I don't get to gigs very often these days, but if I have a hankering for some live music, the Hoey is a likely pick.
It's always good value - you can see a good Australian band on a Fri or Sat night for around $10.
It's also small in a good way. Old bands can play an intimate gig, while new bands can get a slot too.
It's also nicely located in the heart of the inner city, surrounded by the yuppieland that is Surry Hills, which means good food and ease of access. I like that it's not slick- there is no "backstage" to speak of, meaning you can usually rub shoulders with great musicians while sipping a Cooper's. It's also a good place to avoid the overly pretentious crowd you might find at places like Oxford Art Factory or Spectrum.
The Hopetoun Hotel
416 Bourke St