Joe Cutcliffe

13 Best Whisky Bars in Sydney | Man of Many

In true small venue style, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bar is tucked in an alley behind an alley and boasts arguably the largest collection of whisky in Australia – scrap that – the Southern hemisphere. Well-dressed bartenders in clinical white aprons pour out drops from all around the world, including some of the rarest vintages out there, as well as their own house-aged stuff from the secret cellar that sits off the main room. Come for a cocktail before dinner, order a ploughman’s plate, call the restaurant to cancel your reservation and drink your way through the continents one nip at a time.

1. The Baxter Inn

The one that started it all for small whisky bars in Sydney, and the older brother of The Baxter Inn and Frankies, Shady Pines is arguably the cause of more Sydney hangovers than weddings and NRL finals combined. Born of a cowboy’s booze-addled dream, they boast some of the best whisky around, focussing on North America, and have a team of (oft shirtless) professionals who know how to use it. They also serve up free peanuts and play both kinds of music.

2. Shady Pines Saloon

Bancho features cocktails inspired by the diversity of cultures in Sydney’s Chinatown. This whisky bar in Sydney shares an endless arrangement of unique ingredients with its patrons. The bar prides itself on its large selection of Japanese and Scotch Whisky. Must try’s include the Lantern Blazer with Glenfiddich Fire & Cane single malt whisky, black sesame, peanut, and blazed with Drambuie.

3. Bancho

This whisky bar in Sydney will transport you back in time. The vintage aesthetic that permeates throughout the venue is enough to recapture the convivial spirit of Sydney’s formative years. The Doss House unites fine whiskies, spirits & cocktails with the historical charm of one of the city’s oldest suburbs, The Rocks. Whisky cocktails include the Julep of Ireland, highballs, and a Whisky Lemon Cheesecake with Slaine Irish Whisky, and lemon three ways.

4. The Doss House

As the song so efficiently states ‘I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year, and I spend all my money on whisky and beer.’ If you’re one who enjoys your roving of the wild variety also then this is the place to spend all your money too. Perfect handles of Guinness, world-famous lamb sausage rolls and enough Irish whisky to get you through the lengthiest of potato famines. Oh, and Shakin’ Stevens fans will appreciate the classy entrance.

5. The Wild Rover

Want to see what all the fuss is about re: Japanese whisky? This is the place to do it. The tiny, almost hidden space in an ex-industrial part of Surry Hills has some of the best (and now, rarest) in the world. Also serving up delicious Japanese bar food (katsu nuggets, skewers of lots of different things, eggplant with miso) as well as whisky-laden cocktails, this is another feather in Sydney’s excellent-small-bar-obsessed cap.

6. Tokyo Bird

Cocktails, Japanese Whisky, and Dumplings. Need we say more? Legend has it that Uncle Ming was one of Shanghai’s most notorious figures, a sweet potato vendor who began a life of crime as a policeman collecting protection money from local opium traders. Having to leave China, Uncle Ming settled in Sydney in the 1920s and set up a place for the local community to meet and have a drink. This whisky bar in Sydney claims to have one of the most extensive Japanese Whisky collections in Australia. You HAVE to see it to believe it.

7. Uncle Mings

Not specifically a whisky bar, Earl’s is rather an everything bar that just so happens to have a great collection of regularly rotating rarities, to keep things interesting. With an enormous back bar and a team of cocktail and spirit experts, the guys (and girls) at Earl’s know the recipe for a good night all too well. They also have a huge selection of beers, featuring classic, easy-drinking lagers to seasonal beers designed to sate even the thirstiest customer.

8. Earl’s Juke Joint

A Sydney whisky bar list wouldn’t be complete without a little something from Merivale, and this offering is one of their best to date. J&M is a small, unassuming space nestled above The Angel Hotel, which was the site of Mr. John and Merivale Hemmes’ first fashion boutique in the 70s. A huge whisky list takes pride of place amongst an already generous selection of drinks on offer, with cocktails and cracking service also on point.

9. J&M

A regular addition to Sydney’s best bars list, Stitch Bar is the perfect whisky bar to enjoy a rare drop and some great food. American Diner style food graces the counter, there’s absolutely no chance you’ll be able to walk out without a good feed. The cocktail menu is just as impressive, with such names at Lousiville Slugger and Midnight Express. There’s certainly an addition to tickle your fancy. Our pick would be the Gold Digger, a modern take on the classic whisky sour, honey and chocolate liqueur enhanced with the nutty flavour of Amaretto and burned coconut.

10. Stitch Bar

Eau De Vie’s younger brother, This whisky bar in Sydney delivers the glamour of a bygone era to Potts Point, offering one of the most well-thought-out drinks menus in town and prime-quality dishes in a room fit for the king himself. While cocktails are the specialty of the house, this has to be one of the most opulent rooms to sit in and peruse the excellent selection of whiskies available.

11. The Roosevelt

As part of accommodation giant Four Seasons Hotels, Grain Bar has been serving up a huge range of top-shelf whiskies since its inception in 2012. Ranging curious sippers from each major distilling region, you’d be hard-pressed to pay the team a visit and not find something you’ve never tried. This whisky bar also dab-hands at cocktails and the sophisticated, elegant setting is perfect at any time of day, for just about any occasion.

12. Grain

Sitting above The Clock Hotel on Crown St in Surry Hills is The Whisky Room, a simple and elegant Sydney whisky bar to pull up a stool and drink some drams you’ve probably not yet tried. Featuring over 200 whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, Australia, The US, Taiwan and New Zealand, there’s something for everybody with a few hidden gems, and the helpful history notes in the menu make it an unpretentious place to educate yourself.

13. Whisky Room

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