When the sun goes down, Sydney bars come to life. Aussies sure love to drink and this city has earned a reputation for its vibrant nightlife and thriving bar scene. The city offers plenty of options for travelers who are looking to knock back a few glasses (or eight – we’re not judging) after a long day of exploring and sightseeing. There are places to go when you want to be seen, to hide, to listen to good music, to hang out with creative people, or simply to just indulge in a well-curated menu of drinks.
Is the thirst real? Here are Mad Monkey‘s top recommendations for the best Sydney bars to try. You can thank us later but we suggest you check your liver first if you plan to go through our entire list.
Coogee Bar With a View: Coogee Pavilion Rooftop
Located in the heart of Coogee Beach, this adults-only bar offers the best views of Sydney’s eastern beaches. It’s located on the second floor of Coogee Pavilion and it has four indoor and outdoor bars so you can get a drink as easy and as quick as you say, “Cheers!” Visit in the late afternoon after a hot day in the sea and stay for the night. You won’t be disappointed with their list of cocktails, wines, and beers.
Coogee Backpacker Bar: FNKY MNKY
FNKY MNKY bar at Mad Monkey Hostel is Coogee Beach’s newest bar, restaurant, and co-working space! Hosting regular events such as trivia nights and live music, FNKY MNKY is an ideal place to meet locals and travelers alike! Check out the beautiful ocean views or stop by for a cold one after a day of sunbathing — they’re just steps from the sand! Try the MNKY LAGER, play a game of foosball, or grab a cheap beer during Salsa Night! To keep up with events and promotions, follow them on Facebook.
Location: 186 Arden St, Coogee NSW 2034, Australia
Contact: +61 2 9315 7888 | Website
Hours: Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. — open for lunch Tuesday to Sunday, open for dinner every night!
Bar for Every Type of Traveler: Coogee Bay Hotel
Depending on your mood for the night, you’ve got plenty of places to choose from when you’re in Coogee Bay Hotel. For a relaxed drinking scene with a beachside setting, you can stay at the Beach Bar. Try the Garden if you want to enjoy your drink in a beautiful outdoor venue. For sports enthusiasts and big groups, there’s the Sports Bar and for those who prefer a more intimate and cozy atmosphere, the Arden Lounge is perfect.
Darlinghurst Bar for Beer Lovers: Bitter Phew
Smacked in the middle of the bustling party scene of Oxford Street, the Bitter Phew offers a sanctuary to those who want to escape the crowds and noise. With 12 taps in the rotation, this bar knows its craft beers and they know it well. But non-beer drinkers, have no fear. They also have a wide selection of wines, cocktails, whiskeys, bourbons and other drinks for you to indulge on.
Location: 1/137 Oxford St., Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: [email protected] | Website
Hours: Monday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tuesday to Thursday from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday, and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Darlinghurst Speakeasy Bar: Shady Pines Saloon
Welcome to Sydney’s very own wild, wild west! But first, you have to find it. This bar is hidden behind a nondescript door with no signs at all – looking for it is part of the excitement. Once you’re inside, you will be welcomed by taxidermied deer, buffalo and long-horn steer on the walls and rewarded with an extensive list of drinks. The bartenders are so good that they can make drinks you never even knew existed.
Location: 4/256 Crown St., Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia
Contact: +61 405 624 944 |Website
Hours: Daily from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Eau de Vie
Its name means “water of life” and yes, you’ll definitely find it here. The well-trained and knowledgeable bartenders have poured all their efforts into perfecting every cocktail they serve. If you’re feeling not quite yourself, their cocktail drinks will no doubt bring you back to life. But of course, only if you find this hidden bar. Here’s a tip: find the Kirketon Hotel, walk past the bar and the bathrooms and look for the Exit-marked door.
Sydney CBD Bar for Gin Lovers: The Barber Shop
For the men, have you ever considered getting a haircut and a shave with your drink? Yes, it’s possible when you go to this place. And women, don’t walk out just yet. Well-groomed men mixed with awesome cocktails? This place is a goldmine so go ahead and sashay your way to that door at the back of the barbershop. This bar lets you enjoy gin any way you want. They’ve got over 80 kinds of gin to choose from so it’s not difficult to find a drink you’ll love here.
Sydney CBD Speakeasy Bar: Baxter Inn
Known as Shady Pines Saloon’s little brother, the Baxter Inn is full of character and has its own charm. It’s hidden in the building basement at the back of an alleyway in Clarence street. It’s definitely not easy to find but just follow your nose and let it bring you to the delicious smell of whiskey. After all, Baxter Inn has around 800 bottles of it. The well-coiffed bartenders use scrolling library ladders to find the perfect one for your drink.
Sydney CBD Best Atmosphere Bar: Grandma’s Bar
Hidden in the basement underneath a guitar shop, this isn’t your nana’s go-to spot for drinks with her friends. It is a place you run to if you’re looking for tropical-inspired cocktails. The bar might not be surrounded by coconut trees and the beach, but it has rum and tiki drinks and honestly, it’s all you need to have a good time. Prepare to stand the entire night because this one gets packed!
