A guide to Sydney’s best dance floors
Sydney has a dance floor to suit every mood: sometimes you feel like belting out Taylor Swift songs with you and 200 mates, and other nights you want to sip tiki cocktails and move your body to R&B.
Leave your inhibitions at the door and be guided to some of the best dance floors across Sydney, where you can really let your hair down.
The Cliff Dive, Darlinghurst
This Darlinghurst tiki bar might have ‘dive’ in the title, but it’s far from disheveled. Run by the team behind the laid-back Tio’s, The Cliff Dive is unpretentious yet still carefully considered. The club’s tropical decor extends to the colourful menu – a mix of canned beers and theatrical smoking cocktails served in tiki mugs of monkeys; you can’t help feel like you’re on holiday here. Friday and Saturdays skew towards R&B and hip-hop with a bit of dancehall mixed in, while Sunday is all about techno.
The Lord Gladstone, Chippendale
Things get loud at The Lord Gladstone, a classic local’s pub that doubles as a cultural hub in Chippendale. Upstairs is Goodspace Gallery, where opening nights often spool out to the beer garden, which is quick to become a dancefloor. On weekends, day parties make the most of the afternoon sun: expect a sea of bucket hats and Hawaiian shirts going off to house music mixed in with fun floor-fillers. If you need to burn some energy, live indie acts regularly inspire impromptu mosh pits, too.
ivy, Sydney CBD
If you’re in the mood for a long day-into-night of partying, choose the ivy – which has a space to match every mood. At its heart is a two-level hall that, from Thursday to Sunday, offers a Miami-style party spectacle of confetti cannons, pyrotechnics and high-production performances. If you’re seeking something more intimate, upstairs features cabana rooms to chill in and smaller dance floors, with balconies overlooking the floor below. On Saturdays, LGBTQI night Poof Doof takes over with queer DJs, drag performers and pop stars. For a transformative experience, each Sunday Lost Paradise throws a mini-version of its tropical electronica festival.
The Argyle, The Rocks
The Argyle has been turbocharging Sydney’s nightlife, from high-energy bars and live music in the heart of The Rocks. The two-storey bar has plenty of space to let your hair down and dance the night away. Every Friday the bar offers good time vibes with regular DJ appearences, house and RnB, you can step out and enjoy a drink at one of its six bars. Get ready to shimmy on Wednesday Salsa nights, where you can groove to the best Latin American music and even get a salsa lesson while your there.
The Imperial, Erskineville
While made immortal by The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Imperial doesn’t coast on being Australia’s best known LGBTQI venue. Across three levels there’s rooftop restaurant bar Up; the ground floor’s Priscilla’s Drag’N’Dine bistro; while downstairs the club awaits. Home to nights thrown by Heaps Gay and Honcho Disko, the lower level offers an eclectic mix of pop-electronica DJs, boundary-pushing drag and LGBTQI+ performers. The ground-level front room is packed on weekend nights, too, as DJs blast through old-faithful hits and new pop classics – nowhere else in Sydney makes you feel as free, and you can’t help but scream along with the rest of the packed floor.
The Marlborough, Newtown
Call it Marly bar, everyone else does. Of all the pubs littered down Newtown’s King Street, The Marly is most guaranteed to have heaving dance floors every weekend. If you’re keen to get rowdy and feel the electric energy, head to the front room for live shows by leading local indie-rock acts. Be ready to mosh. But if you’re after less guitar, DJs mix party tunes with old gems upstairs at Cuckoo, while downstairs is the intimate Tokyo Sing Song, a rave cave that holds regular hyper pop nights, as well as anything high-BPM – don’t be surprised if you wake up with aching muscles the next day.
Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst
Known as one of Sydney’s best live-music venues, Oxford Art Factory (OAF) transforms into one of Darlinghurst’s finest clubs when the bands pack up. DJs often kick in straight after a gig finishes, meaning the dancing doesn’t have to stop. Themed nights regularly take over OAF’s two rooms, either focused around one artist (Taylor Swift’s a favourite) or era (2000s emo-punk, early ‘00s pop) – you’ll get emotional, surrounded by fellow superfans belting out every lyric.
Club 77, Darlinghurst
For two decades, this Darlinghurst basement bunker has been the site of the city’s rowdiest, sweatiest club nights. In its current iteration, 77 – or Sevs, as everyone calls it – owns Sydney’s Sunday nights with Pavlova Bar (aka Pavs), run by queer party starters House of Mince. Expect a heavy-hitting mix of industrial, techno and house, and for the dancefloor to be filled with club kids of all ages: imagine mesh, tracksuits, colour, leather and a lot of skin. For a breather, there’s a room of couches, but don’t be surprised if it’s near-empty: most head upstairs for fresh air and a chat.
Hotel Harry, Surry Hills
Sunshine-soaked and decked out with colourful Cuban decor, Hotel Harry is an essential Surry Hills stop for a golden-hour beverage and Mexi-Cuban feed. Stick around after the sun sets as upstairs transforms into a home for Sydney’s scene-defining DJs, overseen by the Picnic team, stalwarts of the city’s electronic community. Tropical cocktails pair well whether enjoying an all-night solo session by EDM hero Generik, vibing to a vinyl disco-soul set, or going hard at label Mortoik’s legendary house nights. Be warned: you’ll get carried away and always stay later than intended, with Harry’s open long into the night.
Beach Road Hotel, Bondi
Sydney’s music scene wouldn’t be the same without this taste-making Bondi institution. Long after they’ve made it, festival-leading acts like Art Vs. Science and Giggs return to play at the pub (and often for free). Throughout the week, pop upstairs and you’ll feel the pulsing energy of the tanned, salty-haired crowd, whether it’s an indie-rock or dance-pop gig. And if you’re ever in the need of a mid-week session, Sosueme is the hottest Wednesday night out in the eastern suburbs.