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Ten Quintessential After-Dark Activities in Sydney to Try This Autumn

You’ll hardly miss summer with our top picks to ensure a fun-filled autumn.
By Reema Hindi
April 21, 2022
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By Reema Hindi
April 21, 2022
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in partnership with

It's easy to just appreciate Sydney for its beautiful beaches and sunshine — when La Niña isn't cramping our usual style. But, as we kiss some of our precious sunlight goodbye and welcome in the cooler months, there is still a lot to be excited about. For example, our thriving after-dark scene.

This autumn, there is no excuse to stay at home when there is a plethora of music, art, entertainment, delicious food and drinks to discover. Autumn is the perfect time to spruce up your after-work ritual or create a truly memorable weekend. Here are our top picks to curb those daylight savings blues and make autumn in Sydney something special.

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Person ordering at the bar at Golden Age Cinema Surry Hills

Cassandra Hannagan

HEAD TO GOLDEN AGE CINEMA AND BAR FOR COCKTAILS AND A MOVIE

Step into the gorgeous Paramount House in Surry Hills, an original 1940s art deco building where you will find Golden Age. Enjoy old Hollywood charm by grabbing a cocktail at the David Lynch-inspired bar before the movie begins. While you admire the lush interiors, we suggest cosying up with a Maple and Pecan cocktail and a three-cheese toastie. Then, grab your Gelato Messina choc-top and head to your flick.

Golden Age Cinema has everything you want to see and then some — from new releases to retrospectives and cult favourites. Check out Pedro Almodóvar's latest masterpiece, Parallel Mothers or snag tickets to a special screening of Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet on Saturday, April 30.

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EXPLORE A HISTORICAL SYDNEY MONUMENT AFTER DARK

Taking place on Thursday, April 28, at the world-heritage listed Hyde Park Barracks is After Dark. This one-night-only event will allow you to explore Sydney's long history of artisans and artists and see how traditional crafts are being recreated using contemporary methods.

There'll be demonstrations in Indigenous weaving techniques, glass blowing and blacksmithing, plus live tattooing, banjo making and intimate musical performances. FBi Radio has put together an exciting lineup of live acts including local DJs, dream pop duo Royel Otis and two-piece indie band Bridge Dog. Enjoy the music around a fire with food from The Nighthawk Diner and drinks from Archie Rose. Get tickets for $30 per person over here.

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CATCH SYDNEY'S TOP STAND-UP COMIC TALENT AT THE COMEDY STORE

Sometimes the only remedy to a tough day at work is to laugh it off (with a stiff drink in hand). Give your TV a night off and catch some live stand-up that'll leave you in stitches. The Comedy Store, located in the Entertainment Quarter, has been showcasing Sydney's freshest talent every week since 1981. It's range of upcoming shows and events, which you can check out here, covers everything from live podcast recordings to performances by some of Australia's funniest people, including Dilruk Jayasinha and Tom Cashman.

Not sure where to start? Catch the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase to see a lineup of Sydney's most hilarious and exciting emerging acts. The showcase will be running from Thursday, April 28 until Saturday, May 23. You can get tickets now ranging from $30–45 which include a well-deserved drink.

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Stockade Brewing Co, Leticia Almeida

COMPLETE A MINI PUB CRAWL OF MARRICKVILLE'S MICROBREWERIES

Marrickville is home to some of the city's best craft breweries with plenty of experimental drops to sip. Start your night off at the beloved The Grifter Brewing Co where you can try an exciting range of beers — the Serpents Kiss watermelon pilsner is a crowd fave — and snack on Mexican treats from Ricos Tacos. A short walk will take you to Sauce Brewing Co for a refreshing peach berliner weisse in the spacious beer garden. Feeling adventurous? Give the Flat White, a creamy milkshake-style IPA, a go. Then head to Stockade Brew Co and sip some of its small-batch beers.

Got more in the tank? Have a read of our DIY brewery walking tour for more suggestions. Or, check out the newly opened Bob Hawke Beer and Leisure Centre, the 1980s-style spot with a pool room and Chinese-Australian bistro Lucky Prawn.

