The Best Bars To Grab A Drink In Sydney Right Now

Less than a decade ago, Sydney’s bar scene was sorely lacking the hidden haunts that other cities like New York are known for. Now, thanks to a boom in the booze industrySydney is filled with underground whisky clubs, decadent 1920s themed bars and the classy joints you would take your mum to. The best part of Sydney’s bar scene, however, is the people behind the bar, serving, mixing, and shaking the drinks. They’re always up for a chat or have wild anecdotes to share. For the best company and the best concoctions, here are Sydney’s best bars. 

Bartenders pouring cocktail
Photo Courtesy of Maybe Sammy

Maybe Sammy

The Rocks
The Rat Pack era influence at Maybe Sammy continues to waft out a cocktail list paying tribute to Sammy Davis Junior’s 1977 performance at the Sydney Opera House. So, if you’re wondering what effect porcini mushroom distillate perfume will have on your cocktail quaffing, whether red bell pepper juice and palo santo are both necessary in a twist on a margarita or if mini cocktails can get any more fun (they can), then a visit to this bar should be on top of your list. It is also the first Australian bar to crack the World’s 50 Best Bars list. 

best bars sydney
Photo: @frank.macs

Frank Mac’s

The Rocks
This little gin bar is home to Sydney’s largest botanical collections. The 80+ juniper blends have been sourced from all corners of the globe and will sit alongside a wine list of old and new world wines.  The cocktail, gin and wine list are the results of a collaborative effort, led by the venue’s Beverage Manager, Daniel Strahan and General Manager, Alex Rogerson. The original sandstone walls of Frank Mac’s will become home to the 120 person capacity bar which flows from outdoor seating on George Street, across two levels and into a back courtyard. The downstairs space feels cosy and intimate, dotted with vintage leather banquettes, lounges, low tables and a fireplace.

best bars sydney
Photo: @tinyssandwichbar

Tiny’s Sandwich Bar

Named for its signature Tiny bottled cocktails, Tiny’s is big on the things that count including cocktail craft, a mouth-watering menu, style-saturated surroundings and a party vibe that doesn’t quit. And with a bartender, barista, baker, chef and in-house DJ bringing their collective A-game to this indoors and outdoors 170-seater space, Tiny’s capacity for fun is anything but small. By day, as Tiny’s Sandwich Bar, the venue greets the dawn with Single O coffees, fresh juices and produce-packed breakfasts, then a signature sandwich menu that elevates the humble sanga to a lunchtime legend. At dusk, the lights come up on a fabulous feature wall of drinks miniatures, and the neon sign says it all: save water, drink cocktails. After work, it’s Tiny’s time.

best bars sydney
Photo: @cheersknird


Crows Nest
This wine bar brings true European-style drop-in drinking and dining to Sydney’s North Shore. Hidden in a laneway, Knird is a local haunt, offering everything from a three-course meal to a classic martini. Expect Appellation Sydney rock oysters, burrata caponata, pork and fennel meatballs drowned in sauce, and the signature yeasted pommes anna (potatoes on steroids) is a must. As for the drinks, there is a global wine list with tipples from Spain to Australia. Sink into the charm of terrazzo floors and Norwegian marble bar top, for an all-round chic bar experience.

best bars sydney
Photo: @loopcreative

Bar 83 at Sydney Tower

Sitting 83 floors above street level is a futuristic retro bar, clad in red and white circular lounges, striking mirrors, gold lights, and floor-to-ceiling windows with commanding city views. This bar looks like it was pulled from an episode of The Jetsons, and the cocktails are bolder than the interior. Expect concoctions from award-winning bartender Jenna Hemsworth—a Hubert alum—and classic bar bites from fried buttermilk chicken ribs to ocean trout tartare. 

Bar and chairs
Photo Courtesy of Sella Vinoteca

Sella Vinoteca

So, this isn’t your typical bar, but it does have over 350 bottles of international wine and a Mediterranean vibe to make you forget how far away Italy is. The light-filled Bistro in Randwick only popped up late last year and is being praised for its fresh perspective. While the wines are the main event, the food is definitely worth a try, especially as a pair to a glass of wine. What sets this bar apart is the bottle shop concept, meaning you can take home the blend you had with your meal. 

best bars sydney
Photo: @operabarsydney

Opera Bar

Circular Quay
No best bar list is complete without at least mentioning Opera Bar—Sydney’s most iconic bar (nay Australia’s). The bar sits under the Opera House and has direct views of the Harbour Bridge which makes it a tourist must-do, although, during summer, the bar is packed with locals. The cocktail list is extensive with everything from spritzes to the Spring Sangria, which is made for sharing. The wine list shows off Australia’s top bottles and has a special spot for local producers. 

