Bars and Nightclubs
George Street, Sydney

Side Bar

509 Pitt St, Sydney, 2000, NSW
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A visit to Side Bar is a prerequisite for any recently-arrived backpacker, and rightly so. Situated on the corner of Pitt and George St, under Wake Up! Hostel, it provides a fun, cheap night, no matter the day of the week.

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Side Bar Review

Review By Sean Slatter

Located in the heart of Sydney's backpacker district near Central station, Side Bar is an obvious choice for international travellers visiting Sydney. With a slogan of 'mix with the world' and a description on the bar's website which boasts it as 'Sydney's best night out, and you don't even have to go anywhere', it is clear that the bar itself does nothing to dispel this reputation. Despite this, there is an even mix of locals and internationals to enjoy what it has to offer on a Friday night.

The underground setting (Side bar is below a backpacker hostel) and the fluorescent lights means that it has the feel of a King's Cross nightclub when you first walk in. The lack of teenagers in skin tight black jeans and the fact that the DJ is playing one hit wonders from the '90s means that this perception is quickly challenged. While it does provide everyone with a feeling of nostalgia, the music does little to fill the dance floor with most people taking advantage of the couches that surround the perimeter of the venue. The fact that the bar is the centrepiece of the area means that people are able to spread out and avoid long drink queues.

The dance floor begins to become more occupied once a live band begins playing music from a stage located in the far left corner of the bar. Their mix of modern chart toppers coupled with some old favourites is more than enough to get the crowd's attention and get them off their seats. One of the downsides of the layout of Side Bar is that the toilets are located in the opposite corner to the dance floor, which means that if your friend says that they are going to the bathroom you probably won't see him or her for at least ten minutes.

This minor inconvenience does not seem to influence the mood of the crowd, however, who are enjoying the laidback atmosphere that the venue provides. One of the main reasons for this relaxed vibe is the bar staff whose friendly and patient attitude in face of endless foreign drink orders has to be admired. Their smiles - along with a crowd that wants nothing more than to enjoy a taste of Sydney nightlife while they can - means that Side Bar is a welcome environment for anyone looking for something more than posers and hipsters.

Don't let the fluorescent lights fool you.

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A 2nd Side Bar Review

Review By Emily Jacobs

A visit to Side Bar is a prerequisite for any recently-arrived backpacker, and rightly so. Situated on the corner of Pitt and George St, under Wake Up! Hostel, it provides a fun, cheap night, no matter the day of the week.

Filled with young things looking for a good time, Side Bar is a slightly more modern version of its cousin, Scubar. With neon lights and a slick, modern bar in the middle of the room, it attempts to bridge the gap between the average backpacker bar and the most premier bars around town. The open spaces and couches mean you can have a chat, albeit competing with very loud music, or just take a break from dancing. The lighting is just right to create that party atmosphere as well. Until 10pm, tables and chairs are set out for an opportunity to chat, as well as a big screen showing music videos. After that, everything is removed to make one big dance floor.

The clientele consists mainly of backpackers and young university students wanting to have some fun with friends and foreigners. Therefore, most people inside are three drinks past drunk. Despite this, the music is pumping until 1am and people are generally having a good time. On Mondays, when busiest, the crowd is full of drunk and attractive people, meaning dignity can be left at the door.

Mondays are the busiest, but any night will bring entertainment, with trivia, live music and DJs throughout the week. Tuesday's feature 'Tight Arse Trivia' and live music, whilst there is a pool competition and more live music on Thursdays.

The music is top 40 with a twist. DJ Heidi mixes the mainstream tracks really well, and doesn't play any song for too long, keeping dancers interested. Tracks from the 80's and 90's also feature, providing a nice foray back into childhood. With everyone singing along, it's impossible not to enjoy yourself.

Sidebar is open all day until 1am. There are drink specials throughout the day but by far the most affordable are $12 Absolut jugs from 8-10pm. They aren't the fanciest drinks but are definitely better than your average jug.

Overall, Side Bar is a great place to meet new people and beat the post-weekend blues. If you're looking for an opportunity to catch up with friends over a drink or two, Side Bar is probably not the place for you. However, if you're up for a trashy night out with cheap drinks and a good mix of Australians and backpackers, Side Bar is the place to be.

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Captured At Side Bar

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