thrillist | Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney

by Natasha Bazika, and shared on with the permission of thrillist

February 15, 2022

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival is back, and it’s here to make a statement. As always, expect fun, glamour, a lot of glitters and plenty of colours as the city joins together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.

This year’s festival will run from February 18 to March 6, and we have every fabulous way to celebrate in style.

Mardi Gras Fair Day

Sunday, February 20
Victoria Park
The biggest and most colourful event of the opening weekend of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2022, Fair Day, returns to Victoria Park on Sunday 20 February for a full day of entertainment and picnicking in the sun. With over 200 stalls, Fair Day is a free event spread out through the entire park and features the famous Doggywood Pageant, live entertainment and activations.

Mardi Gras Parade

Saturday, March 5
It’s the main event, and while it may look a little different again with restrictions, it’s going to be a gay old time nonetheless. Uniting over 6500 marchers across 160+ glittering floats, a star-studded line-up of special guests and a couple of surprises—this is one you’re not going to want to miss. There will be plenty of performances by Vanessa Amorosi, Prinnie Stevens, Darren Hayes, and more.

After Dark at Hyde Park

Thursday, February 24
Hyde Park
After Dark at the Hyde Park barracks is back again, with live music, installations and discussions on offer. Expect a queer-friendly program, championing a diverse community, music from FBi Radio, sonic tour of the Barracks, life drawing, and more.

NOLA x Southern Comfort New Orleans Mardi Gras Party

Friday, March 4
NOLA Smokehouse and Bar invite you to partake in the festivities of New Orleans Mardi Gras, with a night of live music and cocktails on Friday 4th March from 5 pm as we dress up for the carnival. The Barangaroo venue has partnered with Southern Comfort to create three delicious cocktails, a group serve Champagne Punch and two limited availability dishes from the restaurant. In true Mardi Gras style, a roaming brass band will make an appearance from 6 pm, playing traditional tunes straight from the Big Easy. Bar table bookings are recommended to avoid missing out.

Mardi Gras at The Winery

Friday, February 18 – Wednesday, March 9
Surry Hills
There’s plenty to do at The Winery, including a Big Gay Brunch hosted by Sydney Drag royalty, a Drag Bingo, cocktail masterclasses, and comedy night. Of course, this all comes to a close with a three-day-long recovery session with $10 Bloody Mary’s all day every day to cure the hangovers.

Mardi Gras Feast at Cuckoo Callay

Saturday, February 12- Sunday, March 6
Surry Hills
Nobody does extra like Cuckoo Callay. During Mardi Gras celebrations, you can stop in for rainbow French toast, or dig into the Shrimp Po’Boy,  an authentic New Orleans style sandwich on a hoagie roll that comes stuffed with crispy polenta fried shrimp, cheese, red onion, horseradish remoulade, pickles, lettuce, and a side of salt and vinegar chips. They also have watermelon and cucumber sangrias, by the jug.

Mardi Gras at Watson’s

Saturday, March 5
Entertainment Quarter
Party until sunrise with an all-star line-up, headlined by the Queen of Glitterland, international superstar, DJ KITTY GLITTER who will be joined by some of Sydney’s hottest DJ’s and performers including a live performance from Drag Queen, Joyce Maynge and a mix of uninhibited house, pop and feelgood bangers from the likes of Kate Monroe, Estee Louder, DJ NATE, Dan Azzo and more.

Unite with friends and lovers alike as Watson’s is transformed into a technicolour playground. Party from day to night and beyond on the alfresco decks underneath the fairy-lit fig trees. Enjoy the Mardi Gras Parade live on the mega screen in the courtyard or head on up to Danny’s Bar on level 1 and disco until dawn on the Nueva Nights dance floor.

First release tickets are on sale now, $45 will give you all-day access to the Watson’s GAY FOR IT! event, with doors opening from 11:30 am AEST. Live entertainment will run from midday through to 3:30 am AEST. Those holding GAY FOR IT! Tickets are welcome to join in the celebrations pre and post parade or stay on for the whole event. This is a strictly 18+ occasion.

Hot Mess House Party at Oxford Tavern

Saturday, March 5
The Tav & the Dollar Bin Darlings and their Bottom Dollar Buddies will be bringing you a hot mess of DJs and Go-Go Dancers, on one of Sydney’s favourite nights of the year. As always, the Tav is providing what they do best, steamy late nights, good music, indie beers & smokin’ bbq. Entry is free but bookings are strongly encouraged to secure your spot and to avoid disappointment.

Alfresco Day Party at The Old Fitzroy

Saturday, March 5
Join the Mardi Gras party at everyone’s favourite alfresco, featuring legendary guests; DJ Chip, Mike Kelly and Side Hustle DJs who will be spinning the decks, keeping you groovin all night long. Guarantee yourself a blissful afternoon packed with delicious bites, aperitivos and fantastic bangers.

Dine with a Queen at Forrester’s

Saturday, February 26
Surry Hills
To celebrate Mardi Gras 2022, Forrester’s are hosting a special Bottomless Rose Lunch complete with Queens, sparkles, music and flowing drinks. With Queen Millenia Alcox as star of the show, along with her friends Raquel & Victoria Mami, you’re in for an amazing afternoon. Kicking off at 12pm, you’ll enjoy their special Mardi Gras banquet with flowing rose while you sit back in Phylli’s garden. Be entertained by an incredible Queen show while you dine. Be sure to wear your best sparkles and glam and get into the Mardi Gras spirit.

Mardi Gras at Four Pillars

Now- March, 5
Surry Hills
Until 5 March, grab the all-new Only Flans bottled cocktail which tastes just as cheeky as it sounds—made with Four Pillars Modern Australian Gin, Continental Deli’s “Flan in a Can”, pineapple and caramel. It’s textural, silky and delicate with bright tropical notes. You can grab a bottle of her to take home for $75 or sip on her in a nice glass (with a little pizzazz, of course) at the bar. Most importantly, a portion of the sales will be donated to Out For Australia, who do an amazing job providing role models, mentors, events and support to aspiring LGBTIQA+ professionals.

And for the main event, the Mardi Gras Parade Day. The Lab has your Mardi Gras pre-game sorted with the Fab Lab Cocktail Workshop at 1:30 pm. Experience a special hands-on cocktail-making class and tasting, with Made From Gin nibbles to fuel you through the night.

At 5 pm, DJs Carolina Gasolina and St Croix will wow the crowd (perfectly timed with eased restrictions) and there’ll also be a special guest appearance.

Absolut and Heaps Gay Present: The Roast

Sunday, March 6
To celebrate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, The Roast is subverting the traditional Sunday family meal, with an afternoon celebration of queer food, drink, comedy and theatre from The University of Sydney’s The Refectory. Tickets to The Roast include a four-course banquet curated by award-winning chef, Anna Polyviou, post-Mardi Gras cocktails from Absolut, and the talents of Sydney-based Mangarai First Nations queen Tyra Bankstown and QTBIPOC collective House of Silky. Meanwhile, music will be handled by Paul Mac and Johnny Seymour of Stereogamous,Timothy & The Heart Strings, and hosted by Sharon Manhatten.

The Unicorn Hotel

Live music, Australiana décor, local beer, and some very fancy steaks: you can’t go wrong with a night at The Unicorn Hotel on Paddington’s Oxford Street. Big Poppa’s also on Oxford Street, is the perfect pitstop for late-night pasta, cheese, wine and hip-hop—open until 3 am.

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