Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Sydney

Time Out Bar Awards 2018: Winners
Bars

Time Out Bar Awards 2018: Winners

We have been propping up bars in this town for as long as it takes to age a medium range whisky, and it has been a wild ride. In our tenth annual Time Out Sydney Bar Awards, we once again take stock of our city's incredible scene and the professional tastemakers who keep the party in your glass. Sydney's bars are a force to be reckoned with, with fortitude to spare, but these are the veenues that are at the top of their game in 2018. Without their hard work, palates, creativity, diversity and dedication to our nightlife every night would be Netflix and chill.  Emily Lloyd-TaitNational Food and Drink Editor in association with Venue Partner

The best bars in Newtown
Bars

The best bars in 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 some of Sydney's best cocktail dens, neighbourhood wine bars, indie boltholes and rock-n-roll burger bars in no time at all. What's more you'll find a bunch of great bars in Enmore, which is (technically) past Newtown, but is only a hop-skip-and-jump-away and very much worth checking out. Want more late night drinks? Check out our guide to bars and pubs without a lockout.  RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the best Newtown restaurants

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. For more al fresco drinking try one of Sydney's best beer gardens, or waterfront bars. RECOMMENDED: The 50 best bars in Sydney.

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.

The 50 best bars in Sydney
Bars

The 50 best bars in Sydney

Every year we put our livers and sleep patterns on the line to bring you, dear reader, a comprehensive guide to the best bars in town to make sure your evenings never run dry.

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.

Late night bars and pubs without a lockout
Bars

Late night bars and pubs without a lockout

Lockouts may rule much of the CBD, Cross and Darlinghurst, but just outside of the Sydney lockout map you'll find a handful of bars and pubs ready and waiting to let you in after 2am. We've rounded up a bunch of them, from swanky cocktail haunts to local pubs. What time is lockout in Sydney? These laws mean that all venues within Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and the CBD 'Entertainment Precinct' cannot take new customers after 2am, and must call last drinks at 3.30am. State-wide, you cannot buy takeaway alcohol after 11pm. There are a few exceptions to these rules for specific venues, but on the whole it's what you'll find at most licensed venues within the lockout zone.  RECOMMENDED: The 50 best bars in Sydney.

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.

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.

Sydney's finest

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. RECOMMENDED: The 50 best bars in Sydney.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The best schnitzels in Sydney
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

You might also like...

Just for Laughs

Just for Laughs

Now in its eighth year, Just For Laughs has become a comedy fixture for Sydney, presenting a largely Antipodean, UK and American line-up across Sydney Opera House, Enmore Theatre, Factory Theatre and City Recital Hall. Highlights from this year's program include English comedy stalwart Bill Bailey, who'll be bringing stand-up, sing-alongs and satire to the Sydney Opera House in his new show, Earl of Whimsy. You know him from his laugh-out-loud roles in Crazy Rich Asians, The Hangover and Community, but did you know Ken Jeong actually started his career as a doctor before moving to stand-up? He'll be reverting back to his foundations in comedy, with a one-off Opera House performance. Iliza Shlesinger, who was the first woman to win Last Comic Standing in 2008, and has four Netflix specials to her name and the hugely popular podcast, Truth and Iliza. Improviser extraordinaire Reggie Watts, who'll be using just has voice and looping pedals to create a hilarious musical performance.  Whose Line is it Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops, who'll be bringing a touch of the Whose Line magic to Sydney in an improvised performance. Ryan Hamilton and Becky Lucas will also both take to the Opera House while Ismo, Kenny Sebastian and Mo Gilligan will hit the Factory Theatre for solo shows.  Returning this year is the popular All-Star Gala (which tends to sell out), which will again be hosted by Dave Hughes and features Reggie Watts, the stars of Whose Line is

Buy tickets
Head to Whirly Bird's aperitivo hour
Restaurants

Head to Whirly Bird's aperitivo hour

Pyrmont's own cocktail and chicken devoted bar will be dishing out this new aperitivo hour every week. Inspired by the Italian tradition, you’ll be able to order up glasses of red or white wine, bitter amari or Resch's Draught for just $5. If you're after a cocktail, there will be a menu of bartender's picks. You can order up an Aperol Spritz, Negroni, Daiquiri or a Paloma. To go with your drinks, you can peruse a selection of $10 snacks, including salt and pepper silken tofu, avocado and edamame guacamole, chicken and chorizo croquettes and spicy jalapeño poppers. A highlight of the $10 menu is Whirly Bird's signature messy wings, which you can order in three different styles – chilli caramel with pickled radish, sesame and lime; satay with spicy peanut sauce and green onions; or classic buffalo wings, with honey and chilli hot sauce, blue cheese dip and celery. If you're in on Thursday night you'll also find $12 burgers, and every day you can get around the rest of the full Whirly Bird menu, which includes rotisserie chicken and porchetta, buttermilk fried chicken and salads. Whirly Bird's aperitivo hour goes down Sunday through Thursday from 5pm-7pm, making it the perfect spot for after work drinks or a pre-theatre bite to eat. Find out more about Whirly Bird.

Local guide to Double Bay with Kayla Lagesse, the Sheaf
Bars

Local guide to Double Bay with Kayla Lagesse, the Sheaf

The Sheaf has a legendary status as an Eastern Suburbs party pub. Visiting this Double Bay venue is practically a rite of passage for young people, and there's a line-up of DJs and live entertainment throughout the week. Their beer garden is one of the best places to be, day or night. One of the Sheaf’s biggest fans works there: duty manager Kayla Lagesse. Kayla, how long have you worked here?I have worked at the Sheaf for just over four years. I applied for a job as soon as I turned 18! I started out as a food runner in the bistro and have since worked my way up to bartender, then a bar supervisor, and now a duty manager. What do you love most about your job?Hospitality is one of the greatest industries to work in. There is always something exciting happening, whether it’s a big event or helping create a new cocktail list. I’m someone who enjoys eating and drinking, and I also value being able to provide guests with a great experience and tell a story through the food and drinks they enjoy. Plus, I have met some of my greatest friends, and so many people with interesting stories along the way. Who have you met?I know many of the customers that come in very well. A mother and infant son have come in for the past three years, and some of the baby’s first words were learning the staff’s names! There were two girls who came in on a Wednesday night and one of the girls’ boyfriends had just dumped her. They seemed a bit down, so I sent them over a couple of [complimentary] Cosm

Get around these chimney cone ice creams
Restaurants

Get around these chimney cone ice creams

Sydney has its very own dessert truck devoted to chimney cones, a traditional Hungarian dessert that takes grilled sugar dusted doughnut-like cones, fills them with ice cream, then tops it with sweet treats. Pimp My Chimney rolls around Sydney serving up the decadent, portable dessert, and now you can find it at a bunch of locations around the city and surrounds. You'll find them regularly at EQ Moore Park and in Blacktown, and also at one-off events including the upcoming Cabaramatta Moon Festival; Penrith Octoberfest and the Marrickville Festival. To keep your eye out for where you can get around the treat, follow the Pimp My Chimney Facebook. Once you track the dessert truck down, you'll be able to try one of the eight tasty chimney cones like the Naughty Nuts Nutella, Nutella brownies, vanilla ice cream and hazelnuts; the Cheeky Choc, cookies, choc fingers, flakes, sauce and ice cream; or the oozey doozy Caramel Baby, with honeycomb, caramel fudge, caramel popcorn, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Find out more about Pimp My Chimney.