Sydney is being transformed into a rainbow city to celebrate Sydney WorldPride, with hospitality venues across the city showing their colours from 24 February to 5 March 2023.
WorldPride is a global LGBTQIA+ festival that has been staged since 2000, with cities competing to host the event. Sydney was chosen to be the host of WorldPride in 2023, marking the first time a city in the Southern Hemisphere has been chosen.
The NSW Government, which is a strategic partner of Sydney WorldPride, is predicting more than 78,000 visitors will flock to Sydney for WorldPride events, including the world-famous Mardi Gras Parade, which will be returning to Oxford Street for the first time in three years.
Minister for the Arts and Tourism Ben Franklin said: “Sydney WorldPride 2023 will showcase NSW to the world and we’re anticipating more than 500,000 people will attend this global event, which will inject $112 million into the NSW economy.
“Sydney will be buzzing with excitement and activity which will turbocharge our 24-hour economy, create jobs and support local businesses across our state.”
Here are just a few of the thousands of amazing activations at hospitality venues across the city.
Solotel’s Sydney WorldPride program
Solotel, the exclusive hospitality partner of Sydney WorldPride 2023, has revealed its line-up of glitz, colour, culture, and fun for the festival.
Solotel is partnering with some of Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ tastemakers to curate the inclusive and diverse styling, entertainment, and music programming across its flagship Sydney WorldPride venues from 17 February to 5 March.
Each tastemaker focuses on a particular Solotel venue that they already have an affinity with ensuring it has a unique flair that resonates with its local queer community. Kings Cross Hotel; The Bank, Marly, and Courty in Newtown; The Clock and Goros in Surry Hills; Darlo Bar, Darlinghurst; The Abercrombie, Chippendale; Paddo Inn, Paddington; Barangaroo House; and Opera Bar are the official venues of Sydney WorldPride and set to come alive over the 17-day extravaganza.
View full details of Solotel’s Sydney WorldPride program here.
Johnnie Walker collaborates with Kinselas
Iconic LGBTQIA+ venue Kinselas, located in the heart of Darlinghurst’s entertainment precinct, is being transformed by Johnnie Walker for Sydney WorldPride into the Walk Proud @ Kinselas Bar (pictured main) from February 17 to March 5.
The project in Taylor Square aims to celebrate and promote a more equal understanding of all LGBTQIA+ identities through education, storytelling and performances from proud members of the community, whilst also creating an ongoing legacy within the bricks and mortar of the heritage listed building.
The City of Sydney has granted a Heritage Exemption for the entire exterior of Kinselas to be painted with an inclusive artwork commissioned by Johnnie Walker and designed by Double Rainbouu’s Co-Founder & Creative Director, Mikey Nolan, to be unveiled on February 16.
Nolan said: “The design for the exterior on the iconic Kinselas is intended to represent the patchwork of diverse identities that form our wonderful LGBTQIA+ community and reflect that we are made up of separate identities, but we are also one, and we are stronger together.”
Walk Proud @ Kinselas will host over 40 events throughout its residence across all four floors, including acts from critically acclaimed non-binary musician G Flip, Queer Folk-Pop artist Alex The Astronaut, Australian Pop Band Cub Sport and Gomeroi woman, Trans and First Nations advocate and solicitor DJ Crescendoll.
Kinselas’ famous Middle Bar will be serving up a selection of Johnnie Walker cocktails on the famous balcony looking out over Taylor Square and Oxford Street.
Diageo Managing Director Angus McPherson said: “Walk Proud @ Kinselas is an extraordinarily special project for us at Diageo, and a chance for Johnnie Walker to create a safe and inclusive space for everyone to celebrate the full spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community during Sydney WorldPride. We’re proud to partner with Kinselas to revamp this legendary location and spread a message of progress and positivity that inspires people to Keep Walking Proudly towards a more inclusive future.”
Celebrate with Bacardi-Martini
Bacardi-Martini Australia is pouring the cocktails everywhere from after a ‘Pride Climb’ on the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to in a ‘Rainbow Laneway’ in the middle of the CBD.
- Using the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow flag as inspiration, you’ll find musicians and performers curating their own experiences all along the YCK laneway, with all venues along the laneway featuring delicious Grey Goose, Patrón, BACARDÍ and Bombay Sapphire cocktails.
- During the Sydney WorldPride festival, Sydney Harbour BridgeClimbers will have the opportunity to fly the rainbow flag as they ascend and pose with a stunning drag queen once they reach the top. Post-climb drinks will be offered in a pop-up bar, featuring Grey Goose, Patrón, BACARDÍ and Bombay Sapphire cocktails.
- Kings Cross Hotel will transform into ‘Queen’s Cross Hotel – Pride Party Palace’ for the 5th year running, with five levels of celebration and BACARDÍ rum drinks.
- Bank Hotel in Newtown will feature GiRLTHiNG & Woody’s curating two weeks of parties and entertainment at The Bank for World Pride, with BACARDÍ cocktails on offer.
- Clock Hotel (Surry Hills): The Clock is planning a ‘Colourful Calendar’ of events for Sydney WorldPride, with special curator Richard Reid. Events, trivia, drag shows, pop-up cocktail menus with all things Grey Goose.
- GOROS (Surry Hills): Favourite late-night venue GOROS’ resident drag queen Milan is taking over to bring two weeks of fabulous activity to ‘Milan’s Pride Playhouse’. Featuring Bombay Sapphire cocktails, Kara-OK, queer anthems and DJ’s, throw it back 90s and 00s dress up, face painting, and prizes.
- QT Hotel (Sydney CBD): Bombay Sapphire is sponsoring independent LGBTQIA+ Film Director – James Demetri – on his independent film ‘The Winner Takes It All’. There will be multiple screenings on the 18th February at the Queer Film Festival premiere.
