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...

Sydney by Kayak
Things to do

Sydney by Kayak

The most challenging part of the Sunrise Kayak and Coffee tour is getting up at 5am – but rising early gives you glassy waters and glorious photo opportunities that’ll make your hungover friends incredibly jealous on a Sunday morning. Instructor Laura Stone and husband Ben run weekly dawn tours that make the most of Sydney Harbour before most people turn and hit snooze. They set up single kayaks at Lavender Bay Boat Ramp ready for the 5.40am meeting time and while we’re learning the best way to hold our paddles, Laura is picking up everyone’s coffee orders from a local café. Each raft has a custom coffee holder, and the ceramic cups keep the brews warm until you’ve paddled under the Bridge. The harbour water is velvety smooth, and the kayaks are very stable so you don’t need to work hard to paddle around Luna Park and into position as the sunlight hits Sydney Opera House. Our fleet rafts up to enjoy the view, sipping flat whites through the salty silicone lids and snapping away with our phones. If you don’t want to risk dropping your own camera, there’s a photographer on each tour and you can purchase personal pics for $30. Though the kayaks have glass-bottom windows the water’s still too dark to reveal any sea life – however, we do spot a fur seal frolicking by Blues Point Reserve. After an hour or so of gentle paddling we glide over to Sawmillers Reserve to check out the shipwreck. The ferries don’t start until 8am, so there’s time to go slow. It’s one of the drie

Cake Bake and Sweets Show
Things to do Buy tickets

Cake Bake and Sweets Show

You won’t find any Shake ‘n Bake at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show – this flour-covered expo only dishes out top tier sweet treats. There’s masterclasses, cake-decorating competitions, workshops and cooking demonstrations for home bakers, and plenty of taste-testing opportunities if dessert is your kryptonite. Over three days of baking events, you’ll get the chance to be tutored by international celebrity chefs and local baking stars. Pastry chef at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel Anna Polyviou will share her creative dessert skills, appearing alongside local Instagram dessert queen Katherine Sabbath and Benny Rivera from New York’s City Cakes. Throughout the show, learn how to temper couverture chocolate, whip together the smoothest buttercream, create sharp frosting edges and even construct a multi-tiered wedding cake. There will also be an exhibition space to taste the full carbtastic menu, explore new baking appliances and have cookbooks signed by your baking idols. Some savoury baked items will make the cut, and there’ll be an area dedicated to healthy baking, so you can go nuts on your cheat day without going into a sugar coma. You'll need to register for most classes and workshops, which are an additional cost on top of the entry ticket price. 

Buy
JJ's Place

JJ's Place

Jameson is hosting a blockbuster festival called JJ's Place filled with live music, exclusive beer and whiskey tastings and delicious snacks for one day only at Commune in Waterloo. The best part? It's free entry, with your first round on the house for you and a mate, if you register on the site. JJ's Place promises a packed and exciting day with your pals, especially if your crew are music lovers. The festival will be raging with sets from Gooch Palms, the Delta Riggs, Sloan Peterson and Display Homes. The tunes will be flowing the entire event with FBi DJs spinning faves between live sets. The festival also boasts the launch of Jameson Caskmates IPA editions, a blended Irish whiskey finished in IPA beer barrels. The hoppy, smooth whiskey will be served up the way it is best enjoyed, with fresh lemon and tonic. There'll also be other delicious selections from the Jameson Caskmates family to try: the stout with soda and orange; the hard shandy; and a limited edition Young Henrys Irish pale ale boilermaker. Alongside whiskey tastings, you'll also get the chance to watch a live barrel charring with the Jameson master distiller and Master cooper.  JJ's Place has also got great snacks to pair with all that delicious whiskey and beer, teaming up with two local legends to bring you custom plates and cocktails. Frankie's Pizza will be transporting their beloved pinball machines, serving up fresh slices, and flinging fresh apple and whiskey cocktails. Newtown gem Continental Deli

Buy
Check out the Four in Hand's new facelift
Bars

Check out the Four in Hand's new facelift

Beloved pub Four in Hand in Paddington has stood for more than 140 years. Recently it was under threat of becoming a residential development, but 12,000 people gathered to fight back. The passionate local support prevailed and Good Beer Company stepped in to buy the beloved Four in Hand and keep it running.  After a style revamp, it's reopened and it's stronger than ever. Gone are the days of fine dining: the restaurant has been replaced with a plush, rustic bistro serving up classic pub meals. Inside the building’s new interior the old has been preserved in the polished wooden features and sporting hall of fame, then blended with the new for a light and airy refresh. There are 13 TVs peppered throughout the pub’s rooms, and an enormous 90-inch screen dedicated to airing sports, so you never miss a goal. With cricket season on its way it couldn’t come soon enough.  Stop in for a Monday night parma at just $12.50 a pop, or try Fridays with their two-for-one steak special. Happy hour runs seven days per week, with craft beer and wine on offer for just $5 from 5-7pm. Tuesdays are trivia night, with $12.50 rump steaks and plenty of fun to be had. Or if you’re interested in cocktails, check out their weekend specials, with $12.50 Espresso Martinis on Fridays, Margaritas on Saturdays, and Bloody Marys on Sundays.For more on Four in Hand, check out their website here.