Howdy bears and boys, it’s time we cover the epicentre of Sydney’s gay party strip – Oxford Street. Beginning in Sydney’s CBD, Oxford Street stretches along Darlinghurst and ends in the Suburb of Paddington. Whatever your fancy is; be it pubs, clubs, a hidden eatery, or a simple but satisfying coffee, Oxford’s hallowed rainbow filled strip and side streets will provide. For those of you who’re new to Mardi Gras, Oxford Street is also the starting point for the Mardi Gras Parade, fair warning though, the day of the parade is pure bedlam, so if you want to watch the show you’ll either need to get there early, or find a well-placed balcony to oversee the proceedings.
Let us start with the plethora of bars you can find along the rainbow strip, Kinselas, Stonewall Hotel, The Oxford Hotel, The Oxford Art Factory, Palms Nightclub, Midnight Shift, ARQ, and finally The Exchange Hotel, where our very own Jonny Bastin’s Bear Bar will be open for the duration of Mardi Gras. If a venue full of furry fun and action is your preference then you should make your way onto Kinselas of a Friday evening where the Harbour City Bears hold their weekly meet and greet. Also make sure to head on down to Bear Bar where the venue will be open to the bears every evening from the 27th of February to the 8th of March, and features a new event every night.
For a venue that allows you to shake your money maker, make your way to Midnight Shift (also referred to as The Shift) where the music is a consistent mix or camp, pop, and top 40. You could also find yourself wandering off Oxford slightly to one of Sydney’s largest and most inclusive bars – ARQ. Three levels of amazing company, great DJ’s, and energy filled events for everyone to party on into the early hours of the morning. Finally if retro is your guilty pleasure then you’ll want to party on over to Palms Nightclub where the music has seemingly been pulled right out of Liberace’s playlist – Kylie, ABBA, Madonna, and all your old camp favourites. Palm’s interior is so tacky that you can’t help but feel this was done deliberately to add to its old school charm. Take into account this venue is always popular, it may take some time to get in but it is certainly worth the wait.
Oxford Street also hosts a number of gay friendly apparel shops, from kinky leather harnesses all the way down to touching gay literature, you can window shop all you like and maybe even spend a pretty penny on that ball gag you’ve eyeing. If you are indeed looking for a nice piece of leather to go with your denim then try your luck at Sax Fetish, located along Oxford. It has a wide variety of kink and fetish gear for you to choose from, and you’re more than likely to find what you are looking for. However if you are looking for something a tad more tame you might want to take a trip further down Oxford to The Bookshop. I have come across some amazing novels and biographies in this quaint little store. It’s much more than just a book store though, it stocks hard to find gay films, art books, and mills and boon styled erotica for the reader with an over active imagination.
Finally, if you’re looking for a bit more of a steamy session with someone you’ve happened to meet while out and about, Oxford is able to provide you with some more “private” boarding. The Sydney Sauna (formally known as Kingsteam) is ready and willing to receive you and your friend. You’ll find, private rooms, a sauna or two as well as spa and film room – whatever takes your fancy. If your tastes are a little more grungy and kinky you may consider Headquarters which has more of a dark room feel to its venue. You can, as always, find your own place to park or simply meander around and find what, or who, it is you’re looking for. Sydney does have a few other venues both on and off Oxford Street, and following this link will provide you a quick insight into the sultry depths of Sydney.