Merivale announces over 40 events for Sydney WorldPride
Merivale is partnering with Absolut to host a festival of parties and events for Sydney WorldPride 2023, celebrating love, diversity and community.
From 17 February to 5 March, Merivale will host over 40 celebrations including drag brunches, iconic lunches, dog shows and rooftop parties, plus an inaugural Pride Plane experience.
The rainbow Sydney Seaplanes Pride Plane will fly between Rose Bay and Newport, flying guests to Bert’s Bar & Brasserie for a long lunch. Guests will be greeted at Rose Bay Marina by the fabulous drag performer, Jackie Daniels, where they will be served a limited-edition Watermelon Sugar Pride Absolut cocktail prior to departure. Guests will then take to the air to Newport to enjoy a four-course lunch at Bert’s Bar & Brasserie, before the return flight back to Rose Bay with a circuit over Sydney Harbour.
Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes said: “Mardi Gras ignites and unites Sydney in festivity, colour and community spirit; it’s an integral part of our city’s culture and identity.
“We’re incredibly thrilled at the opportunity for our beautiful harbour city to host WorldPride in 2023. Sydney is without doubt the most wonderful backdrop for this enormously exciting and inclusive festival. To celebrate, we’ve gone all out with a line-up of 40+ events; it’s going to be a hugely fun and special few weeks!”
For all event information, tickets, terms and conditions: www.merivale.com/mardi-gras
Milpa Collective is launching the ‘Don’t Call Me Mamacita’ Cocktail during Sydney WorldPride. The exclusive cocktail was created in collaboration with drag sweetheart Victoria Mami with $2 from every cocktail going towards supporting LGBTQIA+ organisation Twenty10.
Milpa Collective Founders Pablo Vargas and Liber Osorio said: “We want to use our reach to spread awareness of the amazing work that Twenty10 does for LGTBQIA+ youth and encourage donations. In doing so, Milpa Collective are extremely honoured to assist in working toward inspiring inclusion and love in the community and we hope the sales of the cocktail can make a big impact.”
Twenty10 works with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex, questioning, queer, asexual and more, LGBTIQA+ people and others of diverse genders and sexualities, their families and communities. They provide a broad range of specialised services for young people aged 12-25 including housing, mental health, counselling and social support.
Bar Lucia’s Head Bartender Luna Ercoli created the “Don’t Call Me Mamacita” Cocktail, which features vodka, cranberries, Aperol, Prosecco, chamomile foam and lychee.
The ‘Don’t Call Me Mamacita’ Cocktail will be available from February 17 to March 5 in selected venues – Calita, La Palma. Santa Catarina, Londres 126 and Bar Lucia.
The Star transforms into Rainbow Central
The Star Sydney will transformsinto Rainbow Central for WorldPride, featuring a vibrant spectacle of free performances from some of Australia’s fiercest drag queens, a brand new exhibition from iconic queer photographic artist Gerwyn Davies, and a colourful collaboration between Cherry Bar and Belvedere from 17 February to 4 March.
Each Friday and Saturday night during WorldPride, the stage in The Star’s Grand Foyer will be given a rainbow makeover when some of the biggest names in drag from across Australia and New Zealand.
From social media sensation Carla From Bankstown and Drag Race Down Under’s crowned jewel Kita Mean to local starlets Coco Jumbo and Beverly Kills, visitors to The Star Sydney will host high-energy camp performances at 7pm and 8pm are free for all visitors to view.
Select queens including the ever popular Anita Wigl’it will be sashaying their way up to Cherry Bar to keep the party going with Kita Mean even taking over the turntables in her first ever DJ gig on Sydney’s shores on Friday 3 March. Guests can sip on the venue’s range of carefully-curated colourful cocktails courtesy of Belvedere, including an iconic rainbow-layered vodka spritz, while dancing the night away to the best disco beats every Friday and Saturday from 8:00pm til late.
Love is Love
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney celebrates World Pride with a vibrant “Love is Love” afternoon tea at Mode Kitchen & Bar. French Pastry Chef Quentin Zerr craftmanship truly shines in the delectable, yet creative high tea menu. Intriguing desserts that sing loud and proud, includes a ruby ring made from chocolate, a mango flavoured rose, caramel pop “crown,” a rainbow blackcurrant macaron, and a nitrogen honey meringue.
Matching French technique with Australian flavours, the limited time selection also features a decadent egg and caviar finger sandwich; Tiger prawn brioche; comté gougères; and tomato & stracciatella tart. Gluten-free, dairy-free and other dietary preferences are also catered for, as well as Kids High Tea for mini socialites.
“World Pride is first and foremost a celebration of inclusion and community, something that is very important to us at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, and we look forward to welcoming the world to Sydney to celebrate together” say Uday Rao, General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Sydney.
Served in a traditional yet glamourous setting in Mode Kitchen & Bar, Afternoon Tea is available Friday through Sunday from 2-4pm. The Love is Love Afternoon Tea is $99 per person with coffee or tea from the distinctive, single garden Jing Tea range. The Champagne upgrade is $119 featuring Henriot Brute Rosé Champagne.
Jackalberry x Archie Rose
Hyatt Regency’s Jackalberry Bar has teamed up with the official gin partner of Sydney WorldPride, Archie Rose Distilling Co, inviting guests and locals to follow the rainbow and sip on limited-edition cocktails.
For every Jackalberry x Archie Rose cocktail sold, Archie Rose will donate $1 to Acon, a NSW charity that supports the LGBTQ+ community and is committed to ending HIV and supporting people living with HIV to live healthy and connected lives.