who volunteer to keep the place going, The Red Rattler is one place you do not want to miss.
It doesn’t matter what your tune your ears prefer because this theatre covers all genres. If anything, you’re sure to find some of Sydney’s future musicians because they love to celebrate up-and-coming artists right here from the heart of New South Wales. In fact, that was how The Red Rattler started! When five music-loving locals decided it was their dream to open up a warehouse theatre to quench Sydney’s musical souls, that’s exactly what they did.
Join the always-excitable crowd and join in on the wholesome vibe of the place, let The Red Rattler rattle your musical needs!
Address: 6 Faversham Street, Marrickville NSW 2204
3. Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice
With great pizza comes great live music. If that sounds familiar, you might have heard of Frankie’s Pizza. With the walls covered in quirky comic book and newspaper pages, moody lights hung above and warm candles sat on tables and a bustling crowd, you’ll realise this is the place to be.
As you walk further into the intimate ambience, make sure to find a seat closer to the stage to experience their live music to the fullest. Their sets range from rock and roll to blues, to hip-hop and funk to R&B; they’ll even pull-up spontaneous performers for a round of karaoke! All the while, you can enjoy some drinks and their legendary pizzas to have the ultimate combination for a night well spent!
Address: 50 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000
4. The Midnight Special
It’s the rock and roll, it’s the night-time blues, it’s The Midnight Special. Surrounded by tap beer, fancy cocktails, and spirits to spare, you’ll be amusing a drink in one hand and jamming to the lively tune with the other. Their music specialities are the blues and rock and roll, so whether you’re in for a moody, sensual vibe or the in for the rocker-beat of old souls, you’ve come to the right place! With their decorative lights, street-style art, and the animated hubbub of the bar, you can wind down after a long day’s work and get pumped up for an exceptional night ahead!
Since it’s located in Newtown, you can check out other bars for a little bit of musical everything in one night. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to start or end with the Midnight Special, as long as it’s a part of your night, it’s bound to be a memorable one!
Address: 44 Enmore Road, Newtown NSW 2042
5. Café Lounge
Comedy lounge on Mondays, $3 pizzas on Tuesdays, live acoustic on Wednesdays, burgers on Thursday, and live DJ shows on Fridays, things are always on at the Café Lounge. Whether you’re looking for some laughs after a serious day of work, a wallet-friendly bite to eat while mulling over the hard life of being a uni-student, or just a good old live band to kick back and lose your thoughts to, you’ll find it all here.
With a comfortable décor hugging the venue, you’re sure to relax with a drink in hand, a humble tune in your ear, and a smile on your lips. It’s a perfect place to wind down; just let the smooth tunes, the hushed conversations, and the hushed laughs massage all of your stress away. Unlike most bars, there are proper seats at tables to enjoy your meals and drinks at your own pace without the rowdiness of wild drinkers surrounding you. It’s got the music, the comedy, and the menu to fit – what more do you need? Café Lounge has got it all!
Address: 277 Goulburn Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
6. The Vanguard
If you’re looking for a place to wind down with a meal and liven it up with some music, The Vanguard is the place for you. With a Western-European style menu and an Australian and a few international musical line-ups, you’ll be lost in good vibes all night long. Since it’s a licensed venue so you will need to be 18+, meaning it isn’t a place for children. But it’s perfect parents who need a night to themselves. You’ll also see a lot of people coming in for after-work drinks to forget about their list of things to do and replace them with some jazz and blues.
Don’t be confused by their glamorous interior, it isn’t too formal a place; it is just to create a lavish experience as you relax to the tastes and tunes Vanguard has to offer. Without a doubt, this lively venue a visit is one place you put your guard down and drink up in celebration!
Address: 42 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
7. Goodgod Small Club
With a different event on every night, the Goodgod Small Club is sure to become your go-to club bar in no time! Their live musical ranges from techno to hip hop, to a bit of rock to disco, and even a DJ mix of house and dubstep, all for you to dance your night away! The live music takes place in the Danceteria, a cosy space to take in the music and show off your moves. Don’t worry though, there’s a bar in the Danceteria to keep your happy juices flowing!
If you’re looking for the main bar, it’s called The Front Bar and it’s decorated with fairy lights and murals, made to look like a classic 1950’s nightclub in Cuba. This bar is often is free entry all throughout the night for all their wild patrons! At The Front Bar, is the Belly Bao, a little section with a neon sign that’s well worth checking out for late some late night drinks as well! What with their extensive musical and alcoholic line-ups, here at the Goodgod Small Club, you’ll be well taken care of!
Address: 53-55 Liverpool Street, Sydney NSW 2000
8. The Basement
Starting of as solely a jazz venue, The Basement today is home to a mixture of musical madness including burlesque, rock, acoustic folk, dance, rap, indie, and if you include laughter as music to the ears, they do comedy too! Whether you want to enjoy the show with a drink in hand, or enjoy it with a meal, The Basement has got you covered. Just make sure to book if you’d like to have dinner while enjoying a show as the tables are reserved for those with that preference only.
Regardless of whether you’ve taken a seat or taken to the dance floor, you’re bound to fall in love with this intoxicatingly atmospheric venue. Lose yourself to the moody lights, the ever-talented performers, and the enthusiastic patrons all here for a good night!
Address: 7 Macquarie Place, Sydney NSW 2000
9. Miss Peaches
If watching live bands perform isn’t enough and you want to get in on the fun, Miss Peaches is the place for you! With the right balance of soul and R&B artists, you’ll swoon to their tunes and very soon, dance to them too! There’s an open space right by the stage so you keep an eye on the talented musicians and still keep to the beat with your feet! They also do dance lessons on some nights, which are nothing too serious, where you’re sure to learn a thing or two.
It’s all right if you aren’t too into dancing because Miss Peaches does food and drinks too. You can grab a seat and relish the mesmerizing music and the playful crowd filling up the room with excited laughs and animated talks! A night out at Miss Peaches is sure to put the cherry on top on all of your Sydney night experiences!
Address: 201 Missenden Road, Newtown NSW 2042
10. Foundry 616
Bringing in the international jazz scene to the heart of Sydney, Foundry 616 is one establishment you don’t want to miss! From well-known Australian names to worldly famous overseas musicians, this venue never fails to deliver the soulfully rich genre that is jazz. Even if you aren’t a fan of jazz or never really checked it out, Foundry 616 is the place to be because you may fall in love at first listen to all the instruments used that make up their melodic tunes.
Like most other venues on this list, Foundry 616 features an impressive menu of entrees, share plates, mains, and drinks to accompany the live music. Let your heart feast on the fine tunes of jazz music and your stomach on the flavoursome dishes, and spend a night full of experiences at Foundry 616!
Address: 616 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007
Best live music in Sydney
Make sure to visit at least one of these lively venues for a night full of great tunes and greater vibes! What are some of your favourite live music venues? Share it with us in the comment section below!