The best bars in Newtown
Go here for: Tiki drinks right by the Enmore
On arrival to this island style cocktail haunt from Earl’s Juke Joint alum you’ll be greeted with a perky ‘Aloha’. From here the good times come blended, bashed and garnished to the nines. Behind the bar you’ll spot three milkshake makers, two blenders, violet orchids, paper peacocks, loads of fruit and a menu that is packed full of tiki classics.
Go here for: Cold cuts and a tinned Martini
Opened by two of the greatest restaurateurs Sydney has seen in recent times, Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joe Valore of Porteño, Gardel’s Bar and Bodega (which they co-own with Ben Milgate), and LP’s Quality Meats (which they co-own with Luke Powell), this is more than just a restaurant. At Continental in Newtown a downstairs deli opens at 11am and becomes a casual bar/restaurant as the later hours creep in, while upstairs there's a bistro for those fancier nights out.
Go here for: One of Sydney's best burgers and natural wine
If you don't want to queue outside this burger bar that's more popular than a pop-up puppy party catered by Messina, timing is everything. Get in early for any chance at a table, or wait until the dinner rush has worn off – well after 9pm, but there are still no guarantees. Territory is hard won here so barricade yourself in with baskets of fried chicken and bottles of natural wine (ask for the list from behind the bar) once you get a seat.
Go here for: Cocktails that are sharp, boozy and expertly made
Once you've graduated from smashing jugs of beer at your local it's time to crank up the drinks quality substantially and order the best cocktails in Newtown at this low lit bar with a New Orleans voodoo vibe. Earl's Juke Joint is all class. It's built to outlast all the Saturday nights Newtown can throw at it, the drinks list is spectacular and the vibe stays at a potent simmer.
Go here for: One of Sydney's best beer gardens
The beautiful thing about this old boozer is that it’s a pub designed to facilitate a good time on your terms. Want to sit up at the bar with a huge plate of fish and chips and watch back-to-back AFL games? This is the best place for it. Prefer to sink your tip money in pinball machines while you annihilate jugs of Stone and Wood Pacific Ale and Young Henrys Newtowner? Right this way.
Go here for: A howlin' ride through middle America
By the look of this dive you’d expect peanut shells crunching under foot. Regulars – like birds on a wire – perch at the bar and a American accent comes from behind it. The worn-in, down-home atmosphere, though, belies expert cocktail, beer and wine chops and sophisticated bar bites.
Go here for: Daytime drinking with dogs
Kick things off in the early afternoon with the freshest beers in town, and a hangover-busting cloudy cider if you need a little gentling back into the saddle. In fact, given this brewery bar shuts at seven, the earlier you get here the better your chance of securing a table with prime sausage dog patting potential.
Go here for: $10 Bloody Marys and vegan-friendliness
At this moody bar on the left bank of Newtown you can get a Bloody Mary for a tenner every night of the week. Lest you suspect you’re hallucinating, the boozy tonic will jolt you back to life with a quadruple hit of mustard, horseradish, tabasco and fresh chillies. Served in a vintage highball glass, it’s as pretty as a flapper and more fiery than you’d expect. Like 80 percent of the cocktails here, It’s also vegan.
Go here for: Swanky bar snacks
Bridging the gap between cheap Thai and a bazillion-course molecular journey at Oscillate Wildly, Bloodwood is the place where you lay down the foundations for a top-notch evening with their famous polenta chips - these guys know how to do booze-friendly snack plates. And if you score a table up on the back terrace you may never want to leave.
Go here for: Friendly rooftop drinks with Newtown locals
What we like about the folks at Corridor is that they're friendly and down to earth. They're just doing what they do and they're doing it well: long necks of Coopers pale, simple mixers (get ‘em to do you a ginger beer with rum and limes), local wines by the glass (in red and white!)... you get the picture.
Go here for: The nicest pub experience on Enmore Rd
Mud crabs are the new dining status symbol. Forget lobster – either you can afford to shell out on the fleshy crustaceans (that usually go for $140-odd dollars a kilo) or you can’t. And when a restaurant is boasting hefty little pinchers that weigh in north of three kegs your cash will disappear faster than a dirty dog on bath day. Not quite so flush? Downstairs is still an elegant and easy spot for a schooey.
Go here for: A side of arcade games with your drinks
No, 1989 is not the name of a Taylor Swift concept café (although, someone please make that happen), but a Newtown eatery dedicated to the coin-operated joys of old-school games. Unsurprisingly, the café’s soundtrack fires off plenty of plinks and beeps as players face various rounds of combat in Streetfighter II, The Simpsons, Double Dragon or Turtles.
Go here for: Trying (wine) before you buy
The adults are definitely winning the turf war in Newtown of late. Formerly scungy pubs are getting a shiny new makeover, there's a whole lot more than six-dollar Thai to be had come dinner time and the small bars are only getting more plentiful. Cittavino is part wine shop, part wine bar, which means that you can sample unusual imports from Spain, Italy, France, America and South Africa, or something from Australia's best small producers, plus find something special to take home with you for later.
Go here for: Putt putt
Sydney’s first mini golf bar opened up on the site of the former Newtown Social Club in July 2017. It’s operated by Fun-Lab, who are the same people who own Strike Bowling and Sky Zone, and the concept has already proven popular for hens and bucks parties in Brisbane and Melbourne.
More of Sydney's best bars
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.
Fancy some food instead?
There's a host of restaurants around Sydney serving up tasty food at prices that won't leave your wallet empty.