Music venues in Sydney: not just surviving but thriving

Oxford Art Factory

Rock n’ Roll isn’t dead, it’s just hiding; here are the best dive bars, pubs and venues where you can find rock n’ roll alive and well.

First up is Sydney. No stranger to a gig, the city has live music rushing through her veins. She’s taken a heavy blow in recent years with the introduction of lockout laws but you can’t keep a good girl down and here’s where you can find rock and roll licking its wounds in the grunge of this old girls urban mecca.

The Soda Factory
The Soda Factory

The Soda Factory is a Surry Hills bar nestled neatly behind a coke vending machine. Pretty cool amiright? The bar itself is inspired by an American diner and it will have you feeling like you just stepped back in time to the 50’s. Everything in this place from the decor to the menu is carefully orchestrated to coincide with the 50’s theming, and with glowing reviews this place seldom disappoints. You can catch live music at The Soda Factory Thursday through to Sunday with a great rotating roster of house bands and the occasional international DJ. If you pop in of a Tuesday evening you’re in for a treat – $1 gourmet Hot Dog Special! Win/win!

The Enmore Theatre

Sydney’s most iconic venue shown below in a pic snapped in 1927, the façade has barely changed since.

The Enmore

The Enmore Theatre is no secret, it’s been a popular music hub since its grand opening 1908 and it’s certainly showing no signs of slowing down now. The venue has hosted an impressive list of rock gods on its pre art deco stage such as The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, Noel Gallagher, Marilyn Manson, Courtney Love and The Arctic Monkeys. Check out their website for the latest listings.

Frankies Pizza
Frankie’s Pizza

Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice is probably the coolest dive bar to hit Sydney in a long while. It mixes traditional pizzeria styling and grunge seamlessly (if that’s possible) equipped with pinball machines and all. The venue features live music on most nights and you can even test your singing chops at rock n roll Karaoke of a Tuesday evening.

The VanguardThe Vanguard

The Vanguard is probably the best place to see a rock show in Sydney (in my opinion). The venue is intimate and was specifically built to house musicians and entertainment alike – so the sound quality is great and you can see the stage from everywhere! The interior boasts a 1920’s vibe summed up perfectly on the venue’s website as “friendly and unpretentious luxury”. If you get the chance to see a show there, just do it. The ambiance will leave you stunned whether it’s a standing show or an elegant cabaret style dining experience.

Oxford Art FactoryOxford Art Factory

We’ve all spent one or two questionable evenings on Oxford St… don’t lie now. Next time you hit up the iconic street be sure to stop by The Oxford Art Factory or “OAF” as it has been affectionately named by its patrons. The venue is a fantastic medium sized space that hosts an eclectic bunch of both local and international musicians. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory in New York during the 60’s OAF offers three great performance spaces; The Gallery, The Live Art Space and the heart of the venue, The Cube which joins the two main rooms. Live music shows at Oxford Art Factory are always great so make sure to check out their website to see what they have coming up!


MELBOURNE NEXT! Stay tuned for our Top 5 Live Music Spots in Melbourne…


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