Bars & Pubs

The best places to drink in Sydney

This brand new balcony wants to be your springtime fling
Blog

This brand new balcony wants to be your springtime fling

Things have been a bit quiet in Leichhardt over the last few years. Sydney's little Italy is still one of the best places to go for classic, old-school red sauce pasta and the city's best tiramisu gelato, but there haven't been a lot of exciting new openings or changes to the roster along Norton Street.  But all that is set to change because the renovations on the Royal are complete and they have unveiled a wrap-around balcony where we are planning on spending all of our summer afternoons from here on in. Just imagine climbing the wide staircase on a sweaty evening and claiming a table along the railing. We can basically already taste the dry white wine we'll be knocking back in the cool evening breeze. Don't do so well with stairs? It's all good because they also added a lift to make the upstairs bar fully accessible. They've upgraded the menu too, adding fried chicken wings with paprika mayo and a sriracha chicken salad to the menu of counter meal classics. There's no denying Sydney loves itself a rooftop bar, but the sun can get brutal over summer, which is why a shady balcony looking out over Norton Street is the perfect place to kick back for a Sunday session. Well played, Leichhardt.  Photograph: Alana Dimou   Need more rays? Nab a table at one of Sydney's best rooftop bars.

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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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You can finally drink at Sydney's Urban Winery
Blog

You can finally drink at Sydney's Urban Winery

Sydney is really getting a taste for this whole locally-made booze thing. First we whet our appetites with all the craft beer we could handle at A-grade brewery bars like the Young Henrys warehouse, the cosy garage containing Batch Brewing Co, and the expansive – likely bomb-proof – Waywards Brewing Co. Next Archie Rose leapt onto the scene in a blaze of shining copper with their beautiful distillery out in Rosebery. And now we have an Urban Winery to call our very own. The Urban Winery Sydney has set up in the buzzy new Precinct 75 in St Peters, that is also home to our only axe-throwing range, Willie the Boatman brewery and Sample Coffee Roasters. The winery is where winermaker Alex Retief has been making his range of cool climate wines from biodynamic grapes grown on his family farm in Gundagai NSW, and you can finally tastes the fruits of his labor at the cellar door and tasting bar that is set to open on Wed Sep 21. There'll be cheese and charcuterie to go along with you A.Retief wines so that you can get that cellar door experience minus the three hour drive to the Hunter. Urban Winery Sydney, Suite 6.01, Precinct 75, 75 Mary Street, St Peters 2044. Wed, Thu 4-8pm; Fri 4-9pm; Sat noon-9pm; Sun noon-5pm. Cellar Door and Tasting Bar opening Wed Sep 21. Want more cellar door action? Pop in for a visit to one of Sydney's best craft breweries.

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New restaurants, cafés and bars in Sydney
Restaurants

New restaurants, cafés and bars in Sydney

If you love food and live in Sydney, your 'must-try' list of new restaurants, cafés and bars probably takes up your iPhone's entire storage capacity by now. Still, we must persevere. For a tightly curated guide to dining in Sydney, we suggest you visit our restaurant hit list.

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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
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.

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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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Liveworks
Art

Liveworks

Liveworks festival is the main event in Performance Space's annual program, showcasing local, interstate and international artists pushing the frontiers of art and performance. In 2016, artists include dancer/choreographer Kristina Chan, who offers a meditation on impermance in the era of climate change, 'A Faint Existence'. Mish Grigor (of the collective post) will give 'The Talk' – in which she re-enacts awkward conversations about sexuality she had with her family members.  Visual artist Ross Manning will transform CarriageWorks' public spaces into a psychedelic landscape with his installation 'Melody Lines'. Meanwhile Indigenous acoustic outfit the Stiff Gins will give a music-based performance about Indigenous artefacts held in museums.Experimental musician and composer Jon Rose will showcase his extraordinary collection of hand-built instruments for 'The Museum Goes Live'. Taiwanese performance artist River Lin will ask visitors to nominate 'unclean' parts of their bodies in a work titled 'Cleansing Service'. And there's more besides: check the website for the complete line-up.  For a limited time CarriageWorks is offering an Earlybird discount of 20 per cent off all tickets for Liveworks.

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Made in Sydney: Music Makers and Innovators
Things to do Buy tickets

Made in Sydney: Music Makers and Innovators

In this edition of Made In Sydney series General Assembly will be focusing on the city's vibrant music and nightlife scene by hosting a panel of music makers and innovators. Chad Gillard, the co-founder of one of Sydney's most loved record labels Future Classic will be on the panel alongside some other industry buddies. Considering he's played a part in launching the careers of the likes of Flume, Jagwar Ma and Wafia, you know the guy's going to have some pretty excellent insights on the Sydney scene and beyond. After the panel wraps up there will be drinks and tunes right into the evening. The evening is free but RSVP is essential.

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A three-course French lunch for just $45
Restaurants

A three-course French lunch for just $45

Café Ananas down in Phillip Street is a restaurant inspired by the cuisine of the South of France. In the spirit of the longer days and warmer temperatures that are upon us, they’re now offering a weekday three-course express lunch at the wallet-friendly prix fixe of $45. Your entrée is a beet salad, ricotta ravioli or Niçoise tuna pan-bagnat. For mains, you can have the grilled Wagyu bavette steak, Champagne risotto or fish of the day. Finish it off with a vanilla crème brûlée or selection of ice cream and sorbet. So head to Café Ananas to savour the fresh flavours of French cuisine as well as Sydney Harbour views. Your lunch break can be a real escape – one that doesn’t take all afternoon, or bust the budget.

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Win a trip to India with Intrepid Travel
Travel

Win a trip to India with Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Travel is giving one lucky person a spot on their 15-day Classic Rajasthan tour, departing March 19, 2017. The prize includes return airfares from any Australian or New Zealand major city to Delhi and offers an intimate small group experience as you travel through the romantic northern Indian province of Rajasthan. Tour highlights include tiger spotting in Ranthambore National Park; camel riding through the desert in Pushkar; and a visit to the Taj Mahal. Accommodation is included and ranges from fortified mansions to camping under the stars. Competition opens September 15 and closes October 27, 2016. To enter, simply fill out your details here. Good luck!

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