TOP FIVES: Live Music Venues In Sydney

by Hannah Galvin

THE STANDARD

As you know, PURPLE SNEAKERS is a website dedicated to sharing our love of both new and old, local and international talent; so in saying that, we’re obviously fanatic patrons of the live music scene.

Being the indulgent gig-goers that we are, we’ve visited many a venue from our respective hometowns to see these amazing bands and artists perform, allowing us to indulge in a slice of buttery heaven, be it on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Without these venues, we wouldn’t have the same accessibility to see our favourite musicians perform, and that would suck loads. So we thought, hey, thanks for being a bunch of bros you top dogs. Here’s a top five article just for you guys that house not only the performers, but the everlasting love of every live music fan.

So let’s kick off with the Sneakers crew’s favourite Sydney venues!

GOODGOD SMALL CLUB

Located just off George Street’s grunge, GoodGod Small Club is a secret underground lair that hosts a variety of bands and artists every single week. Predominantly using the Danceteria as their main bandroom, you’ll also catch live music in the front bar.

Home sweet home to the exotic tastes of their restaurant The Dip, as well as cool cocktail jugs and their freshly formed trivia nights, GoodGod is definitely one of Sydney’s best but not quite kept secrets.

OXFORD ART FACTORY

In the heart of Oxford Street sits its Art Factory – a 500 people capacity downstairs venue. To the left of OAF‘s womb is a black room and a curtained stage with just the right amount of elevation. Take the horse shoe route from the front door of the venue and you’ll come into contact with the Gallery Bar – a quirky space made up of seated booths and a short platform at the back of the room for band performance and/or dancing. Both rooms feature a long, narrow bar serving beers, wine, cider and spirits by the can/bottle, as well as shots and ridiculously cool cocktails. Where else can you drink an Andy Warhol?

What’s really cool about OAF is that is offers its body as a blank canvas to both musicians and visual artists. More noticeably in the Gallery Bar, the space has seen a series of murals and projections paint the walls of the room, conducted by the different styles, themes and techniques of a variety of artists. Even the glass cabinet that partitions the rooms has seen some crazy cool installations! Remember The Rubens‘ album artwork visually brought to life?

FBi SOCIAL

Community radio station FBi Radio launched its very own venue about two years ago called FBi Social, located on the second level of the Kings Cross Hotel (yeah we vomit at the thought of the Cross too, but this place is defs an exception). Housing a bar, a seated area and a stage with a huge backdrop of the station’s name, the venue creates the same charm to the independent music scene that it does on air.

Expanding the station’s benefits, FBi supporters receive 10% off drinks as well as discounted tickets (depending on the act). Not bad considering its home to both local and international talent! Get down on a Wednesday arvo at 1pm for the venue’s ‘Lunch Break’ to catch an hour live set of a band that receives some well deserved FBi airwaves. Fuck yeah daytime gigs!

BEACH ROAD HOTEL

What may appear to look like just one of Sydney’s cleaner looking pubs, Beach Road Hotel boasts an upstairs venue for the general public. This huge space features a built in stage neighbouring an odd indoor smoking area on one side, and pool tables and couches on the other, glued together by a long, oval bar. With plenty of viewing space available, the greatest thing about watching bands perform live here is that they’re always free shows!

The only downside to Beach Road is that it can be pretty annoying to get to/stay out and party with when you’re travelling via public transport. It’s still super worth it though so suck it up and enjoy the shenanigans!

THE STANDARD

Opposite Taylor Square sits The Standard – the child of Sydney’s iconic Kinselas Hotel. Once you reach the top of the building’s final set of stairs, a metal fence leads you to the venue’s dancefloor – the space just before the diagonal stage that beckons from the corner of the back two walls, outwardly facing the audience allowing an easier view of the band or artist occupying the room. Just like OAF, the venue is also very dark inside, creating the illusion that the room is bigger than what is really is. Cheeky.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

ANNANDALE HOTEL

As if we’d forget! But let’s be honest, with all the crap the venue has endured, the place will never quite be the same gritty hotel that we know and love it as. So let’s just remember it like that without explaining what it will be.

RED RATTLER

Also suffering health problems, this character of a venue has reached a place it would rather not be in. Regardless though, it’s a beautiful little venue and deserves to live a long and prosperous life! SAVE THE RAT

ENMORE THEATRE

Another breath-taking venue, the Enmore truly is a delight to attend with amazing sound and history. In saying that though, it can sometimes feel a little too big, and we’re quite the fans of intimate crowds so forgive us for it’s lowered mention!

MANNING BAR

Sydney Uni’s Manning Bar is a super cool space that is visually accessible from any line of sight, no matter where you’re standing in the room! Send your thanks to the designers of the venue.

POP UP PARTIES

Seeing bands play one-off shows at places you normally wouldn’t go to simply rules. Think warehouses and backyards.

THE ABERCROMBIE

Purple Sneakers’ first home ;)

R.I.P

HOPETOUN HOTEL

Shut in 2009, the boarded up venue sits idle on its corner, after a handwritten note was unexpectedly taped to the door explaining its abrupt disbandment.

GAELIC CLUB

What used to be Purple Sneakers’ home to Sydney club LAST NIGHT, the Irish pub woke up one day to grasp a wine and dine theme rather than continue to be a music hub. What a limerick.

THE HARP

Just a week after the Hoey, The Harp too closed it’s doors for good thanks to a dispute between management and the owners of the Irish pub.

Published on Purple Sneakers.