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Bar at 24/7 Sports Bar

The best sports bars in Sydney

When drinking is your second favourite game, these are the places to go to indulge in both

By Time Out editors
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The year starts with cricket, and once the test commentary has faded we move on to the tennis, followed by the AFL, NRL, and Union, with some basketball, soccer and netball thrown in for good measure. And now that Australians have also developed a taste for international leagues and tournaments, we also try to follow the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and the English Premier League. This year, Aussies will also be barracking for the Wallabies as they battle their way through the Rugby World Cup. What we're trying to say is that there's a whole lot of excellent sport to be watched, and if you don't have cable, or are in search of the atmosphere that only fans en masse create, this is where to head in Sydney.

The best sports bars in Sydney

1. The Light Brigade Hotel

Bars Woollahra

They love their sport so much at this Paddo/Woollahra borderlands hotel that we’ve seen them turn every seat in the house to face the big screen like it was a cinema, and they still post the televised sport schedule online so you never miss a match, whatever your code.

2. The Oaks Hotel

Bars Neutral Bay

The recently refurbished Oaks is about to add another string to its bow with the introduction of Taffy's. Billed as the "ultimate man cave", this contemporary take on the classic sports bar isn't merely a place to watch the game. There's the biggest foosball table in NSW, arcade-style basketball hoops and air hockey, and a manly menu with a few gourmet twists: you can feed the beast with Taffy's foot-long, fully-loaded hotdogs, or fancy things up with some duck nachos. 

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3. Courthouse Hotel

Bars Pubs Newtown

When there’s a bite in the air that makes sitting in the garden a little too chilly for comfort, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon that posting up on one of the bar stools and watching the footy over a jug of beer and a Courty burger. They only have the commentary on for Swans games, but they screen most big games on the four large screens. 

4. 24/7 Sports Bar

Bars Darling Harbour

The 24/7 Sports Bar is your destination in the Star for all things sports-related. The bar features three mega screens as well as more than 50 LCD TVs (yes, 50). The menu features typical pub classics and the bar has a slew of rotating specials.

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5. The Golden Sheaf

Bars Double Bay

The big drawcard of this Double Bay establishment is the beautifully appointed leafy garden bar, which conveniently means getting a seat in the older-style public bar with a great view of the big screens is a good bet.

6. The Lord Gladstone

Bars Pubs Chippendale

The ability to squash so many Sydney scenes inside a modest space is one of this pub’s most impressive attributes. On an unremarkable Saturday night you’ve got Bondi babes, queer indie kids, footy and rugby fans, sneaker freakers, hip-hop heads and what appears to be a crew of nonchalant models all cramming into the concrete courtyard for a good time.

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Young Henrys beer
Photograph: Anna Kucera

7. Churchills Sports Bar

Bars Kingsford

Fancy a flutter? Every sporting event you can think of is available on the big screens here and they have a bistro menu that stretches from breakfast through to late night snacks so you are all sorted for game day.    

8. Public House Petersham

Bars Pubs Petersham

At this gussied up Petersham pub you'll find a huge HD projector screen and good sound, both for sport as well as film screenings. They’ve also added a whole lot more furniture so everyone can bung in together for a pub dinner; replaced the gambling facilities with a dedicated games corner (the fooshockey is still there); and strung the upstairs verandah with festoon lights so that smokers have a nice spot to sit and muse on the state of the nation. 

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9. York 75

Bars Sydney

A top notch clubhouse hidden above Bistrode CBD, which itself is stacked on top of the Hotel CBD. This is the place where your booth comes with it's own, individual TV screen. That’s right, sports fans, the power is yours. Sick of your niche interest always getting bumped in favour of the NRL? Desperate to catch some of the Netball World Cup and no one is screening it? If it’s televised, you can watch it here over beers and a Philly cheesesteak.

10. The Warren View Hotel

Bars Enmore

The big advantage of this Enmore favourite can be summed up thusly: the beer garden, which has a gate off Enmore Road. But the front rooms fill up fast on finals weekend because the TVs ringing the room mean everyone can see.

