The best bars in Sydney aren’t always the bars with the biggest crowds. While your favourite bar is subjective, there are a few key fundamentals that could make or break your local watering hole. Do they have a wide variety of drinks? Mains, meals or snacks to keep you going? Great music and atmosphere? Get ready to tick all three of those boxes, with our list of the 31 best bars in Sydney.
1. Old Mate’s Place
Starting off our list of the best bars in Sydney is Old Mate’s Place. Once you’ve ascended the four flights of stairs, you’ll see why it’s one of Sydney’s best-kept secrets. You’ll be greeted by friendly staff, who will offer a table inside or upstairs. Go upstairs, where you’ll find the coolest Sydney rooftop bar. Bask in the setting sun as you sink down spirits, beers, wines, or all of the above.
Address: Level 4, 199 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Thur 4pm-2am, Fri 12pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am, Mon Closed
2. Little Felix
Little Felix is the 1920’s themed bar you didn’t know you needed in your life. Housed in a very small space, this is more of a date night spot than one for a pub crawl. At this Sydney bar, you’ll find your traditional cocktails, as well as offering a slew of their own creations. They also host a snack menu that you simply can’t miss.
Address: 2a Ash Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 9114 7372
Hours: Tues-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri 1:30pm-10pm, Sat 5pm-10pm, Sun-Mon Closed
3. The Baxter Inn
At The Baxter Inn, if you order a top-shelf drink, your bartender may literally have to climb the shelf to prepare it. Behind this Sydney bar, you’ll find an array of wines and spirits that reflect like a stain glass window. The Baxter Inn is great if you want some high-quality spirits or a precision-made cocktail. Located on Clarence street, this also makes Baxters one of the best bars in Sydney CBD.
Address: 156 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun Closed
The bartenders at PS40 are more like mad scientists. Together they’ve concocted a cocktail menu inspired by global festivals and holidays, from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. They also have non-alcoholic cocktails for the designated drivers of the world. As winners of Timeout’s 2020 Bar of The Year Award, you’ll want to check this Sydney bar out for yourself.
Address: Shop 2, 40 King Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Thur 4pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 6pm-12am
5. Bulletin Place Bar
If you don’t know what to drink but are open to anything, Bulletin Place Bar is the Sydney bar for you. They’ve got a huge variety of drinks, with cocktails that are consistent with a great mix and quality. This circular quay bar is also super close to the station, you know, just in case it all gets a bit much.
Address: Level 1 10-14 Bulletin Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 8069 5433
Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thur-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun Closed
6. The Wild Rover
The Wild Rover is so easy to miss with their unmarked doors, it’s almost like they don’t want to be found. Consider this a private invitation, once you find the door. The Wild Rover is one of the great cocktail bars Sydney has tucked away across the city, serving tap beers, wines, and of course, cocktails you’ll find hard to refuse. If you’re peckish, we recommend one of their lamb sausage rolls, made fresh to order.
Address: 75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 02 9280 2235
Hours: Mon-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun Closed
7. Frankie’s Pizza
A consistent feature on many top ten and best of lists, is Frankie’s Pizza. Loved for their live music and pizza by the slice, Frankie’s is a constitution of the Sydney city pub world. Start your night here, come back for kick-on, or never leave at all. Frankie’s has to be included on your next pub crawl, as it’s easily one of the best bars in Sydney.
Address: 50 Hunter St, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: 4pm-3am Daily
8. The Lobo
The Lobo is a rum bar, with over 250 local and internal rums hand picked for you to try. The Lobo is essentially a Caribbean holiday in the streets of Sydney, with banana palms and rattan chairs dominating the décor. The bartenders like to show off here, so be ready for a show. There are lots of snacks worth trying as well, making it one of the best Sydney bars for food.
Address: Basement Lot 1, 209 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 04 3723 3009
Hours: Tues-Thur 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am, Sun-Mon Closed
9. The Cumberland
How you get into The Cumberland alone makes it one of the best bars in Sydney. Taking their secrecy to the max, you must first walk through a fridge in a deli, down a spiral staircase before being shown to your table. The visually stunning cocktails will be just as Instagram worthy as the décor of the place itself. The antipasti is also great to snack on if you’re in the mood for it.
Address: 17-19 Central Ave, Manly NSW 2095
Phone: +61 02 9058 2877
Hours: Wed-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-1am, Sun 4pm-10pm, Mon-Tues Closed
10. Cantina OK!
Cantina OK! is a super small standing Sydney bar that will comfortably fit 20 people (uncomfortably, maybe more). Therefore, you’ll want to get in early. You can trust the bartenders here with your life, along with your drink orders for the night. Of course, you can always go for the classic margarita if you want something familiar.
Address: Council Place, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-2am
11. Ramblin Rascal Tavern
With its walls covered in wrestling memorabilia, pin-ups and dildos, we can assure you that Ramblin Rascal Tavern is a unique cocktail bar. Behind this bar in Sydney, you’ll find everything from cocktails to cans, as well as great burgers and fried chicken. Live music plays every Thursday from 8pm, which always draws in a crowd.
