Situated right on the beach, this huge place has several components, including a live music venue and a nightclub called Selina's. Local celebrities and university students are constant patrons, but the most prominent clientele are backpackers passing through. With a host of hostels nearby, the Coogee Bay Hotel is a well-known, convenient destination. Live bands play most nights (mainstream rock is the music of choice), but you can also catch a game on TV, try your hand at pool, or just sit outside and drink. Everyone's eager to have a good time, and with so many options, it's not hard. To get there, hop the 377 or 315 bus to Arden Street.

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The oldest continually-licensed pub in Sydney, with four floors of entertainment ranging from restaurants to bars and dance floors. Popular with business professionals, it's a great place to kick off the weekend, even as early as Thursday evening. With four floors to wander through, you're certain to find a place to relax or to meet up with friends or associates. Plus, it's only a short walk from Town Hall or Wynyard stations.

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Frequented by people from all walks of life, this comfortable pub is favored by art students, beautiful locals, and business people. Having a drink in the beer garden before heading off to dinner is popular; alternatively, order from the local restaurant menus - chicken, pizza, burgers or Thai food delivered straight to your bar stool. The atmosphere is laid-back, and it's easy to initiate a conversation with someone new or to chat with old friends. DJ's spin on Friday and Saturdays from 9pm, with live bands often featuring on Saturday nights. Comfortable and classic, it's a city favorite. Take bus routes 380, 378, or 389 along Oxford Street from Circular Quay.

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Polished hardwood floors, arched windows, and historic architecture mark this lovely hotel and its multiple bars. The sleek Ground Bar sports a 360 degree bar, the Pool Bar offers four billiards tables, and the Club Bar has comfortable upholstered seating and a selection of terrific cigars. Drinks are delicious, and the bar food is satisfying and inexpensive. Tuesday are free champagne and oyster nights. Business people and professionals comprise the bulk of the clientele, and you'll find them hanging out after work and even on weekends. A short walk from Wynyard.

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Inner City

Spacious and airy, this establishment (both restaurant and back bar) is accented with bright colours and polished wooden floors in a funked up heritage building. Although it's stylish and upscale, the place has a casual ambience that eschews pretense, even though it's frequented in part by a wealthy and famous clientele. The buzz surrounding it is always good, as is the food, which comes at reasonable prices. The front bar has a slightly more contemporary feel with lots of dark wood and chili pepper-shaped lights suspended from the ceiling. It's a great place to chat and to mingle. Take the 380 bus from the city.

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North Shore

Popular with locals, this pub is one of the largest in Sydney and possibly the most family-friendly (with high chairs available and balloons given freely) - it's always full on weekends. Select and cook your own steak on the barbeques, or order tapas, pots of mussels or a gourmet pizza. The huge outdoor beer garden is a sea of twinkling lights at night; the Garden Palace Bar sports wood paneling and a fireplace and has a view of the namesake oak, and the 1936 Bar is designed to evoke the feel of a bygone era. Whichever you choose, you'll find friendly patrons and conversation. Hop a bus from QVB L90 or 151.

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For those nights when you just want to kick back and relax. A bohemian atmosphere and an eclectic mix of regulars distinguish this place, and you're certain to find artsy and musical types, along with university students and easy-going locals. Jazz plays low in the background, and the ambience is conducive both to quiet conversation and to intellectual discussion. Have a drink, sink back, and enjoy a place where conversation is easy and there's no hassle to reach the bar or just to get in. A menu lists food that can be delivered from the local cafes and restaurants including Thai, pizza, burgers, wraps and salads. BUS: 378, 380, 382 from the city.

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Darling Harbour

Whether you choose to sit inside at the bar or relax on the patio next to Darling Harbour, Pontoon should be your end-of-week destination. Popular with business professionals ready to kick off the weekend as well as with varied groups ranging in age from 20s to 40s, the bar is a favorite local watering hole. Music is relaxing, drinks are free-flowing, and Pontoon is a terrific place to decompress while you abandon work-week hassles and prepare for a few days of fun and leisure. DJ's play on Friday and Saturday nights and a live acoustic duo perform on Sunday afternoons. Catch the train to Town Hall, or hop a monorail to Darling Park.

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Slip Inn

With four bars and two nightclubs, this complex offers a choice of venues to suit your mood. The outdoor Garden Bar looks across the Harbour, the casual Slip Bar has pool tables and Thai food, and the Sand Bar offers seclusion for those who want to relax. The clientele is usually late 20s and mid 30s in age, but you'll find everyone from business suits on Friday to backpackers on Saturday. Music ranges from R&B to funk and easy listening. If you happen to be around at the right time, you may run into Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, or the guys from U2. A short walk from Town Hall Station or Wynyard Station.

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Q Bar pulls in a mixed crowd who enjoy the bar, the dance floor, and the array of pool tables. Computer games and pinball machines provide distraction when you take a break from dancing, and there's even an area to relax in when you just want to veg out for a moment. It's something of an old stand-by in the city, never cutting-edge but always reliable. Q Bar has a 24 hour license, so hours vary depending on the crowd. Buses run from Elizabeth Street to Oxford Street (numbers 378, 380, 382).

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