Five Top Live Music Venues in Sydney

Olivia Watson
1st Mar 2017

Sydneysiders know we are somewhat spoilt for choice with live music events happening all through the week at venues of varying styles and sizes. We're all well aware of The Opera House, The Enmore Theatre, The Metro... jazz and funk lovers have long been patrons of The Basement, and we've had many a top night out at Oxford Art Factory and Newtown Social Club, which is sadly closing its doors. 

Here at Sydney Scoop we have taken our ears and eyes a little further than these classics, and we present to you music lovers five of our favourite spots in town to catch some live tunes.

Venue 505

Considered by many to be Sydney's leading jazz bar, at 505 it's not uncommon to see as many Sydney musos in the crowd as on the stage. Centrally located on Cleveland street,  505 opens its doors 6 nights a week for live music, ranging from casual free entry nights earlier in the week to featured local and international artists Thu-Sat. Come on a Monday for jazz jam and games night, Tuesday for old school funk & groove, or check the website for details of this week's featured bands.

Recent artists: Emma Pask, James Muller, Bandaluzia Flamenco & Naike Ponce

Camelot Lounge

True to its name, there is many a camel to be found at Camelot Lounge. The quirky Marrickville space is host to an ever evolving line up of live music, including gypsy, folk, jazz and more. It's where some of Sydney's more eclectic performances are found, with the venue committed to thinking outside the box with its shows. Camelot Lounge is now two spaces with Django Bar downstairs playing host to more live music during the week, as well as Gypsy Art life drawing sketch club on Wednesdays. Both bars are fully stocked with well priced drinks and a simple menu of pizzas and nibbles.

Recent artists: Monsieur Camembert, The Idea of North, Baby et Lulu


Leadbelly is the reincarnation of Newtown's former space The Vanguard. The ramshackle charm of The Vanguard is still in place, and the venue hosts free live music four nights a week (Thu-Sun). Leadbelly is a second venture by the team behind Tipple Bar & Bistro in Surry Hills, who wanted to bring a new home of live music to the people of the Newtown area. The aim here is a focus on music that is local, fresh, and predominantly free. They've kept the stage, sound and basic set up of the previous venue, but it's evidently a new place with a different style and different ambitions. The bar and kitchen can keep punters happily fed and watered, and there are exciting future plans for a dinner-and-show set up. For now, the small tables on the balcony level provide a lovely option for taking in the music at a relaxed distance.

Recent artists: King Tide, Gemma Ray (UK), Bears With Guns

Foundry 616

A more recent addition to the Sydney music scene, Foundry 616 is making a name for itself as an atmospheric local jazz club, and it's drawing a solid lineup. The stage plays host to a wide range of local and international acts, focusing on contemporary jazz and related genres. They also host some monthly residencies and have a strong emphasis on featuring female artists, being supporters of the Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival.

Recent artists: Dale Barlow Band, Hikashu (Japan), The Starr Sisters, Phil Wiggins

The Newsagency

They call themsleves "Sydney's Tiniest Live Music Venue". If you haven't heard of The Newsagency yet, listen up. This 40-person-capacity cozy space in, yes, an old newsagency, is a gem of the Sydney music scene, hosting an assortment of intimate gigs in what could pass as your neighbour's living room. Owner Alison Avron created the space to allow local musicians like herself a small, music-focused venue to perform in. Emphasis truly is on the music and thus there is no bar to distract - but it's BYO (don't forget to BYO glass too) and The Vic is just across the road, offering discount takeaways for patrons of The Newsagency. Word has it that this delightful little venue will be moving location soon: watch this space.

Recent artists: Lanie Lane, Ngaiire, Ray Mann

Image with thanks to Camelot Lounge