Address: Basement Level, 60 Park Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thur 4pm-2am, Fri 12pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am, Sun Closed
12. Love, Tilly Devine
Named after one of Australia’s foremost crime bosses, Love, Tilly Devine is one of the best Darlinghurst bars. More than just a hole in the wall, the food here is just as good, if not better than the selection of wines and spirits. We recommend trying the Japanese vegemite on parmesan toast, a combination of flavours we didn’t know we needed until now.
Address: 91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Phone: +02 9326 9297
Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 4pm-10pm
13. Earl’s Juke Joint
Having been around for so long, the staff at Earl’s Juke Joint clearly know what they’re up to behind the bar. Look forward to a tasty cocktail, mixed to perfection every time. With a mix of blues, rock and 90’s hip hop, Earl’s Juke Joint is a popular spot because its one of the best bars in Sydney. There are no bookings here, so it’s first in best dressed.
Address: 407 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Hours: Tues-Sun 6pm-12am, Mon ClosedEarl’s Juke Joint
14. Dear Sainte Éloise
Dear Sainte Éloise is a European inspired wine bar if you hadn’t already guessed by the name. With over 300 wines available on their drink menu, don’t be afraid to ask for your servers’ opinion. Your food and drink should go hand in hand, for an experience like no other. Therefore, their food menu is made of small meals for sharing, made of in-season ingredients for the freshest flavours.
Address: 5/29 Orwell Street, Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone: +61 02 9326 9745
Hours: Mon-Thur 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm
15. Maybe Sammy
Moving forward from the 1920’s bar already featured on our list, let’s jive to the roaring ’50s at Maybe Sammy. The whole bar is one big performance, with staff dressed in character and cocktails being the stars of the show. This is a place you’ll want to stay rather than a bar hop. Be sure to get in for a happy hour for half price mini cocktails.
Address: 115 Harrington Street, The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 9241 4970
Hours: Tues-Sun 4:30pm-1am, Mon Closed
16. Shady Pines Saloon
Another long-standing and well-respected Sydney bar, Shady Pines Saloon has character in bucket loads. More than enough to make it one of the best Darlinghurst bars. Entering through another unmarked door off the streets, you’ll first see the walls coated in talking fish and novelty beer trays. Sing-alongs and conga lines aren’t out of the usual here, as you sit and enjoy cocktails mixed with freshly squeezed fruit juice.
Address: Shop 4, 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-12am
17. Employees Only
Unlike the name suggests, Employees Only is welcoming to all. A global bar sensation, you’ll find an Employee’s Only in Miami, Singapore and even Hong Kong. All your favourite cocktails feature on this Sydney bar’s menu, as well as a great selection of food from the kitchen. If you make it until the 3am close, you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary chicken soup. We know, very unique.
Address: 9a Barrack St, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 8084 7490
Hours: Wed-Thur 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-3am, Sat 5pm-3am, Sun-Tues Closed
18. Palmer & Co
Another themed bar on our list of the best bars in Sydney, Palmer & Co’s theme is the prohibition. For the non-history buffs, this means more jazz and oldie costumes. The live music is an easy draw to Palmer & Co, as well as their food menu. Melted cheese can be found across the menu (and your clothes if you’re a messy eater) from toasted sandwiches to cheese-dipped pretzels.
Address: Abercrombie Lane, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 9114 7315
Hours: Wed-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-10pm, Sun 5pm-10pm, Mon-Tues Closed
19. Double Deuce Lounge
Back to the time machine again, as this time we go to the Double Deuce Lounge. With their 70’s theme, you’ll hear groovy tunes over the speakers, and a décor aesthetic inspired by the golden age of porn. Menus are written in VHS cases, and bar staff are dressed to party in bowling shirts, booty shorts and tennis socks. With a smaller cocktail menu of 10 drinks, this means less fuss and consistently good mixes.
Address: 6 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thur-Sat 4pm-2am, Sun Closed
20. Jacoby’s Tiki Bar
Jacoby’s Tiki Bar is one of the most fun bars on our list of the best bars in Sydney. With this being a tiki bar, you’ll find banana palm and fish décor across the walls and drinks. The sweet, sugary cocktails are also named after Twin Peaks references, if you happen to be a fan.
Address: 154 Enmore Road, Newtown NSW 2042
Hours: Tues-Wed 6pm-12am, Thur 6pm-1am, Fri 6pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 6pm-12am, Mon Closed
Poly is the Sydney bar for the wine obsessed. If this isn’t you, staff will happily guide you along the menu to a wine that best fits your taste. The woodfired snacks menu is great for a treat while drinking, and if you want something bigger look no further than their mains.
