Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Sydney

Bars

The best bars in Sydney

We scoured the city to find the best drinks, greatest chat, most perfectly crafted playlists, tastiest snacks and top vibes to be had in Sydney. We put our livers and our sleep patterns on the line to bring you, dear reader, a comprehensive guide to the best bars in town.

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The best pubs with fireplaces in Sydney

When the mercury drops and the weather turns foul the best place to be is curled up by an open fire - preferably wood, but we'll take gas if that's what's on offer - with a pint of beer, a counter meal and maybe a deck of cards. This way you can lose whole evenings in the comfort of your local and stay warm and dry all winter long.

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Bars

Late night venues without a lockout

Sydney, the lock-out laws are now in place: no entering a venue in the designated CBD and Kings Cross areas after 1.30am and no booze after 3am. But outside those areas there are plenty of late-night options in town to keep your evening rolling along. Here are our picks.

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Sydney's finest

Bars

Sydney craft beer guide

Thanks to the boutique brewing boom, local watering holes are boasting seasonal brews on tap, craft breweries are opening up all over Sydney, and we have two annual festivals dedicated to all things craft beer. Here's where to get in on the sudsy fun.

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The best underground bars in Sydney

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The best pick up bars in Sydney

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The best beer gardens in Sydney

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The best pubs with fireplaces in Sydney

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Bar crawls in Sydney by area

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Surry Hills

Some of the best drinking dens in the city are clustered inside the 2010 postcode, which means a sip trip around Surry Hills involves a whole lot more excellent cocktails, biodynamic wines and craft brews with a whole lot less trekking between venues.

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Bars

Pubs in Balmain

Balmain is one of the most pub-dense suburbs in Sydney, thanks to its proud working class history as a working wharf and the place where the Australian Labor Party got their start. But times have changed and Balmain is now a well-heeled neck of the woods and many corner boozers have become homes and boutiques. However there are plenty of watering holes left for when you have a thirst that only a well-poured beer can quench, and these are our top picks.

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The CBD

There was a dark time, not so many years ago, when after work drinks were limited to huge booze barns with no soul and pubs. Those were your options. Fast forward less than a decade and the CBD now possesses an exceptional collection of bars, from underground tropical hideaways to booze attics with cocktail maestros at the helm. You can drink life-changing wines, the freshest ales and fruity elixirs made from seasonal harvests, and sometimes you can do it all in the same place. It's a big part of what makes Sydney awesome.

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Inner West

Not only is the Inner West home to many of the eccentric, creative and proudly rainbow tribes of Sydney, it's also where you'll find some of the best small bar action. Tiny little haunts slinging great drinks and keeping the vibes lively and local. If you don't have one already, your home-away-from-home is probably on this list.

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Bars

Bondi

Based on Instagram posts alone, you'd be forgiven for thinking Bondi was only about sunrise yoga, surfing and high intensity cardio session. But this beachfront 'burb also possesses an ace collection of bars for when the old exercise you want to be doing is bending the elbow.

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Bars

Newtown

A bar crawl in Newtown is the ultimate pick'n'mix for a parched Sydneysider. It's also great for anyone who would like the minimum travel time necessary between venues. Newtown's bars are all conveniently spaced along King Street and Enmore Road like some sort of boozy daisy chain, which means you can go from dog-friendly brewery bars to moody cocktail dens, neighbourhood wine bars, indie boltholes and rock-n-roll burger bars in no time at all. To make it even easier we've mapped out the best way to cram in all of Newtown's best bars in one hit.

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More neighbourhood bar guides this way

The best bar snacks in the business

Bars

The best schnitzels in Sydney

Crumbed chicken breast or veal hammered out flat might sound like an incredibly simple dish, but there is an art to getting schnitzel right. The shell needs to be well-seasoned and to stick to the meat instead of falling off like an ill-fitting jacket. The meat needs to be cooked through but remain tender and juicy. And the quality of your sauce is a linchpin to the whole enterprise - good gravy is everything. We ate a lot of schnitzel to bring you this list – may our stomachs and waistbands have mercy on us.