Photo: @marysunderground

Mary’s Underground

Mary’s Underground is a classic late-night, let your hair down go-to Sydney bar. With locations in Newtown and Circular Quay, it’s quite easy to wound up munching on a burger and telling your life story to a bartender here—which is what the brand is all about. Enjoy the live bands, slam shots, or sip on wines and cocktails with friends. Mary’s Underground is the kind of place you go to welcome disruption. 

Cocktails on table
Photo Courtesy of Archie Rose

Archie Rose Distilling Co

In 2014, Archie Rose Distilling Co introduced a distillery to Sydney, which hadn’t had one since the 1850s. Today, it’s an operating distillery and a bar, where many Sydneysiders love to get an Archie Rose fix. As you can imagine, the menu is full of the brand’s signature serves including Archie Roses’ gin and tonic. The bar itself has an industrial vibe, with copper, wood, steel, and concrete creating a striking space to savour the spirits. Tours and masterclasses take place at the nearby distillery. 

Scotch egg and whisky flight
Photo Courtesy of The Duke of Clarence

The Duke of Clarence

Stumble down a dark alleyway to find this 18th-century inspired London tavern, The Duke of Clarence. Fun fact, the old books lining the shelves and most of the furnishings are from film sets. Their drinks are serious and come with a side of a chat. You can’t go past the Irish coffee, but also the spritz and Vauxhall garden cocktails are thirst quenchers. If you’re there for a drink, don’t be surprised if the food menu sucks you in. Think scotch eggs, fish and chips, pies, and roast Sundays. 

bar interior
Photo Courtesy Of The Swinging Cat

The Swinging Cat

This small underground bar channels the culture, soul, and magic of New Orleans with gas-lit street lamps and a velvet-lined entry. The drinks are inspired by famous drinkers from Hemingway to Buddy Bolden. The Sezerac is a signature tipple and done in two ways: the traditional five parts cognac to one part absinthe, or the new angle, which will leave you to find out. Other standouts include the Hurricane, The Smoked Honey, and the New Orleans native, Vieux Carre. The price range is reasonable, at just under $20 a cocktail. 

People toasting with wine
Photo Courtesy of Babylon


Pitt Street Mall
For a summer rooftop vibe, you can’t go past Babylon, which also happens to be one of Sydney’s largest outdoor rooftop terraces. Here, you’ll find a Levantine-inspired venue, with a restaurant, bar, and private dining space, but the bar is the place to be. The cocktail list takes its cues from flavours and spices of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, plus there’s a whisky list (250+) and more than 400 bottles of international and Australian spirits. The 300 bottles strong wine list is a mix of old and new world wines. It’s an educational experience, but one followed by good times. 

bar stools and counter
Photo by Anson Smart

Four Pillars Lab

Surry Hills
Iconic gin brand, Four Pillars opened a lab steps away from its gin shop and distillery in Surry Hills. The destination cocktail bar is accessed via a discreet door that opens to a slightly dim-lit room, with a juniper blue 20-stool concrete bar taking centre stage. The moody vibe goes hand in hand with such a classy spirit such as gin. The menu showcases the entire range with classics such as a G&T or gin fizz and some inventive concoctions. During summer you can pick up a paddle for $16, which includes a flight of gin, and a bottle of quality tonic. 

Underground bar
Photo Courtesy of Palmer and Co

Palmer and Co

Every city has a handful of good prohibition bars. Our city goes to Palmer & Co,  an underground bar celebrating the time booze was banned, yet free-flowing behind closed doors. While it checks all the boxes of a secret bar, exposed brick walls, intimate golden lighting and heavy timber surfaces—it’s the menu that sets this bar apart. The Signatures are always a good choice as are the classic and modern classic options, but it’s the lost and forgotten section most can’t get past. The Lucien Gaudin with Beefeater gin and Stone Fence with Chivas Regal XV is the type of drinks you want to find but don’t know where to look. 