Address: 74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 02 8860 0808
Hours: Tues-Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-2pm, Sun 5pm-10pm, Mon Closed
22. The Wine Room at The Dolphin Hotel
What was the mild-mannered Dolphin Hotel has done a full Superman, and transformed into a rocking Italian restaurant and bar. This means you can dig into a generous Italian feed as well as a great drop of wine or cocktail. The Wine Room is one of the best bars in Sydney, and a great place to spend your evening or to start off your night on the town.
Address: 412 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 02 9331 4800
Hours: Wed-Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-10pm, Mon-Tues Closed
23. Tokyo Bird
Tokyo Bird is the Japanese bar with all the sake you dream of. Hidden away in Sydney’s Surry Hills, this low key bar lets the drinks do the wowing. The katsu chicken nuggets will have you asking ‘McWho?’. And for the brave, the yakitori grill awaits (yakitori is grilled chicken thigh, wing, liver, hearts, and giblets).
Address: 2/226/228 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: +61 02 8880 0788
Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun Closed
24. Papa Gede’s Bar
Papa Gede’s Bar is named after the voodoo spirit of lust and laughter. This makes sense, as there is no shortage of spirits at this bar. Their friendly staff are eager to mix you a drink you won’t forget, and you can partake in monthly spirit tastings on a Monday night. We should probably mention that the venue is dog friendly too if you didn’t already want to go.
Address: 348 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 5pm-12am, Sun Closed
25. Mary’s Newtown
Another one that’s constantly talked about as being the cool bars in Sydney, Mary’s Newtown has more than earned its reputation. A staple in the nightlife of Newtown, this heavy metal rock venue is known in particular for its exceptional burgers. Mary’s Newtown should be your first stop if you’re new to Sydney.
Address: 6 Mary Street, Newtown NSW 2024
Phone: +61 04 5115 4210
Hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm
26. Tio Cerveceria
We hope you like tequila because at Tio Cerveceria you’ll find over 100 different varieties behind the bar. A lot of these tequilas are hard to find in Australia, so don’t feel bad if you’re unfamiliar with the menu. As the friendly bar staff for their recommendation, as you scoff down the free popcorn offered to guests.
Address: 4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Hours: Wed-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5pm-10pm, Mon-Tues Closed
27. The Duke of Clarence
The Duke of Clarence is the 18th century, London tavern inspired pub that doubles as one of the best bars in Sydney CBD. In the colder months, you’ll want to get in early and poach the seats by the fireplace. They’ve got all the brews you’d expect on tap at a pub, as well as a fancy cocktail or two at the bar. Their food menu is just as British, with fish butty’s and Sunday roasts.
Address: 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 02 8999 3850
Hours: Tues-Wed 12pm-11pm, Thur 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-8pm, Mon Closed
28. Continental Deli Bar Bistro
The Continental Deli Bar Bistro is exactly, as they say, a deli and a bar. Canned margarita, canned cosmopolitan, all made fresh and canned themselves. Their antipasti and snacks menu doesn’t involve too many canned foods (luckily, some would say) and pairs great with all drinks. Certainly a weirder trend on our list, but one you have to try.
Address: 210 Australia Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Phone: +61 02 8624 3131
Hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-10pm
29. Jangling Jack’s
Jangling Jack’s is a great place for kick-on after a night out. It helps that their kitchen stays open late, so you don’t need to go home on an empty stomach. Jangling Jack’s is a classy affair, so sit down, relax and enjoy your meal at one of the cool bars in Sydney.
Address: 175 Victoria Street, Potts Point NSW 2011
Phone: +61 04 1702 0071
Hours: Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm, Thur-Sat 4pm-1am
30. The Barber Shop
The Barber Shop is a gin bar, found by walking through the back of (you guessed it) a barbershop. This Sydney bar has become an increasingly popular choice from the spirits menu, and no one understands this more than The Barber Shop. With a menu boasting 80+ bottles of gin, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Wash down one of their cheeseboards with a cool, refreshing G&T.
Address: 89 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Tues-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thur 4pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun-Mon Closed
31. Where’s Nick
A great wine for all at an affordable price, that’s the goal of Where’s Nick. The shelves behind the bar are stacked to the ceiling with bottles of wines and spirits, along with a consistently changing menu of wine specials. Winner of Timeouts best wine bar of 2020 award, we can’t think of a better way close out our list of the 31 best bars in Sydney.
Address: 236 Marrickville Road, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: +61 04 0699 1384
Hours: Tues-Thur 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-9pm, Mon Closed
What are the best bars in Sydney CBD?
According to Google Reviews, PS40 and Old Mate's Place are among the best bars in Sydney's CBD.
Where's a good bar in Newtown?
Jacoby's Tiki Bar and Mary's Newtown are two of the best bars in Newtown.
Where is the best bar in Sydney for whisky?
Shady Pines Saloon and The Baxter Inn have some of the best whiskys available in Sydney. With a curated collection that takes you across Scotland, Ireland and down under, it's hard not to find something you like here.