Marrickville Metro Westfield Bondi Junction has glamour, and Broadway is the most practical fit for a queen, but the small shopping village known as Marrickville Metro must be the best place in the world to observe suburban gays en masse. Off all main streets, hard to find, under a flightpath or five, the Metro is definitely down-market. But it attracts heaps of original Marrickville residents and plenty of inner-western gays -“ often accompanied by their children -“ in almost equal parts. Social geographers could use MM as a study tool into the shopping and behavioural traits of this major sub-section of Sydney’s gay and lesbian community. It would be a good place to observe, for example, that the children of gay and lesbian parents crack just as many shits in shopping centres as their heterosexual-parented peers. For singles, it’s a great place to pick up, like all supermarkets in gay neighbourhoods. And if you can manage to find a trolley (try grabbing a discarded one at the top of the escalators), it’s excellent for shopping, too.

Midnight Shift You can’t live in Sydney and call yourself a gay man if you haven’t been to the Midnight Shift. Having just celebrated its 25th birthday, the place is an institution on Oxford Street. Just about everyone has a Shift story to share: it was the first gay club they ever set foot in, where they met the love of their life, where they once fell off the podium they were dancing on, where they picked up the best or worst shag ever. The venue itself is split over two levels and each is like a completely different world. Upstairs in the nightclub it’s shirts-off and hands in the air as far as the eye can see. The crowd is serious about dancing to the high-energy music and looking good while they’re doing it. Downstairs it’s a much more casual affair attracting a diverse (and usually fully clothed) range of guys of all ages, shapes and sizes. There’s a bit of dancing to camp top 40 music but the space is mainly for drinking, chatting, playing pool and picking up. Interestingly the guys who go upstairs wouldn’t be seen dead downstairs, and the ones who like it down dread the thought of going up, so never the twain shall meet.

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