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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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

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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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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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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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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

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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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More ace bars for your hit-list

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Things to do Buy tickets

A Long Lunch with Moo Brew and Moorilla Wines

The Sackville Hotel is hosting a long winter lunch matched with the taste of Tassie, care of three craft brews from Moo Brew and three wines from Moorilla Wines.    The lunch is priced at $60 a head, and includes roasted beets with baby watercress and feta as a starter, followed by salt and pepper bugs with kimchi cucumbers and wasabi mayo. Your main will star a grass-fed beef tenderloin with seasonal vegetable sides and for dessert a chocolate fudge brownie should take care of any lingering sugar cravings.   This lunchtime bounty will be accompanied by a pilsner, hefeweizen and dark ale from Moo Brew, alongside a sparkling riesling, sauvignon blanc and a pinot noir from Moorilla.    This is the sort of event it pays to arrive hungry for, and with four courses and matched beverages included in the ticket price, it's also great value for an indulgent afternoon.   

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Laugh Your Pants Off at The Star Event Centre

Bears hibernate in winter but Sydneysiders would be mad to do the same. Especially when there’s a cracking night of some of Australia’s funniest and most famous comedians on at The Star Event Centre – part of The Star's campaign to brighten up the cold season in Sydney.  Laugh Your Pants Off is two hours of guaranteed hilarity that will star Akmal Saleh (recently of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Here); Merrick Watts (legend of radio, TV and the comedy stage); Tom Gleeson (always a hoot on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering); and the acerbic Nazeem Hussain (Legally Brown). They’ll be joined by the inimitable Bev Killick (who brought the house down at Time Out’s recent Melbourne Pub Awards); dry charmer Katie Burch (National Raw Comedy runner-up); Dave Eastgate (A Moody Christmas); and veteran laughmeister Steve Allison. As an added incentive all ticket holders are entitled to a 15 per cent discount at Harvest Buffet, the all-you-can eat buffet at The Star featuring top seafood, roasts, soups, Italian, Indian and Chinese food as well as a tempting range of desserts and cheeses. Because hey, no one likes to laugh it up on an empty stomach. The Star Event Centre is up on Level 3 of The Star at 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont. Find out more about The Star’s winter attractions.

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Restaurants Buy tickets

Max Brenner High Tea at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

Here’s one way to ease the pain of another whole month of winter in Sydney. Stillery Cocktail Bar at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is hosting a chocolate high tea created by the Max Brenner chocolatiers. You’re welcome. The Max Brenner Signature High Tea is a three-tiered stand of unique creations including a chocolate caramel cheesecake, choc chip scone, éclair, white and milk duo mousse, fudge cookie and chocolate lick dip. Costing $59 per person, the high tea comes with a pot of warm, pure melted chocolate, fruit, whipped cream and tea or coffee. For an additional $10 you can add on some savouries too, and Champagne paring is $20. If you have littlies in tow they can have the kids’ high tea, which is $27 for a fudge cookie, chocolate caramel cheesecake, lime coconut marshmallow and chocolate lick dip with strawberries. It’s the perfect winter treat to enjoy next to the fireplace and it’s available every weekend in August. Be sure to reserve in advance, chocoholics. You’re not going to want to miss this one.

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Things to do

The Game Changers

Meet the Game Changers — the Australian entrepreneurs who are making waves in their respective industries. From the world of fine dining to skate and surf publishing, these men have carved out fascinating careers for themselves. They’re doing things on their own terms, in their own way, in their own time.

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