Rian Howlett

25 Best Surry Hills Bars to Whet Your Whistle | Man of Many

Want Gnocchi and cocktails? Vasco has you covered. A rock n roll inspired Italian feasting joint, Vasco combines old school charm with an entirely contemporary class. A far cry from the world of Prisencolinensinainciusol, they’re authentic in everything they do. Expect to be rolled out in carb overload heaven.

1. Vasco

Every part of Bitter Phew is as smart and enjoyable as its name. A gorgeously oaky beer bar, they have 12 rotating taps filled with nothing but the best brews you’ll find world over. Combined with a penchant for parties and entrenched relationships with the freshest breweries in Australia you’ll find something new to love every time you head down.

2. Bitter Phew

Wyno Bar and Shop is the third offering from the trio of Sydney culture makers behind Porteno. Now named Bodega x Wyno it’s a combination offering of exceptional Argentinian tapas and excellent wines. All of which you’ll find in the attached bottle shop. It’s not the biggest of spaces, but punches well above its weight with its offerings.

3. Wyno Bar and Shop

Tokyo Bird is a good time in a small package. An unbeatable whisky list with some Japanese favourites you’ll find nowhere else, great beers, and Yakitori. What else could you need? For the uninitiated, Yakiori (Grilled bird) is a Japanese way of serving meats skewered and charcoaled. It’s a Japanese BBQ, and so much more.

4. Tokyo Bird

Exposed brick surrounds you, an Irish lilt tickles your ear, you’re in a warm comfortable booth and don’t quite know how you got there. Chances are, you’ve stumbled into The Wild Rover. Not feeling the need to overcomplicate, there’s a one-page menu with cocktails and sausage rolls. Pop in asking “what’s the craic” with your best Irish brogue to get roasted by the bar staff.

5. The Wild Rover

Tio’s Cerveceria (Spanish for Uncle’s Brewery) is the Virgin Mary x Margarita collab you didn’t know you needed. An awesomely steezy set up combined with some of the wildest iconographies you’ll find on Foster street are pushed into the back of your memory with margarita specials that are anything but pious.

6. Tio’s Cerveceria

Dead Ringer meet the gluttonous joy of boozy brunches with the spiritual balm that is a meat-free Monday. Prepare to embarrass, and cleanse, yourself within the same walls. The hard work of three mates that know what they’re doing, it’s the second venue from the team behind Bulletin Place and has won walls of awards.

7. Dead Ringer

Brix Distillers are dedicated to the art of rum. They want to serve it to you, teach you about it, make it and give it to the masses. It’s refreshing seeing the level of commitment to a singular speciality, and it’s an education going on a tour through their distillery. Topped all off with a South American and Caribbean menu, it’s hard to go wrong here.

8. Brix Distillers

Li’l Darlin, no longer exclusively what your redneck uncle calls your cousin. Now it’s carving a space out in your heart as a cool Surry Hills icon. Li’l Darlin will find what you want and give it to you. They’ve got a huge menu which covers every base of a good time. Pizza’s and Chicken wings, they’ve got you. Jugs of Sangria, say less son. Masterclasses, step up grasshopper.

9. Li’l Darlin Surry Hills

Soultrap Bar is an underground speakeasy that lives and breathes its theme. There’s a hint of prohibition danger throughout the space that gives you the same rush I got as a school kid playing hooky. Doubling up on the theme here you’ll find Burlesque nights to titillate you in a different fashion.

10. Soultrap

MV Pasta & Wine Bar don’t shake a stick when given the chance to feed you what they want to. A beautiful Italian Nonna, in human form, they want to ply you with good food and give you the chance to talk about your life in excess. A comfortable setting, the perfect pasta menu, and a wine list not to be sniffed at are all the ingredients needed for a good time.

11. MV Pasta & Wine Bar

The Carrington is your quintessential Surry Hills pub. Daily specials, great food and a place big enough to fit you, your mates, your dog (pop by on the Sunday for a roast and a free feed for the puppers) and that one fella who’s just always there. Classics, done right.

12. The Carrington

The Winery takes the concept of a beer garden and adds a little touch of class to it. The first wine garden we’ve come across they’ll surround you with greenery and ply you with wine and food till you can take no more. An incredibly reasonably priced feed me menu rounds out the place by taking the decisions out of your hands. Rock up, get fed, drink wine, leave.

