When you're in the biggest city in Australia, you're not going to be left wanting when it comes to an incredible variety of things to do and places to see and be seen. The problem with describing the Sydney nightlife, which is on par with some of the best on Earth, is that there is enough information to fill a textbook; we at embark.org are SO over textbooks. Instead, we'll do our best to provide a few salient points to prepare you for your test on Wednesday.
Just kidding. It's an essay.
If you're one to thrive in the chaos of a wild nightlife scene, then mark the Central Business District as your place to be. There are world-renowned clubs (Chinese Laundry) that match their status with high prices and strict door policies, which are mixed among the ubiquitous "hotels" (often just a dynamic nightlife venue; i.e. Greenwood Hotel, Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, etc.) and pubs that have become incredibly popular across the city. You'll also find cocktail bars, wine bars, dives, and plenty of live music (try the Metro Theatre for the best). A further note on the hotel/pub phenomenon: they are pretty much the same thing. Don't be breaking into someone's upstairs apartment at 3am thinking that you've booked a room. There are none to be booked. Avoid the embarrassment.
In City East (Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, and beyond), you'll find the strongest mix of alternative establishments; from cheap, backpacker-friendly dive bars to the gay-friendly clubs of Oxford Street to the over-abundance of philanderer-friendly red light institutions. It's wild in a different way than downtown, but no less appealing depending on your taste or mood.
To the west of the CBD, you'll find Darling Harbour and The Rocks, both sophisticated entertainment areas that have a nightlife to match. You'll find a higher number of nightclubs here than in the rest of the city (including Home, a highlight), as well as bars and pubs that benefit from their proximity to the harbor. Also, try George Street in The Rocks for a packed pub scene that reads as a mixture between lively and rowdy depending on the night.
North Sydney and Newtown are prominent for the younger, university crowd and a bar environment that generally values drinking above all else. You'll find pubs and bars anywhere else in Sydney, whether you head south to Haymarket or even further to the outlying suburbs, which may be your best bet if you're looking for something a bit more subdued.
Did you get all that? We told you it'd be a lot. The good news is that things will be much easier when you show up in Sydney. That's when the fun begins; especially if your trip planning is done on embark ahead of time.