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The best pub pies in Sydney

A proper pub pie is a thing of beauty. It's the heart-warming pastry pocket that goes a treat with a freshly poured ale, and if you can eat it in front of an open fire, you've got yourself the ultimate winter hat-trick.

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The best places for cheese and wine in Sydney

The Sydney venues for days when all you want to do is graze on a luxurious cheeseboard and put a solid dent in a bottle of wine while you catch up on the last few years, days or minutes of someone's life and discuss the age old question: washed rind vs hard cheese.

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$10 steaks in Sydney

There's no tastier way to replenish your iron stores than with a juicy steak, and no cheaper way than with these steaks for ten bucks or less.

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The best bar snacks in Sydney

As the line between restaurant and bar becomes increasingly blurry, it's now possible to make a whole meal out of the excellent bar snacks flying over the counter at our favourite haunts. These are the places we head when we're not sure if drinks is going to turn into dinner, but we want to keep our options open.

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Restaurants

Winter at North Bondi Fish

Things are changing at North Bondi Fish, Matt Moran’s sprawling seafood restaurant with its famous ocean views. The venue has had a spruce up and new head chef Zac Sykes (Coogee Pavilion, the Fish Shop) has revamped the menu with fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce. “My favourite dish at the moment is butter poached cuttlefish, fennel and lemon balm risotto with nori powder,” says Sykes. “I love using cuttlefish as it has great flavour and just like Aussie calamari, it’s sustainable, so you know it’s not overfished in any part of Australia.” Head into North Bondi Fish on a Thursday or Friday night and you can try one of Sykes’ #notjustfish creations, where he favours the likes of pork belly with braised cabbage and polenta or slow-cooked beef shin over seafood. Enjoy the special with a carafe of wine for two people at $30 per head. Winter warmer cocktails are also available throughout the cooler months and include tasty adult treats such as an Irish Coffee or a Kentucky Toddy served in a teacup. Or pop on down for Aperitivo hours, Wednesday to Friday from 4-6pm. NBF are also hosting an after party for City2Surf. Tickets include a three-hour beverage package, food by Sykes and DJ Alice Q playing on the balcony from 9am. Now that’s what we’d call a fun run. Winter trading hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon till late.

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Rock Lily Trivia Tuesdays

Rock Lily, the music-comedy-entertainment venue on Level 1 at The Star, Pyrmont, has a trivia night every Tuesday, from 7.30pm. There’s no cover charge, pizzas are just $10, there are $15 beer jugs and parking is free if you spend $15 in one go. Now here’s the kicker. Many pub trivias will give you $100 in bar credit as first prize. Hell, some will give you less. But at Rock Lily the prize is a cool $500 cash – every single Tuesday. Plus, there are prizes worth $100 and $50 for second and third place respectively, and spot prizes throughout the night. That’s right. Win the comp and half a K is yours for the taking, no strings attached. Mind you, with such a generous jackpot at stake, The Star are serious about the cardinal rule of trivia: namely, no phones, tablets, notes, newspapers or other forms of external assistance – on pain of disqualification. They monitor this closely, so hands off the phones, people. Teams can be as small as two and as large as ten. The smaller the team that triumphs the bigger the individual cut, but then the bigger the team the wider your knowledge base. There are two rounds of 20 questions. Good luck.

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Restaurants

Broadway Sydney announces new food retailers

Visitors to Broadway Shopping Centre this year will have noticed Level 2 has been kept under wraps while undergoing a major redevelopment.   Next month we’ll get to see the results of this multi-million dollar renovation as the bandages fall away to reveal an exciting new food offering for Broadway customers, starring the fifth Sydney outlet for Taiwanese dumpling masters Din Tai Fung. Joining those popular purveyors of xiaolongbao will be Mexican taqueria kings Guzman y Gomez, ready to satisfy those burrito cravings, as well as popular franchises Grill’d Healthy Burgers and Nando’s. The other food outlets announced are Zeus Street Greek; Pepper Seeds Thai; Sushi Hon; Schnitz; Mumbai Express; and Ilmi Korean BBQ. The new food retailers join a high profile list of fashion and beauty tenants including recently announced Sephora, H&M and Calvin Klein Underwear, moving into Level 2 this August. More names will be revealed over the coming weeks – watch this space.  

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