When the lockout laws hit Sydney in 2014, many of us asked where all those late-night revellers were going to go. The answer was Newtown. The suburb famous for the diversity of its pedestrians and its unbroken strip of cheap eats and vintage shops is now one of Sydney’s busiest late-night hotspots.

The heart of this new midnight to morning movement is located in the suburb’s pubs. Early in the evening they host trivia and live-sports events and serve grub as good as the restaurants next door. Later, the stage is set for local DJs, musicians and drag performers. These are our favourites.

Union Hotel

Easily one of the best craft beer pubs in Sydney thanks to 22 rotating taps, a hefty selection of both imported and local bottles and a range of styles that includes niche one-off ingredient infusions and beers so atypical they could be confused as wines. There are over 100 all up plus a solid selection of gins and whiskeys. Despite this it doesn’t feel like exclusive to beer nerds. Check the families, the Swans fans and the young Newtonians gathering to watch their friends’ bands.

576 King Street, Newtown

Courthouse Hotel

Off the main drag, and better for it – the Courthouse has maintained its charm and local popularity. The leafy beer garden is still full of dogs, kids and a huge variety of punters; the pinball machines and pool tables are manned by both veterans and university-age novices; and the menu still lists all the pub classics – and vegetarian versions of them, too.

202 Australia St, Newtown
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The Carlisle Castle Hotel

Established in 1876, this motley pub seems to have been through as many renovations and changes as the suburb around it. One thing that’s remained the same is the Carlisle’s charm. This is a pub that still feels like a pub. But the retro appeal isn’t the only draw. There’s 17 taps with high quality crafts and cheap commercial crews. The menu is simple and expected but feels bloody great on a sunny afternoon in the beer garden.

19 Albermarle, Newtown

Botany View Hotel

Once a dive bar with an enviable rooftop, now a charming music venue with an enviable rooftop. Thank Paddy Coughlan for that, the pub-renewer behind Chippendale’s Lord Gladstone and Camperdown’s Lady Hampshire. You can also thank him for picture-perfect cheeseburgers that look like fast-food ads, and a rotating list of tapped and less-heralded brews. Despite all that, it remains one of the few pubs without bar queues, and the volume level is still conducive to a good chat.

597 King Street, Newtown

The Newtown Hotel

The best of Newtown’s busy main-drag operators. This hip pub can get a bit mental on Friday and Saturday evenings thanks to its visual prominence, proximity to Sydney Uni and $5 happy-hour pizzas. On weekdays it’s easier to nab a pool table, a sunny beer-garden bench or a seat at the balcony – which is one of Sydney’s great people-watching perches. If you’re there on a Friday check out the drag show – and if you make a booking for four or more, they’ll even throw in bottomless prosecco for $40 per person.

Pub 174 King Street, Newtown
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The Bank Hotel

A Solotel-group-renewed pub that’s oddly both glossy and edgy, mostly due to the fact that it’s many venues in one – an upstairs cocktail-led bar with a community-driven program of performers; a dog-friendly and family-oriented beer garden with a retractable roof; and a downstairs bar that deals in craft beer and folded pizzas with mostly-Italian toppings.

324 King Street, Newtown
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