Bar surounded by plants
Photo Courtesy of Old Mate’s Place

Old Mate’s Place

This bar is certainly one-of-a-kind. Firstly, it’s set within a run-down office building, secondly, it’s hard to find and once you do find it, four flights of narrow stairs await. Although, once you get to the top there is always a drink waiting for you. The menu is ever-changing, but right now you can get a Bakers Dozen, which is butterfat washed whiskey, roasted walnut, and croissants with bitters, garnished with a housemade mini croissant. 

Bar counter and bottles
Photo by Nikki To

Bar Totti’s

In early 2019, Bondi met Totti’s, a casual Italian eatery from the Merivale hospitality giant. Its success was instant, which led to the opening of Bar Totti’s—its boozy sister. You can expect the same great Italian-retro dishes but with a seasonal cocktail list and plenty of wine options. Sip on summer favourites including a negroni or one of the many refreshing spritzes on offer. The bar is open until 2 am most nights and sometimes there’s a live DJ entertaining, which makes it more than just an after-work drink destination. 

wine glass
Photo By Nikki To


Fabbrica is a lot of things: a pasta shop, a deli, a panini joint, and a wine shop. This isn’t surprising given Fabbrica translates to ‘the factory’ in Italian. Everything here is either made on-premise or imported, including the 70 odd wines from Italy on the menu. Here, diners love to sip on a glass of Italian red with an antipasti spread close by while they watch chefs breaking down whole lambs, rolling pasta, and pumping out espresso. 

Three Bottle Man

Here, everything comes in threes: three vodkas, gins, rums, and more. This is an ode to the origin of its name which stems from 18th Century British Prime Minister, William Pitt, who apparently carried three bottles of different liquors with him. They exclusively stock Australian products, from wine to cheese, but it’s hard to tell what will be on the menu, given it’s always changing. In the early hours of the morning, bleary-eyed workers line up for coffee and small bites but at knock-off time, the bar is full of workers, looking to unload with a glass of wine. Did we mention the bar is in a laneway?

bar storefront
Photo By Nikki To

Cantina OK

Tequila lovers, assemble. Cantina OK is a micro mezcal mecca hidden in a back alley on Clarence St, but is easy to see from the street. The pink brick wall stands out, but it’s the crowd that truly gives the location away. The tiny bar is the kind of place you would find in Mexico: unassuming with quality spirits. Here, shelves are stocked with imported handmade agave spirits, which are used to make their world-famous margaritas with shaved ice and hand-pressed limes. If you don’t know much about mezcal, the bearded bartenders have recommendations. 

Bartender with cocktail
Photo by Nikki To

Little Felix

Little Felix takes you back to 1920s Paris where you were likely to run into Zelda and F.Scott Fitzgerald sipping on champagne in crystal coupes. Tucked alongside its predecessor Felix Restaurant, this moody bar has a cocktail list inspired by 20th Century Parisian hotels, using mainly top-shelf spirits and classic French flavours. The food menu is also heavily French, with a range of cheeses, hors d’ oeuvres, and charcuterie to pair with any beverage. 

best bars sydney
Photo: @kittyhawk_syd


This high-volume cocktail bar pays homage to the liberation of Paris in 1944. You will see military paraphernalia around the space, including a picture of KittyHawk, a military aircraft from which the bar got its name. As for the drinks, rum and rye take command at the bar, which has a 16-drink cocktail list. If cocktails aren’t your forte, the wine list–30 reds and 30 whites–features drops from Australian producers to French finds. There is also a menu of Parisian street food to soak up the alcohol. 

Photo: @therooseveltpottspoint

The Roosevelt

Potts Point
In 1943, The Roosevelt was frequented by American soldiers taking out their Australian girlfriends and in 1947 it was a nightclub that earned Abe Saffron the title “The King of The Cross.” Here the glamour of New York and Vegas thrived during a time where booze was prohibited. Nonetheless, they got creative. It shut down in 1951 after the Royal Commission discovered it was serving alcohol, but opened up again in 2012 and has since been slinging an extensive cocktail menu to locals in Potts Point and visitors from all around.

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