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The Midnight Special, Tamara Dean

OR, TRY A BAR HOP ALONG ENMORE ROAD

If craft beer isn't your thing, then explore Newtown's thriving nightlife scene instead. Enmore Road has everything you need for the ultimate night on the town. Listen to live music at neighbourhood bar, The Midnight Special. Soak in the moody and tropical vibes of Jacoby's with a rum cocktail or some natty wine. If you're after a good pub feed with a lively atmosphere, The Duke of Enmore is your next stop. Then, end the night feeling ultra-cool sipping whisky in the sleek and sexy Cottonmouth Records — record store by day and dive bar by night.

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FLEX YOUR ARTISTIC MUSCLE WITH A NUDE LIFE DRAWING CLASS

Want to get those creative juices flowing? Switch up your routine with a life drawing session. The historic Art House Hotel hosts life drawing workshops every Monday from 5pm in The Graffiti Lounge. Don't worry if you aren't a pro, this event welcomes all skill levels. Plus, you can always grab a couple of drinks if you need to calm your nerves.

Or, for a more punk-rock experience, check out Nudenight at SthSthKingSt every Wednesday and Thursday night from 7–9pm, and Sundays from 2–4pm for $25. Beginners are always welcome, but if you need a bit of guidance, then it's recommended to join on a Wednesday.

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GET YOUR GROOVE ON AT A RETRO-STYLE DANCE CLASS

If you aren't exactly feeling inspired at the gym, why not try a dance class to get the body moving and have some wholesome fun? Dig out the lycra leotard and cosy leg warmers hiding in your wardrobe, then head along to one of Retrosweat's classes around Sydney. This 80s aerobic-style workout is a fan favourite, where you can dance to some classic beats and get your heart pumping.

If you're a little more serious about mastering your dance skills, have a look at Sydney Dance Company's adult introductory short courses. You can spend a weeknight learning ballet, hip hop, contemporary dance and more. Or check out Dancing Under the Influence's studios in Newtown, which has a range of night classes and courses on its timetable, covering latin fusion, afro, reggaeton, street jazz and more.

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Kopper Finch

MAKE THE MOST OF WHAT THE CBD HAS TO OFFER

While heading straight home after a day in the office is tempting, we promise if you stick around the CBD you won't regret it. Start by heading to the Ivy Precinct for 5pm drinks at Bar Topa. Here, you'll find a charming hole-in-the-wall serving delicious tapas and $9 cocktails. Or, if you are a mezcal fan (who isn't?), head to Cantina OK!, a micro-bar hidden down a laneway with the best margaritas in town.

After working up an appetite, a plate of life-changing pasta at Ragazzi is a must, best enjoyed with a bottle of delicious natural wine. Then, you can dance the night away to live music at the iconic Frankie's, or enjoy the fresh air and ambience in the Since I Left You courtyard.

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TEST YOUR GENERAL KNOWLEDGE AT TRIVIA

Get your smartest pals together and book a table at The Noble Hops in Redfern for trivia, which kicks off at 7pm every Tuesday. You and your crew can battle your way to snagging serious prizes and bar tabs while sipping on seasonal craft brews from the curated menu. Plus, once hunger strikes you can order from pizzeria La Coppola across the road. Your Sicilian-style woodfired pizza will be delivered right to your table — so, even if you bomb out on the trivia questions, you're still a winner.

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POP BY MAYBE SAMMY FOR A HAPPY HOUR TIPPLE (OR TWO)

If you're feeling a little classy, head to Sydney's top cocktail bar Maybe Sammy to take advantage of its very appealing happy hour special. Located in The Rocks, this glamorous 1950-inspired spot offers an award-winning selection of cocktails — some of which you can sample for just $7 during happy hour from 4.30–5.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday.

If you happen to swing by on a Friday then, after you quench your thirst, take a quick stroll to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Every Friday night, the museum stays open late to help you welcome the weekend with exhibitions, performances, live music and drinks. Catch live tunes with harbour views at Sounds on the Terrace or see some exciting works from the 23rd Biennale of Sydney.

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For more information on Sydney Living Museum's After Dark event and to purchase tickets, visit the website.

Published on April 21, 2022 by Reema Hindi
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