Do you remember when you were eighteen and the night never seemed long enough? For most of us, the heady days of staying out all night passed away somewhere between our first real hangover and our first real job. But, sometimes, the night still gets away with us, and we are faced with the daunting prospect of an all-nighter.
As an international city, Sydney has a surprising number of hidden late-night entertainment sites. One option for aspiring night owls is to catch a gig. One of the premier local entertainment venues, Oxford Art Factory, hosts a number of musical performances as late as 11pm. While occasional performances require prior booking, it is often possible to pay at the door. Alternatively, if OAF is not really your scene, the Basement offers a more mellow array of performers, ranging from jazz to soul.
All this partying is hungry work. Apart from the obvious choice of a late night Maccas or Oporto run, there are a number of fast food options on Oxford Street. In Kings Cross, Cafe Hernandez is open 24 hours, seven days, including public holidays, and serves an impressive array of coffee options.
Before 2am, it is also possible to visit BBQ King in Goulburn Street, Haymarket, for a delicious Chinese meal. Also in the city is the spacious 24 hour hub, Pancake on the Rocks. With sweet flapjacks as well as inventive savoury meals, including a particularly delicious Mexicana pancake.
After refuelling, it may be tempting to give in to your heavy eyelids and returning to the warm embrace of your bed. But, for a true all-nighter, the next stop on the itinerary are the bars on Oxford Street or Darlinghurst Road. Both the Colombian and the Bourbon are open until 6am.
For the truly committed, it is a short stroll to Home (no, not the one which houses your bed), in order to attend Spice, which starts at 5am. Of course, an unspoken condition of entry is a precocious musical knowledge. For a gay-friendly crowd, it is also possible to attend the Supper Club on Saturday and Sunday mornings until 10am.
While the stagger home in the early hours of the morning may be humiliating and exhausting, at least you can revel in the knowledge that your eighteen year old self would be giving you a high five.