Sydney CBD Retro Bar: Spooning Goats
It’s called the S.G. now (some thought its name to be inappropriate) but it’s popularly known to the locals as Spooning Goats. This retro-themed bar has unique wall designs and mismatched furniture to lounge on. They also have arcade games and an Atari 2600 for the gamers to binge on. But you’re here for the drinks so try their wide selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. The S.G. is best suited to those looking for pre-game drinks!
Sydney CBD Best Live Music Bar: Since I Left You
Its name came from the song by The Avalanches. This bar is popular with the after-work crowd but also draws the tourists. It has an open courtyard decorated with twinkling fairy lights and is the perfect venue for their regular live music performances. They have a good list of cocktails and if you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you are in for a treat. If you want to try a unique drink, try their Japanese whiskey with plum wine and cognac, called “A Single Plum, Floating in Perfume, Served in a Man’s Hat”.
Location: 338 Kent St., Sydney, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: +61 2 9262 4986 | Facebook
Hours: Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Closed on Sundays)
Sydney CBD Absinthe Bar: Papa Gede’s
Tucked away at the end of a laneway in the middle of CBD, this voodoo-themed bar is trying to overcome absinthe’s terrible reputation and put it under a new light. They have good quality absinthes available including Swiss Duplais and Australian Moulin Rooz and if you think you’re up for the challenge, we encourage you to try one. They also have a selection of wines, beers, and other cocktails if you’re not trying to see green fairies tonight ;).
Surry Hills Speakeasy Bar: Soda Factory
Follow the bright lights of Bobby Boss Dogs, look for the (fake) Coke machine, pull the handle and find your way to Soda Factory. Music and cocktails are the names of the game here. They’ve got live bands and performers to complement your fun drinks such as boozy root beer floats, soda siphons to share with friends, and chocolate-inspired martinis.
Location: 16 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: +61 2 8096 9120 | Website
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday from 6 pm.m to 3 a.m. (Closed on Sundays)
Redfern Artsy Bar: The Bearded Tit
The sign “free love, not free beer” coupled with knitted phalluses will greet you at the door. And if that doesn’t make you wanna go in, I don’t know what will. The bar is filled with art (but not the type you want to give your family) and creative people who love a good drink. For the thirsty, they make a mean Bloody Mary. For the hungry, nearby restaurants deliver straight to the bar.
Location: 183 Regent St., Redfern, Sydney, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: +61 2 8283 4082 | Website
Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Closed on Mondays)
Redfern Urban Bar: Cornerstone Bar & Food
Converted from an old railyard to a bar, Cornerstone has kept its industrial and urban feel. More than a bar but a “drinking experience”, Cornerstone’s vaulted ceilings, hanging garden and welcoming vibe create an ideal atmosphere for a casual night out with friends. The menu offers delicious meals all day at affordable prices and the bar serves locally crafted beer, international and local wines, specialty cocktails and punch jugs. The weekend brunch until 3 p.m. is a local favorite and if you’re feeling playful, come check out the games room for a round of pool or ping pong.
Location:245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: +61 2 8571 9004 | Facebook
Hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to late, Saturday from 9 a.m. to late
Newtown Cocktail Bar: Earl’s Juke Joint
A bar masked behind a butcher shop—Earl’s Juke Joint is not your typical watering hole. It’s a piece of New Orleans in the heart of Sydney’s very own hipster town, Newtown. They have a variety of beers and wines on the menu but if you want to know what this bar is all about, go straight to the cocktails. Try one (or all) of these deliciously crafted drinks by their bartenders: Espresso Diabolique (bourbon and espresso), The Phife Dawg (rum, lime, cane juice and bitters) and The Hobo Julep (bourbon, sugar and mint bitters).
Bondi Beach Tapas & Seafood Bar: The Anchor
A nautical-themed margarita bar, the Anchor is definitely a smokin’ hotspot in South Bondi. It’s usually filled with tan-skinned and salty-haired locals and tourists who are looking to have a good time. They’ve got tapas and seafood fare to draw you in but the drinks are what will make your stay. Do not leave without trying their Tommy’s Margarita or their wide selection of beers from Mexico, Jamaica, US, and Japan.
Location: 8 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia – VIEW MAP
Contact: +61 2 8084 3145
Hours: 5:00PM to 1:00AM (Closed on Mondays)
Sydney Bars Map
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More Articles About Sydney Bars:
Need an even longer list of bars to get your fill of delicious libations? Check out these other articles about the most unique bars in Sydney. Whether you want to grab a drink at a Chinese retro bar or a place resembling a Wes Anderson film, there are heaps to choose from in Sydney!
- Guide to Sydney Nightlife at the Beach
- The Best Bars & Pubs in Sydney for Live Music from TimeOut
- The Best Rooftop Bars in Sydney from Vogue
- Sydney’s Best CBD Bars by Jessica Best from The Urban List
- The Coolest Sydney Bars You Have to Try This Year by Kate Venman from D’Marge
- Sydney’s Best Themed Bars by Alexandra Hampton from The Urban List
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Featured image © Courtesy of Since I Left You