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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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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Things to do Buy tickets

Sydney Dog Lovers Show

Whether you’re a dog owner or you’re hoping to become one, there’ll be plenty of puppies to go round at the Dog Lovers Show. You can pick up expert tips on behaviour, diet, first aid and surviving with a new puppy. This year’s event will be star-studded as celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown will be there to captain a team of talented K9s in the Weave Pole Challenge. Renowned animal trainer Peta Clarke will take to the stage to offer insights into celeb-dog training and will introduce the canine duo that stole the show as ‘Bruiser’ and ‘Rufus’ in Legally Blonde the Musical. Pamper your pooch with gifts from the hundreds of stalls selling the latest gear. Hear the stories of war veterans and their experiences in working with war dogs and, most importantly, visit the Pat-A-Pooch nursery to cuddle all the pups you could ever imagine.  Book online to fetch up to a 20 per cent discount. 

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards and exhibition showcase not only the best of the natural world, but the patience, ingenuity and talent of the photographers who spend their time embedded within wildlife so that they can get that incredible, revealing shot. Previously held at the Australian Museum, this year's exhibition, showcasing the best of wildlife photography in 2015, is taking place at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Wrestling komodo dragons, ethereal egrets and thirsty squirrels are among the creatures captured on camera by this year’s finalists. Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, the images were taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers and selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity. Among the 100 images on show is Australian explorer and conservation photographer  Michael AW's 'Under Water' category winner (pictured): a photograph of a Bryde's whale in the middle of a feeding frenzy, taken off the east coast of South Africa. Entry is by a Special Exhibition ticket that also grants visitors access into another key exhibition at the Maritime Museum, Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude, which is on loan for a limited season from the Natural History Museum, London.  

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Bledisloe Cup Charity Lunch

Cross-Tasman rivalries are sharpening up once more with the annual New Zealand vs Australia rugby union clash the Bledisloe Cup this August. This year the Bledisloe Cup Charity Lunch is taking place at Beer DeLuxe in King Street Wharf, hosted by Phillip Cornwell and featuring special guest former rugby union star (and current Balmain coach) Matt Dunning. Tickets to the lunch are $100 per person including a three-course meal and drinks. The afternoon will feature raffles and hot charity auction items guests can bid for courtesy of some of Australia’s best craft brewers. From Two Birds Brewing, there’s a T-shirt and beer prize pack. From Akasha Brewing there’s a cap, T-shirt and brewery tour on offer (the tour includes a complimentary tasting paddle). There’s also a tour on offer from Wayward Brewing – to which the winning bidder can bring 20 mates, including tastings. Time Out is also getting in on the charity spirit with two gift bags, each including bottles of white wine and red wine, a six-month subscription to Time Out Sydney magazine, and a copy of the Time Out Sydney Pub Guide 2016. If you love craft beer almost as much as you love your rugby then you’re going to want to get along to this – but book now to avoid disappointment. The very deserving charity benefiting from the event is Bear Cottage – the only children’s hospice in NSW.

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