Spice-up your week with this guide to Sydney’s best live music!
On the surface, Sydney’s live music scene may seem like a ghost town, fallen victim to the lock-out laws. But it’s well and truly alive, you just need to know where to look! We’ve got you sorted, from the iconic muso hotspots, to the humble bowling club. Here’s your guide to Sydney’s best live music venues.
Oxford Art Factory
This two room, multi-functional venue has played a key role in re-shaping Sydney’s live music scene. The 500 person capacity makes this venue intimate, authentic, and a favourite among the muso’s and up and coming artists alike!
Oxford Art Factory, Basement, 38-46 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, 02 9332 3711
Lazy Bones Lounge
Easy to miss, Lazy Bones Lounge is the Inner West’s iconic music venue. This luxe jazz space has live music shows seven nights a week, generally for free; occasionally for a small cover charge. Don’t think the low price is any indication of the level of talent. Lazy Bones showcases fantastic local musicians in a decadent, eccentric venue.
Lazy Bones, 294 Marrickville Rd. Marrickville, 0450 008 563
Petersham Bowling Club
Petersham Bowling Club has become a hub of activity and frivolity in recent years. This community centred venue not only offers top notch lawn bowls it also has a buzzing live music scene. From garage to cabaret, Petersham Bowling Club has a wide roster of talent on every week. The family owned bistro is a definite cut above the usual bowling club kitchen. Come for the music, stay for the gourmet pizzas!
Petersham Bowling Club, 77 Little Brighton St. Petersham, 9569 4639,
The Red Rattler
The Red Rattler, one of Sydney’s best creative communities, is an entirely volunteer run venue showcasing Australian talent from the grassroots. This venue asks for a mere 50 cent donation from patrons in order to maintain their eco-plan (renewable energy sources, recycled water) and hosts a wide range of musical talents.
The Red Rattler, 6 Faversham St. Marrickville, 9565 1044
Marrickville Bowling Club
The bowling clubs are really having their day in the sun at the moment, particularly those who fall out of the lockout zone. Marrickville Bowlo puts on a great range of live music Friday through to Sunday. The Sunday gigs are at 4:30pm every week and are free! Easily accessible and very reasonably priced, head down here for a relaxed bistro dinner and friendly company.
Marrickville Bowling Club, 91 Sydenham Rd. Marickville, 9557 1185
The Civic Underground
The Civic Underground, part of The Civic Hotel, is an iconic Sydney venue that was the starting point for some of Australia’s most recognisable bands such as INXS and Mental As Anything. This venue has hosted a slew of international DJs (Todd Turje, Pantha Du Prince, Tensnake) and has a great EDM scene. In addition, their resident Monday night reggae kings, Caribbean Soul, have developed a well deserved fan base.
The Civic Hotel, 388 Pitt St. Sydney, 8080 7000
The Soda Factory
Hidden behind a fifties coke machine is the secret entrance to this beautiful old venue. The Soda Factory offers regular live performances, from local bands to international DJ’s. The music choice tends to begin chill in the early evening, then transition to some bangin’ d-floor tunes later in the night.
The Soda Factory, 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, 02 8096 9120
The Metro Theatre
The Metro Theatre is one of Sydney’s better known live music venues. You can expect to catch some of the bigger names in music here as the Metro serves as an iconic venue for both international and local acts. It’s also known for being a pivotal breakthrough venue for bands as they break on to the scene.
The Metro Theatre, 624 George Street, Sydney, 02 9550 3666
The Enmore Theatre
Located on Newtown’s vibrant King St is The Enmore Theatre. This old-school venue features an array of live music, as well as other live performances from comedy to theatre-sports.
The Enmore Theatre, 118-132 Enmore Road, Newtown, 02 9550 3666
Situated on the University of Sydney campus, is this popular live music venue. Manning Bar has attracted many local and international acts, from Gotye, to Wolfmother. FYI, this is definitely not just a venue for uni students.
Manning Bar, Manning House, Manning Rd, Camperdown, 02 9563 6000
The Lansdowne Hotel
The infamous Lansdowne Hotel, which closed back in 2015, has been re-born and is better and bigger than ever. This three level venue hosts regular events such as Reggae Monday’s, as well as one-off shows from local and international artists.
The Lansdowne Hotel, 2 – 6 City Rd, Chippendale NSW 2008, 02 6351 3045
In this heritage-listed underground bar, you will find your dose of live music every Thursday through to Sunday from 7pm. Sink in to the plush leather chairs and enjoy a $15 cocktail between 6-8pm. Beware, Marble Bar enforces a strict dress code, so this venue is best saved for the classier occasions.
Marble Bar, Level B1, Hilton Sydney, 488 George Street, (02)-9266-2000