Sydney, despite it size, is a beach town at heart! Bronze bodies are everywhere and the atmosphere is remarkably laid back and welcoming.
Gay Villages… yes there’s more than one!
Roaming the town, Sydney`s heart is well laid out, with Hyde Park in the centre and various museums, shopping, botanical parks and gardens, cathedrals, hotels and ferry transportation all within walking distance. You can spend an afternoon having lunch in the park (where lots of hot men sunbathe during the day), stroll through downtown and explore Darling Harbour (IMAX Theatre and a wonderful Aquarium), Chinatown, the St. Mary’s Cathedral and so much more. Many cities only muster one gay village. Sydney has plenty. This is a big town, so focus. Sydney’s fashion and design crowd hang mostly in the eastern suburbs, from world-famous Bondi Beach to Darlinghurst and neighbouring Surry Hills, with its concentration of cool restaurants, bars, and village-like atmosphere. The inner western suburbs, such as Newtown and Erskineville, are more alternative and diverse, with a greater lesbian and student presence. Either way, it’s one big homo corridor.
Darlinghurst / Oxford Street
Yes, the traditional centre of queer life has been Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, but it has become more mixed in the last ten years. Some say it’s in decline, others say it’s just gay people becoming more mainstream with little need for just one gay place. However, it is still one of the most popular strips at night for partying.
Nearby Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay have become the home to the smart party set. They both enjoy a stunning harbour setting and close proximity to the nightlife hub of Kings Cross. Further up Oxford Street you get to Paddington. Once a bit of a dive, its rich network of Victorian terraces has long since been gentrified and it’s home to a lot of chi-chi metrogays.
North Bondi Beach
Then there’s the beach. North Bondi is the current plage du jour while Tamarama (Glamarama) is home to some very well-to-do gay Sydneysiders. Head inland a bit and you come to Newtown, a big rival for Darlinghurst’s mantle.
Up and coming districts
Next door, Erskinville has a very villagey feel and is being gentrified by an army of gay nesters. Then there is Redfern. It has long been one of the less salubrious parts of the city, but is coming up fast.
Gay Nightlife in Sydney
Nightlife ignites on Friday, when the after-work crowd fills the bars along Oxford Street, and simmers on Saturday with numerous gay parties. But things really explode on Sunday, when the Green Park and Bank hotels are filled with boys engaged in afternoon debauchery. The city’s gay scene has undergone significant changes with the introduction of laws that were brought in to prevent drink fueled incidents late at night. This has forced many venues to close while encouraging other venues to be more creative to attract visitors earlier in the evening. Out of town venues and afternoon events have sprung up as alternative places to party.
The bars tend to get busy after 11pm.. “lockout” rules mean you won’t be able to enter a bar after 1:30am, and sales of alcohol are restricted between 3am and 5am (these rules only apply in certain districts). The nature of going out in Sydney has changed. Many parties have shifted from night time to day parties; Apart from ARQ, clubs are no longer the go-to venues for gigs and DJs; and alternatives – pubs, warehouses, beaches, galleries – are being used.
If the bars and beaches aren’t your thing, don’t despair. Sydney has a thriving culture of indoor and outdoor sex-on-premise venues. There are saunas and sex clubs sprinkled all over the city. There’s the Kingsteam on Oxford Street and Bodyline in Taylor Square. For a wilder time, there is Signal Men’s Sex Club and Headquarters, both promising a good time.
There are numerous clothing stores, bookstores and adult merchandise (Tool Shed) shops. There is also some nice patio dining on street-side cafes, as well as very warm and cosy small restaurants all along Oxford St, which stay busy until late at night.
The European feel extends to the club hours – don’t be surprised to see folks still partying at 8am on Sunday morning, as you cruise along looking for a bite to eat. There’s a stereotype that Aussie men are just the most masculine men on the planet. But in fact, there’s a great cross-section in Sydney, including many European and British folks mixed in with a potpourri of Asians from Hong Kong, Singapore and more. There’s bound to be someone for everyone.