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11. North Bondi RSL

Bars Bondi North

They have one of those ludicrously large projector screens for the preferred game, plus TVs mounted around the main room of this beachfront RSL. The drinks are wallet-friendly, they do good trade in counter meals and if your team’s getting flogged you can always zone out and watch the breakers roll in over Bondi Beach instead.

12. Coogee Bay Hotel

Bars Coogee

Being by the beach is all well and good but once the sun goes down the surfboards, goggles and togs get put away and those sun-kissed bodies need a place to let off steam. And that place is the Coogee Bay Hotel, which has a dedicated sports bar if you're looking for somewhere to watch the game.

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13. The Golden Barley Hotel

Bars Marrickville

Sometimes a little nip and tuck can be good for business. We’re not talking a terrifying facelift, more a renovated bistro and a few craft beer taps to spice things up for the regulars. The public bar at the Golden Barley they’ve left well enough alone. Behind the beautiful old Art Deco façade there is still dark green carpet, comfy vinyl chairs, a Keno corner, and four big TVs for watching the game.

14. The Vic

Bars Marrickville

The bright front bar still shows footy on multiple screens, serves jugs of Carlton and holds fast to the kind of dark carpet that hides a myriad of sins. But prime real estate at the Vic is out the back on the huge, covered wooden deck with a shady tree at one end and a fire pit for the odd spit-roast lamb at the other and a big screen on one wall.

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15. The Tudor Redfern

Bars Redfern

It's been cosied up a bit, but there’s no serious refurb to get accustomed to. It’s just a little nicer, a lot cleaner and there’s a beef stroganoff on the menu. You know what we like more than Russian comfort food? Big wines. In an increasingly rare sight, the whole wine list comes in under ten bucks a glass, and they make good company when you don't want to miss any of the action on the big screen.

16. Dick's Hotel

Bars Balmain

This is a pub that’s sticking to its old-school guns. Inside you’ve got a hard-wearing, dark wooden bar, walls decked out in sports memorabilia, TVs tuned to the footy and stubby holders that you can buy on the spot. Over the massive beer garden there’s a huge domed roof protecting one half of the paved courtyard from inclement weather, and if you’ve got a faithful friend of the four-legged variety that’s AOK: dogs are welcome in the open-air section.

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17. Cheers

Bars Sydney

This sports bar with plenty of screens, is something of a Sydney institution - it proudly claims to be "Sydney's home of sport". Be ready to cheer long and loud with other sports fans who are ready to raise the roof of this CBD venue. It gets messy late here, but that's half the fun. The rest you can worry about at 2am. Or never, since it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.    

18. The Beach Road Hotel

Bars Bondi Beach

Rock up on a Saturday arvo and the front bar here is full of locals and regulars having a punt on the tote, yelling at screens showing various sporting events and downing lager. It’s a beer-drinking, sports-watching kind of place. 

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19. Surly's

Bars Darlinghurst

You might have pegged this Surry Hills bar as a spot for barbecue and American brews amongst the beautiful and beardy, but they made sure to mount two big screens behind the bar so you can get a lean on and catch every play over mac’n‘cheese and slow cooked ribs.

20. The Hotel Steyne

Bars Manly

Manly’s sprawling boozer has undergone a lot of upgrades recently, but the public bar is still a great spot to draw up around the old horse-shoe shaped bar and sink dark ales and lager while the footy is on. 

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21. Harlequin Inn

Bars Pyrmont

If the large rugby ball on top of the roof doesn't give it away, you'll realise as soon as you step inside the Harlequin Inn that it's a sports skewed pub. The four projector screens here attract big crowds for everything from big ticket boxing matches to weekly footy games, alongside American basketball and football matches throughout the day. If it's a really big game you may even see folks gathered on the footpaths peering into the large windows to catch some of the action. 

Prefer playing to watching?

Indoor sports in Sydney

Sport and fitness Tennis and racquet sports

Don't let Sydney's moody weather interrupt your fitness agenda – just head indoors. The city has a number of fun indoor activities at your carefully-curled-for-a-volleyball-pike fingertips. Here are some of the best and where you can try them.

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