Where to Eat and Drink at the 2023 Mardi Gras Parade

Updated 9 months ago


The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will make a triumphant return to its spiritual home of Oxford Street on Saturday, February 25. It's right on time for Sydney World Pride, a 17-day celebration of queer Australian people and culture. The day also marks the 45th anniversary of the first parade.

This year’s World Pride theme is "Gather, Dream, Amplify", which you’ll find threaded through 200 floats and the 12,500 marchers expected along the stretch from Hyde Park to Moore Park, with free and premium viewing areas along the way.

But what’s the plan before and after the main event? Whether you’re after a bottomless drag brunch beforehand, a late-night boogie afterwards or a laid-back recovery session on Sunday, this list has you covered.

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  • Darlinghurst’s “artistic living” room is where you want to be on parade day (and plenty of other days during World Pride). On Saturday, it’s throwing a huge viewing party from 4pm–late with DJs and live performances. And on Sunday, a rooftop recovery session from 3pm to put you back on top.

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  • The Bero is throwing up a huge screen in its fairy-lit courtyard if you need to stop in for sustenance between floats. The fun kicks off from 2pm, and you can book a table ahead if you plan on parking here for a while. And if you’re keen to extend your weekend, the pub’s famous Sunday session is a huge vibe, with rotating DJs and free entry.

  • As ever, The Taphouse is flying the pride flag for this year’s celebration. The party will take over all three levels (including Elm Rooftop Bar) and you can expect DJs, live entertainment and pride-inspired cocktails. There’ll be plenty of screens showing the parade – but you’ll also get front row seats as it marches past the pub.

  • The beating heart of Sydney’s queer and drag culture is going all out on parade day. First up, it’s a fancy drag feast at the rooftop bar ($69) with DJs and drag shows by a line-up of Sydney’s best queens. Then it’s viewing parties across the whole venue – including a VIP package with five-hours of bottomless drinks and Italian snacks, plus a ticket to the pub’s all-night Mardi Gras party.

  • The Royal’s Boujee Brunch is here to cover all your pre-parade needs. An $89 ticket includes bottomless bevs, a rainbow sushi platter, tacos, a chocolate fondue fountain and more. This one’s nice and close to all the action, and kicks off from 11am.

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  • Catch all the colour and excitement of the parade at the Forrey’s Mardi Gras viewing party. For $79, you’ll get a “go-go juice” cocktail on arrival to perk you up, plus a greatest hits selection of canapés to keep you going. Good times guaranteed.

  • A beautiful cross between a pub, a bistro and chicken shop; the Paddo is hosting a boozy parade brunch” to get you all fired up. Courses include lobster spring rolls, rotisserie chicken, rainbow macarons and so much more for $80. There’ll also be drag queen shows, DJs and an Absolut vodka cocktail on arrival.

  • Fuel up for the parade (or crawl in the next day) at this refined Italianate pub. It’s open for all-day dining throughout World Pride, with resident DJs keeping the vibe high on the big day from 1pm till late. It's a short walk away from Oxford Street.

  • The boozy brunch here is a dead-set winner any old weekend. But on Mardi Gras weekend, it’s a great option for a pre-parade feed or a chill recovery session (the last sitting on Sunday is at 3pm). Customise the set menu with one of several bottomless drinks packages (Mimosas, prosecco or mix and match), or simply add brunch cocktails as you go.

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  • An Australiana-themed bush doof in the inner west? Say hello to Vic on the Pardi Gras. Hosted by good-times DJ duo The Dollar Bin Darlings, there’ll be live entertainment, drink specials and a live screening of the parade out in the courtyard. If you’re recovering in the inner west, too, there’s a session on Sunday with slushie machines, DJs and more.

  • The city’s favourite subterranean saloon has partnered up with World Pride for Browneye’s, a series of honkytonk performances “in the key of queer”. It’ll be business as usual on Mardi Gras night – but that’s no reason why you can’t do a little boot scootin’ here anyway. Open till late.

  • On Mardi Gras Saturday (and every Saturday) cocktails on every level of this sprawling boozer are just $12 from 9pm–11pm. Hit the rooftop for an excellent vantage point above Oxford Street.

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  • Upstairs at Big Poppa’s might be one of city’s best places for cheese, but the subterranean bar is an underrated spot for a late-night boogie. Italian food, drinks and hip-hop until 3am. Yes.

  • This Australiana pub just brought back its banger “bistro disco” in time for World Pride. Make for the mirror ball at 10pm – there’s a cracking natural wine list to keep you lubricated.

  • Celebrate the parade’s fabulous homecoming with a glass of seriously good vino at this Italian stallion right near Taylor’s square. It’s one of the country’s best wine bars – with elegant pastas and snacks in the dining room upstairs.

  • A watering hole for the Surry Hills and Darlo crowd since time began. It tends to get pretty lively on a Saturday night, which is always a good thing come Mardi Gras.

  • You’ll be well-placed to drop into this local gem either side of the parade. It’s got you covered with classic cocktails (think Margaritas, espresso Martinis and friends), plus solid pub grub if you need to fortify yourself before a big night out.

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  • This Woollahra institution is a quick ride to and from action. If you’re after a refined, Med-inspired pub experience before the parade, look no further.