The best first date bars in Sydney

Sit close, grab a drink and get to know each other
People drinking wine at Poly
Photograph: Anna Kucera
By Time Out editors |
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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 where the cocktails are excellent, the food is good and the service is outstanding. And bonus points for any extra bells and whistles, be it great viewsdrag shows, show stopping drinks or stand out locations. That way if it's a great date, you can two can always re-visit the venue fondly, and if it doesn't go so well, then at least everything else was good. 

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Cocktails at PS40
Bars, Cocktail bars

PS40

icon-location-pin Sydney

Did you also know that in addition to excellent drinks, these guys also make their own line of sodas, including a smoked lemonade that they make by putting a tray of ice cubes in the smoker at LP’s Quality Meats? This is a fun fact to impress your date with when you take them to this monochrome bar tucked down a laneway off King Street. 

2
Food at Poly
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars, Wine bars

Poly

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

This walk-in wine bar is all about interesting vinos curated by sommelier Julien Dromgool and tasty snacks by Ester's Matt Lindsay. It's as good as his five star Chippo resto, but a bit more casual, making it excellent date night territory.

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3
Interior at Bart Jr
Bars, Cocktail bars

Bart Jr

icon-location-pin Redfern

This airy Pitt Street bar will shake you up a great cocktail, and it's intimate enough to feel special, but not so fancy that it feels OTT for a first date. 

4
Owners Luke Ashton and Charlie Ainsbury behind the bar making co
Bars, Cocktail bars

This Must Be the Place

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

This Oxford Street cocktail haunt offers attentive (but never overbearing) service, interesting drinks (they're playing with an apocalyptic theme ATM), low lights and minimal noise (there's a great backing soundtrack, but it's never 'What-are-you-saying' loud). 

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5
Show at the Imperial Hotel Erksinville
Bars, Gay bars

The Imperial Hotel

icon-location-pin Erskineville

If your date's a flop you'll be more than entertained by the nightly drag show, and if it's a success the dancefloor downstairs will serve well as your next destination.

6
Food on table at Yellow
Restaurants

Yellow

icon-location-pin Potts Point

If you or your date's diet is more plant-based this Potts Point restaurant will have all your bases covered, and it has a killer wine list. 

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7
Cheese, grapes and toast at Dear Sainte Eloise
Bars, Wine bars

Dear Sainte Éloise

icon-location-pin Potts Point

There are more than half a dozen wines by-the-bottle for under $60 at this all-class European-inflected wine bar on Llankelly Place, so you can work your way through a bottle or two along with some buffalo mozzarella, slow roasted pumpkin or cured kingfish.

8
Anna-Kucera_Paramount-Bar_009_.jpg
Bars, Craft beer

Golden Age Bar

icon-location-pin Surry Hills

Order up maple pecan Old Fashioned at this subterranean bar that channels old world glamour without an air of pretentiousness. You can also check out what's screening in the cinema if you want to catch a film as well. 

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9
A close up shot of the toilet door at The Bearded Tit. A painted
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Bars

The Bearded Tit

icon-location-pin Redfern

Whether it’s the taxidermy, the caravan in the back courtyard, the gender-neutral toilets or the great weekly queer performances, there are plenty of first date ice breakers at this colourful Regent Street bar. 

10
Bartender with fire at Lobo Plantation
Bars, Cocktail bars

Lobo Plantation

icon-location-pin Sydney

Fire! Plastic dinosaurs! Rum! All these drawcards make this bar a novel spot for a first date. The couches are comfy, the interiors are spiffy and many of the cocktails are a spectacle in their own right. 

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11
Anna_Kucera_Continental_Deli_027.jpg
Restaurants

Continental Deli Bar Bistro

icon-location-pin Newtown

If you take someone here for an afternoon of old-fashioned cocktails, soft cheese and freshly sliced charcuterie and they’re not into it, that person probably isn’t for you.

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Courtyard at Lansdowne Hotel
Bars, Pubs

The Lansdowne Hotel

icon-location-pin Chippendale

Keep things real casual at this ol' Chippo boozer. There's deep dish pizzas and plenty of beer on tap to aid your first date nerves, and things kick over into dancefloor mode later on if you feel like a sneaky DF smooch. 

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13
Henry-Deane--interior-sea-view.jpg
Bars

Henry Deane

icon-location-pin Millers Point

There’s no denying we live in a really ridiculously good looking city, and this glass-boxed rooftop bar makes the most of our good looks with 360-degree views of the harbour. It's also indoor and outdoor, so even if the weather's average, you can still take in the views.

14
Bowls of pasta with wine at Ode Bar
Photograph: Saskia Wilson
Bars, Wine bars

Ode Bar

icon-location-pin Bondi

Bondi has a bunch of great restaurants and average backpacker bars, but not many wine bars. Ode is the remedy to this problem, offering up natural wines and generous plates of pasta in an intimate setting.

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15
Rooftop dining at East Village
Bars, Pubs

East Village Hotel

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

We don’t need to tell you how much Sydney loves a rooftop bar, so impress your date at the top floor addition to the East Village Hotel (previously the Darlo Village), which is an A-grade, lofty drinking perch. 

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Outside courtyard at Since I Left You
Photograph: Supplied
Bars, Cocktail bars

Since I Left You

icon-location-pin Sydney

We don’t know about you, but we like a little retro-romance on date night, which is exactly why we’re into the idea of sharing a fancy toastie on a candle-lit table out in the enclosed laneway of this inner city bar.

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17
Interior of the dining room at Big Poppa's
Photograph: Supplied
Restaurants, Italian

Big Poppa's

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst

It’s really hard to take things too seriously if your drink is blue, or full of crème de menthe, or packed with purple liquorice and shaded by a tiny umbrella. That’s the beauty of a drink at Big Poppa’s; they have the skills to master the classics and then get a bit silly with the drinks list.

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at Gallon
Bars, Wine bars

Gallon

icon-location-pin Pyrmont

This Pyrmont wine bar has hosted plenty of first dates within in its sandstone walls. It's a stone's throw from the city, but doesn't have the crowds most city bars have, making it a good option for your first date.

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19
Cocktails at Shorties Lane Cove
Bars, Cocktail bars

Shorties Bar and Dining

icon-location-pin Lane Cove

Feel like heading somewhere a little more local for your first date? This low-key bar is located in the leafy Lane Cove, and makes for an ideal first date spot for anyone living on the Lower North Shore. 

20
People sitting on the balcony overlooking the water and sunset
Bars, Pubs

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

icon-location-pin Watsons Bay

They say half the adventure is getting there, so put that saying to the test and catch a ferry to this sun drenched harbourside pub as a warm-up for your drinks and dinner date. 

Need a new date?

Emma Daniels from Dear Pluto at Cake Wines
Photograph: Daniel Boud
Sex and dating, Speed dating

Meet Sydney’s matchmakers

These modern-day cupids are doing things the old-fashioned way – face-to-face! We've profiled the best matchmakers in Sydney to find out how they got started, their biggest success stories and what they think of online dating. Plus, we've got a list of upcoming speed dating nights and our top picks for first date bars. 

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