Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Sydney

Where to drink Frosé in Sydney
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Where to drink Frosé in Sydney

Summer is coming and with it comes our city's unquenchable thirst for cold drinks. It used to be that when an icy Daiquiri couldn't hit the spot a frozen Margarita was your only option to beat the heat. But thanks to a particularly muggy summer in New York this year, we now have the Frosé to answer all our summertime prayers. Frosé is basically a sorbet made from rosé wine blended up with fruit, syrup and juice in a Slushie machine, and the result is straight-up party fuel.

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The best bars 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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There's a new cellar door opening in Chippendale
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There's a new cellar door opening in Chippendale

If you've been considering packing your bags and heading for the Adelaide Hills, just cool your jets a minute, because the wineries are coming to you. Right now in Sydney we've got more brewery bars that you can fling a growler at, and now we are about to clock up our third cellar door. Redfern has the Cake Wines Cellar Door and you'll find the Urban Winery Sydney in St Peters. Now it's Chippendale's turn to get in on the vinous action: later this week the crew behind Handpicked Wines, a winery that uses grapes from across the world's wine regions, will throw open the doors on their Sydney cellar door in Kensington Street. The Handpicked Cellar Door will join the buzzy strip that houses Automata, Spice Alley and Koi Dessert Bar, and it will be the place for an afternoon spent getting to know their range of 30 wines available by the glass and bottle. We're talking Chilean varieties, European wines and the best of the Antipodes, all of which you can take-away too. Planning a last minute party and no time to get to Dan Murphy's? They'll deliver your wine in only three hours in the Sydney metro area. All this wine could get a worker bee into trouble, which is why there will also be cheese and charcuterie platters available care of Formaggi Ocello, and if wine isn't your speed there'll be local beers and ciders available too. The space was formerly a brewery workshop and thanks to its expansive 300 square-metre floor-space there's room for pretty much anything they can think o

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The best waterfront bars in Sydney
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The best waterfront bars in Sydney

We are a city blessed with a truly ludicrous amount of waterfront real estate. Between the harbour, the coastline and the rivers that snake back through Sydney we have ample spots to sit a while and watch the waves. But when those places also have a bar for cold drinks and seaside snacks, you know you've hit the jackpot. These are our favourite places for drinks with a water view.

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Where to drink right now

Sydney bar and pub reviews
Bars

Sydney bar and pub reviews

Stay ahead of the pack with our guide to the hottest new venues that have opened in Sydney, reviewed by out team of bar experts.

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The best rooftop bars in Sydney
Bars

The best rooftop bars in Sydney

We're all for a late night hootenanny, but sometimes there's nothing better than bending the elbow with the sun on your back and a cool drink to keep things chill. And we're not alone. Sydney's rooftop bars account for some of the most popular, and hard won, seats in the city, so get in quick for the glory spots with the best views.

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The best waterfront bars in Sydney
Bars

The best waterfront bars in Sydney

We are a city blessed with a truly ludicrous amount of waterfront real estate. Between the harbour, the coastline and the rivers that snake back through Sydney we have ample spots to sit a while and watch the waves. But when those places also have a bar for cold drinks and seaside snacks, you know you've hit the jackpot. These are our favourite places for drinks with a water view.

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The best underground bars in Sydney
Bars

The best underground bars in Sydney

There's a lot of good reasons to head down rather than up when you're feeling parched. Underground it's always party o'clock, because even if it's 2pm, it feels like after dark. Plus you have no external cues as to the lateness of the hour so a quick drink can turn into a big night very easily. Drinking below street level is also deliciously climate controlled so on a blazing hot summer's day, or a torrential downpour, your best bet is posting up in one of Sydney's best booze cellars.

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Sydney's finest

The best beer gardens in Sydney
Bars

The best beer gardens in Sydney

Sure, we're good at swimming and rugby, but what Australians excel at is kicking back in the leafy courtyard of our local, sinking some beers and chewing the fat with our mates. Beer garden sessions are basically our national pastime, and here's the best places to participate.

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The best first date bars in Sydney
Bars

The best first date bars in Sydney

No one is saying first dates are easy – there’s the reasonable fear you might insult them, bore them or that they may turn out to be secret racists. And it’s worse still if you think you might like them – so many expectations to manage. Do yourself a favour and pick a location for that first meeting that matches your vibe, be it low key and local or a litmus test for how they feel about the things you love best – namely wine.

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The best cocktail bars in Sydney
Bars

The best cocktail bars in Sydney

No one is pretending that cocktaisl are a cost-effective way to relax or party in Sydney. In a city where $20 a drink isn't an uncommon price tag, you really want to know that what's in your glass has been shaken and stirred by the best in the business. These are the places that you can always trust to give you a truly outstanding drink in exchange for your hard-eraned.

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Late night venues without a lockout
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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The best pick up bars in Sydney
Bars

The best pick up bars in Sydney

In these days of app-based dating the idea of meeting someone in the real world can sound fanciful, but we swear, it happens. Of course there's an argument to be made that any bar with alcohol has the potential to be a pick-up bar, but that's not very helpful, so we asked every single person we knew, and a few we didn't, for their favourite fishing spots in Sydney and this is what they told us.

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The best bar snacks in the business

The best toasties in Sydney
Bars

The best toasties in Sydney

Two slices of bread, cheese and butter are the building blocks of the most comforting snack of all time, the toasted sandwich. From there you can stick to the classics – baked beans, tinned spaghetti, savoury mince, or the infallible combination of ham and tomato with cheese – or get crazy and wild with the fillings. There's basically nothing that doesn't taste good inside a hot pocket with cheese. If you're craving the simple pleasures of a jaffle, these are our favourite places to get them.

