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. 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 like the atmosphere that only fans en masse creates, this is where to watch it in Sydney.
The best sports bars in Sydney
The Lady Hampshire's had some work done, but still retains the bones of the original and the feel of a neighbourhood pub. Here you'll also find major games screened on the projector out the back (cheer, cheer!) and most other big games (and even some surfing) on the screens inside. Keep a watch on the Lady Hamp's Facebook where they regularly post screen details.
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.
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.
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.
As one of the closest public bars to the SCG, this well-worn local is the next best thing to being at the game when the Swans are playing. Plus, once the full-time horn blows you can sit smugly on your bar stool while people try and cram into the pub to discuss the outcome over a schooner.
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 is pub classics and there's a paperless TAB right in the centre of the action. Plus, the bar has a slew of specials including happy hour (Mon-Fri, 5-7pm) with $5 local beers, house wine and spirits.
They love their sport so much at this Paddo/Woolahra 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.
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.
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.