Ah, the hidden bar. An added descriptor to make a good bar or a small bar or a weird bar a little more special. Many cities have these scattered around them, adding a little surface flare to different neighbourhoods — but the truth is, most of these so-called hidden bars aren’t really that hidden, they just say they are. However, in a city like Sydney, with so much history and character, hidden bars truly are hidden, a way to fill an odd space or reinvent an old one to compliment the many inhabitants who love to imbibe in unique locations. Below are the 20 best hidden bars in Sydney, for your drinking adventures — just don’t tell anyone else!
1. The Baxter Inn
This underground whiskey bar whose front door is on an old tattered loading dock has the outside appearance of being the ideal hidden bar in Sydney. Once you get a chance to view and sample their extensive whiskey collection, you may never come back to the city surface.
Address: 152/156 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Mon-Sat 4pm-1am
Huxley’s doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s like stepping to the other side of the world: Manhattan to be exact, fashioning itself like a classic American sports bar. In fact, ex-pats will swear they are back home after a few strong drinks here, making this one of the ideal hidden bars in Sydney, especially for tourists.
Address: 32 Banksia Rd, Caringbah NSW 2229, Australia
Phone: (02) 9524 5444
Trading hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-late; Sunday 12pm-late
3. Earl’s Juke Joint
This Newtown gem is a throwback to the great bars in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, with drinks strong enough to make you feel like it’s always Mardi Gras and a cozy wooden interior that just makes you want to spend the night. Arguably our favorite hidden bar in all of Sydney.
Address: 407 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Trading hours: Fri 4pm-6pm; Sat-Sun 2pm-6pm
4. Papa Gede’s
Down a narrow laneway is Papa Gede’s, a hidden bar in Sydney that is themed after the bizarre and alluring world of voodoo. They’re dog friendly, serve a killer old fashioned among other cocktails and are an ideal place to start or end any night.
Address: 348 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9299 5671
Trading hours: Wed-Fri 4pm-late, Sat 5pm-late
5. Stitch Bar
Built behind a faux-dress maker’s storefront, Stitch Bar may be the most fun hidden bar in all of Sydney and you’ll feel that right after you find your way inside and down below ground. Excellent cocktails and American-inspired food will greet you, nicely enough to make you want to spend the whole night.
Address: 61 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9279 0380
Trading hours: Tue-Sat 5pm-12am
6. Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern
The picture-perfect version of an American inspired dive bar, Ramblin Rascal Tavern is a place that is easily overlooked on first blush but is undoubtedly one of the best hidden bars in all of Sydney. A great vibe, excellent drinks and delicious unhealthy food make this an ideal stop.
Address: 199 Elizabeth St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Mon-Wed 4pm-12am, Thu 4pm-2am, Fri 12pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am
7. The Rook
This hidden bar in Sydney is located on a rooftop right downtown, above businesses and business colleges which you view on your ride up the elevator to the top floor. With great views, drinks and food—not to mention a seductive breeze most months of the year, the Rook is one of the best stops in town.
Address: 56-58 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9262 2505, +61 2 8322 2008
Trading hours: Thu 12pm-9pm, Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 11:30am-10pm
8. Lobo Plantation
Located under Clarence street, this underground run bar is undoubtedly one of the most alluring hidden bars in all of Sydney for those who love that sweet, fun-loving liquor. You’ll feel like you’ve taken a trip to Cuba.
Address: 1/209 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Wed-Thu 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5pm-2am
9. The Wild Rover
The Wild Rover is only technically a hidden bar in Sydney because everyone knows about it. But that’s because this two story, jungle-themed whiskey bar is so incredibly good.
Address: 75 Campbell St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
Phone: (02) 9280 2235
Trading hours: Tue-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun-Mon (Available for hire)
10. Grandma’s Bar
A tropical basement stocked with rum is what you will encounter when you take a trip to Grandma’s Bar, unlike the other trips you have take to your Grandma’s. With that type of reception, you’ll regularly be visiting this hidden bar in Sydney.
Address: 275 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Mon-Fri 3pm till late, Sat 5pm till late
11. Gunther’s Dining Room
Themed like a wood paneled establishment from Los Angeles in the pornstache-tastic 1970’s, Gunther’s is yet a small hidden bar in Sydney’s Redfern Continental Restaurant that transports you to another place. The bar’s great soundtrack and drinks help compliment the feeling.
Address: 180 Redfern St, Redfern NSW 2016, Australia
Phone: +61 8 9319 7446
Trading hours: Tue-Sat 5:30pm-12am, Sun 5:30pm-10pm
12. The Barber Shop
As the name suggests, this fantastic hidden bar in Sydney is located in a barber shop, serving strong gin cocktails among others with small nibbles to keep you satiated in between more gin cocktails.
Address: 89 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 8096 1481, +61 2 9299 9699
Trading hours: Mon & Fri 8am-12am, Tue-Wed 4pm-12am, Thu 4pm-1am, Sat 8am-10pm
13. Shady Pines Saloon
Located through an unmarked door off a lane in Darlinghurst, Shady Pines Saloon is widely considered by those in the know as one of the prime hidden bars in all of Sydney. It’s décor is fantastic, it’s drinks spectacular and it’s rock ‘n roll loud.
Address: 4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia
Phone: +61 405 624 944
Trading hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-12am
Located in the heart of the CBD, PS40 may be one of the toughest hidden bars in all of Sydney to actually access. But once you do, this secret tiki bar is worth every ounce of effort.
Address: 2/40 King St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Wed-Sat 4pm-12am
15. The Swinging Cat
Located underneath a Subway sandwich shop that is almost impossible to find, The Swinging Cat makes up for their lack of signage by being one of the best New Orleans themed bars around. Arguably the most hidden of hidden bars in all of Sydney.
Address: 44 King St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9262 3696
Trading hours: Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-1am
16. Uncle Ming’s
An underground bar off York street, this Asian themed speakeasy style bar is not only one of the best hidden bars in Sydney, it also has some of the best Chinese dumplings. Pair that with some Asian whiskey and you will be well set up.
Address: 55 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Trading hours: Wed-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 4pm-1am, Sat 5pm-1am
17. The Foxtrot Inn
Discreetly located around the corner from the Crow’s Nest Hotel, The Foxtrot Inn is a hidden bar in Sydney that is dimly lit and oozing personality. It’s also one of the few great hidden bars where you can drink outside in a garden.
Address: 28 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065, Australia
Phone: (02) 9437 9494
Trading hours: Wed-Thu 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 5pm-3am
18. Taylor’s Rooftop
Located atop the Republic Hotel, Taylor’s Rooftop is an upscale hidden bar in Sydney with great views, stylish patrons and excellent drinks. Be prepare to be setting trends or following them there.
Address: 69-73 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9252 6522
Trading hours: Mon-Fri 10am-12am, Sat 2pm-10pm
19. Palmer & Co
It’s surprising more prohibition speakeasy-style bars didn’t make this list, but Palmer & Co is undoubtedly the hidden bar in Sydney that deserves this honor. Also, if you love cheese with your food, this is your spot.
Address: Abercrombie Ln, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9114 7315
Trading hours: Wed-Sat 4pm-late
20. Spring St. Social
This underground Bondi Junction bar has great beers and blues on tap, making it a unique and excellent hidden bar in Sydney, that’s different from all the rest.
Address: 110 Spring St, Bondi Junction NSW 2022, Australia
Phone: +61 449 552 122
Trading hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-2am, Sun 6:30pm-12am