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The best bar snacks in Sydney
Bars

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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The best places for cheese and wine in Sydney
Bars

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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The best schnitzels in Sydney
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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
Bars

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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More ace bars for your hit-list

Best bars by area

Darlinghurst
Bars

Darlinghurst

In Darlinghurst you're spoiled for choice when it comes to excellent boozing options. Maybe you feel like nautical cocktails and a lobster burger? Or would a Boilermaker and a bowl of monkey nuts suit you better? The one thing we can all agree on, surely, is that when top notch cocktails are the order of the day, you want a five star bar with the best in the business mixing your drinks. You can find in all in this boozy pocket of the East.

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Surry Hills
Bars

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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The CBD
Bars

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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Bondi
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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Newtown
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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Inner West
Bars

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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The best pubs in the city

The best pubs in Sydney
Bars

The best pubs in Sydney

A lot of beers were drunk, schnitzels eaten and trivia answered in the search for the best pubs Sydney has to offer. We honed our pool skills, got surprisingly accurate with darts, and busted some PBs at Big Buckhunter in the pursuit of the venue that ticked all the boxes; welcoming, great beers, good food, games, entertainment, inclusive and relaxed. There are a lot of rock-solid pubs in this city, and these are the pick of the bunch.

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The best happy hours in Surry Hills
Bars

The best happy hours in Surry Hills

It might be a famously desirable and expensive place to hang your hat, but drinking in Surry Hills doesn't have to cost the earth so long as you time it right.

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The best beer gardens in Sydney
Bars

The best beer gardens in Sydney

Sure, we're good at swimming and rugby, but what Australians excel at is kicking back in the leafy courtyard of our local, sinking some beers and chewing the fat with our mates. Beer garden sessions are basically our national pastime, and here's the best places to participate.

Read more
Sydney craft beer guide
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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Serial’s Julie Snyder
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Serial’s Julie Snyder

She was the co-creator and producer of the most addictive podcasts of the past decade and her investigative journalism skills unearthed a case that had the world round wondering just 'whodunnit'. And now Serial's creator is coming to Sydney for Bingefest.  Julie Snyder – the woman behind the smash hit Serial – will be giving you an inside look into the creation of her true crime podcast. This exclusive Australian conversation will see Snyder sharing recordings peppered with personal anecdotes and memories from creating the series. Aired in 2014, Serial blew up to be one of the biggest podcasts ever, breaking Apple's download records as the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads. The the murder of Hae Min Lee and conviction of Adnan Syed was pulled apart across 12 detailed episodes and Snyder and co-creator Sarah Koenig scored critical acclaim for reinvigorating long-form nonfiction storytelling. It went onto be so influential that podcasts were created about the show, everyone had an opinion to who the murderer really was, and Adnan Syed's case even went to retrial. Don't miss your chance to hear from the storytelling maestro at this year's inaugural Bingefest.

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NYE at Portside Sydney
Things to do Buy tickets

NYE at Portside Sydney

Another year has sped by and now it's time to farewell it. Do so in style at one of the best vantage points in Sydney for seeing the Harbour Bridge fireworks: down at Portside Sydney Opera House. All night long there will be free flowing Moët & Chandon Impérial, and local Falcona signed DJ Dena Amy will be spinning electronic, pop and classic hits to soundtrack your 2016 send-off.  A menu specially curated by Lauren Murdoch will be served throughout the evening, alongside a signature Belvedere Vodka cocktail list. There will also be wines from Cape Mentelle, beers from James Squire and 5 Seeds Cider. The celebrations at Portside Sydney kick off from 7.30pm, meaning you will have one of the best vantage points in all of Sydney for both the 9pm and midnight fireworks.

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Experience the magic of Christmas in Martin Place
Things to do

Experience the magic of Christmas in Martin Place

Bulgari is helping set Christmas aglow with a mesmerising jewelled light installation in the Martin Place precinct. Crafted using thousands of individual LED lights, the festive decorations interpret the Roman jeweller’s most famous shapes. The coiling Serpenti centerpieces evoke precious garlands, while the Divas’ Dream collection becomes stylised Christmas trees. The shimmering display is on every evening from 6pm to midnight up until Wednesday December 28. As well as admiring the light display shoppers and commuters will be able to visit the GPO Dessert Bar, installed in Martin Place next to the Christmas Tree. Visit the dessert bar for gelato, housemade sweets, cakes, coffee, cold beverages and savoury options, with casual seating available as well as views of the interactive Christmas tree. The GPO Dessert Bar is open Monday to Thursday 8am-10pm; Friday 8am-11pm; Saturday 9am-11pm; and Sunday 10am-10pm, up until Friday December 30. Bulgari Christmas Lights and the GPO Dessert Bar are part of sydneychristmas.com.au.  

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Lights of Christmas
Things to do

Lights of Christmas

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and you’ll certainly feel it if you visit St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt. Every night until Christmas (7.30pm-midnight) the grand cathedral will be transformed with a beautiful free light and sound show.The Lights of Christmas, presented by PAYCE, will see a Fantasia-style animation projected onto the façade of St Mary’s Cathedral. The colourful, interactive story will be set to a soundtrack of the festive favourite, Tchaikovsky's 'The Nutcracker Suite'. The show kicks off at 7.30pm every evening, with choirs from around Sydney performing carols on the steps.Following The Nutcracker Suite animation, there will be beautiful super-sized projections of great artists' interpretations of the Madonna and Child. There are also projections at Sydney Town Hall and Martin Place, so make an evening of it and head to the heart of the city to celebrate the festive season.

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