Live music has had a bit of a rough trot in Sydney lately, so we wanted to shout out to some of the unsung heroes of our industry – the venues who stick around providing regular, high-quality music week after week. The beauty of live music is that there’s something for everyone, so we aimed to show a few of our favourite ‘personalities’ around town. You’ll find something here whether you’re most comfortable gracing the town in a tux or busting out ya boardies.
1. Moya’s Juniper Lounge – Redfern
Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of Regent St., this little gem sits proudly on the list of any serious gin connoisseur. With a deliciously simple food menu to counter the extensive wall of sweet Madam Geneva, this place is sure to take you from post-work frustration to smarmy, Bond-esque smile in two minutes flat. The best part is there is free jazz every Tuesday night at 8pm with the resident band The Pocket Trio – head along and check them out. You won’t be sorry!
2. The Vanguard – Newtown
She’s back! After a three year hiatus the Vanguard sign once again sits proudly on King Street. Nostalgic for a New Orleans vaudevillian delight? Or do you just want to take a seat and be immersed in the art of some seriously talented international acts, and Australian up-and-comers. If your morning pre-work routine generally includes belting out the words to whatever is playing on the Js (while you struggle to find clean work pants), the Vanguard might well be the place for you. There’s something on most nights of the week, usually starting around 7pm so get in early and enjoy a cheeky cocktail.
3. The Bridge Hotel – Rozelle
If the walls of the Bridge could talk, the stories they would tell. This place has been a bastion of live music for decades and seen most of the big names in Australian rock grace its stage in years gone. There is simply no better place to grab your self a beer, untuck your shirt, and allow a distorted amp to welcome you to paradise. Our pick is the blues night every Wednesday at 8pm. For the month of May you’ll see Lucy Desoto, Bob Gale & Jake Lardot.
4. Little Jack Horner – Coogee
So the beach is more your style? We’ve got you covered! During the day, the odour in Jack’s is equal parts sea-salt and ground coffee – the smell of relaxation. But in the evening the café-come-bar stirs to life becoming a beacon for finely clad backpackers and locals alike. Incredibly, the bar packs in live music 4 nights a week (Thursday to Sunday), with the noise of singing and laughter escaping the French doors to find the sand of Coogee Beach a few meters away. We dare you to jump in for the Sunday session after a mid-autumn dip in the surf – go on, you’ll be fine, trust us…
5. The Valve Bar – CBD
For the non-conformist at heart, the Valve Bar likes things raw and gritty. Asserting itself as a home for Sydney’s underground music scene, the valve is bold, brash and unapologetic. If your keen for a night in the pit – thrashing to emerging metal, punk, goth, death metal, and hip hop talent – this should be the first stop on your list. Between sets you can take the pinball machine challenge or eat a bucket of wings to recharge. Sounds like a pretty good night to me. There’s live music Wednesday through Sunday every week.