The Best Live Music Venues In Sydney’s Inner City And Inner West

March 6th, 2020 - by Brad Gillespie

The inner city and inner west have been the birthplaces and training grounds of countless Australian bands as far back as the late 1800s, and despite rumours to the contrary, Sydney’s inner-city live music scene is still very much alive and kicking today.

If you’re keen to discover why live music remains a vital part of the inner city’s identity, check out a gig at one of these venues.

The Marrickville Bowling & Recreation Club – Marrickville

The unique, no fuss atmosphere at the Marrickville Bowlo has seen bands from local favourites to Midnight Oil play here. It features gigs most weekends, hosting an eclectic mix of international acts, local up-and-comers and even mini-festivals, such as the renowned Mad Racket. The ample outdoor area is a real point of difference and a great place to mingle. With its old school sports club vibe, there’s nowhere else quite like it to catch live music.

The Lansdowne – Chippendale

The iconic Lansdowne holds a hallowed place in the Australian pub music scene. Playing host to bands like Died Pretty, The Go-Betweens and You Am I before closing down in 2015, it has since been refreshed and reopened. Now it offers a live music venue that feels both intimate and big enough to rock out in, depending on who’s on stage. Food comes courtesy of Mary’s Pizzeria, which has developed a cult following of its own for its pizza crusts made from forty-eight-hour-fermented dough. With gigs on almost every night, and many of them free, the renewed Lansdowne is well worth a visit.

The Enmore - Enmore

The Enmore Theatre is the longest-running live music venue in NSW and the biggest venue on our list - it holds 2,500 people. It’s an inner west institution, with its distinctive heritage-listed Art Deco façade a local landmark. The Enmore is a great venue to catch well-known international and Australian acts, including beloved acts from the 70s, 80s and 90s, contemporary acts and quality tributes to classic bands and musicians. Its location amongst the diverse restaurants of Enmore Road puts it in an ideal spot for grabbing a bite to eat before or after a show.

The Vanguard – Newtown

Originally opened in 2003 and re-opened following refurbishment in 2018, The Vanguard is a purpose-built live music venue offering gigs most nights of the week. Here you’ll find everything from contemporary triple j acts to blues, jazz, country and rock. The Vanguard attracts both Australian and international acts to its grungy but elegant space. It boasts a kitchen open late serving such fare as pizza, share plates and even desserts. As well as comprehensive cocktail and wine lists, the drinks offering has an emphasis on inner west breweries who support live music, with the locally brewed pale ale Young Henrys Newtowner on tap.

The Imperial - Erskineville

For something a bit different to grungy live music pub, try The Imperial in Erskineville. Since 1983 the Imperial has been an institution of the LGBT+ community, so much so that it even featured in the cult film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’. In 2018 The Imperial re-opened following renovations. As well as drag shows most nights of the week it now offers live performance, DJs and parties twice weekly in its dedicated performance space The Basement, self-described as a sanctuary for self-expression. All are welcome!

If you want to find out more about why Sydney’s inner city and inner west are great places to live and buy real estate contact our team today.