13. The Winery

A three-floor behemoth, Keg & Brew bring heavy machinery to the Surry Hills bar game. If you can’t find something to enjoy from the 51 taps, entire floor of restaurant, masterclasses or sports bar rooftop you’re not trying, and we can’t help you. For anyone else, particularly large groups, you can’t go wrong.

14. Keg & Brew

At nearly 100 years old, The Cricketers Arms Hotel stands as a testament to the power of good times. You don’t hand around for 10 decades without providing serious value to your patrons, hundreds of thousands of whom have walked through their doors in that time. Ask them nicely and they’ll show you iconic images taken throughout that time. What other pub will guarantee Jazz on a Wednesday?

15. The Cricketers Arms Hotel

Rosie Campbells is a self-described Caribbean oasis and jerk diner. They strike a fine balance between home-style cooking and modern culinary know-how. A list of tropical cocktails closes out the sunshine experience. Described in their own words better than this writer could: “bring the fun, bring the flavour, and bring on the good times.”

16. Rosie Campbells

Poly is a restaurant in the Paramount House Hotel. An adaptation of the old Paramount movie studios, so expect a lot of throwbacks to classic cinema in the decor and atmosphere. Poly stands out with its menu. A targeted affair, it’s a series of crafted experiences. Where else will you find a garlic butter burger? A huge wine list is sure to tickle your tastebuds.

17. Poly

The Norfolk Hotel is a modern, dog-friendly, pub with all the lashings of a good time that you could possibly need. Everything caters to you easily having an excellent time. The massive beer garden, the 50 cent wings on a Sunday. They’re not here for an overpriced three hatted fap-off. They’re here to get down and dirty with you. Catch them for a special and your wallet will thank you.

18. Norfolk Hotel

An icon on Foster st, Hollywood Hotel is a one-stop shop for dancing, drinks and times you’ll barely remember. An out and proud venue they’ll host the wildest parties you can think up of, as well as ensuring everyone’s looked after in a safe and sound way. Unpretentious and unspoiled you’ll still find aspects of the original 1920s fit out around the joint.

19. Hollywood Hotel

Low 302 is a dimly lit, red velvet cabaret bar experience. They’re open till late, and provide delicious bevs from start to finish. Grab a date for a little late-night charm, or a group of mates for a sense of old school shenanigans. The only thing it lacks is a password for entry.

20. Low 302

Hidden behind a faux 1950’s diner The Soda Factory is an all-in-one for bevs, feeds and sweaty dancing. An absolute smorgasbord of entertainment, they do pretty much everything. A cool spot to while the night away, and a Surry Hills stalwart. Worth hitting up at least once.

21. The Soda Factory

The Dolphin Hotel is a big boy, with three floors of goodness and a menu they’ll serve you anywhere. A solid Italian inspired food list will ensure no need for seconds. If you’re keen on going all in there’s one hell of a long lunch on the last Sunday of each month to spank your tastebuds into glorious submission. The food is a cut above your average pub.

22. The Dolphin Hotel

The Standard Bowl is the third-floor nightclub-turned-entertainment centre at Kinselas. The venue pays homage to its origins as a funeral parlour with an insane art-deco chapel on the first floor, but The Standard Bowl is where you want to be spending the rest of your night. A new-york style warehouse, four bowling lanes, and an arcade game mezzanine make sure you’re in for a good long time. Nothing standard here.

23. The Standard Bowl

Awesome Japanese food, a karaoke bar, and a deep love for hip-hop, Goros is founded on these three principles. Happy to take you in for dinner, or the night, an extensive cocktail list featuring bubble tea bevs like The Ice T, or the Jay Z may be just what you need to build up enough Dutch courage to bring the pipes out. All in the warm glow of the neon decor.

24. Goros

The Evening Star Hotel is a classic Aussie pub. With its roots dating back to 1882, they’ve had time to work out how to keep the punters happy. Following a recent multi-million dollar overhaul, they’re happy to offer you a mad sports bar with a TAB, a cheap and cheerful menu, $12 mains can be a godsend, and they leapt on the rollback of lockout laws and will happily take you in well into the morning.

25. Evening Star Hotel

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