7 Of The Best Hidden Bars In Sydney

The Barber Shop Sydney secret bar
Photo: @thisisthebarbershop

Who doesn’t love a hidden bar? The idea of walking down a sketchy lane or staircase, to find a bustling, dim-lit bar behind a brick wall or wooden door, filled with diners and drinkers indulging covertly in martinis and gimlets. 

To celebrate the roaring twenties, we’re taking it back to 1920 when booze was prohibited, and secret knocks and passcodes led to gin joints. Only, Sydney’s hidden bars don’t need passcodes, they just take some savvy navigation to find some of them. 

Old Mate's Place rooftop bar
Photo: @oldmatesplace

Old Mate’s Place

Set within a run-down office building, is Old Mate’s Place, a bustling bar, with an upstairs oasis of palm trees and tiki cocktails. To get here, you have to climb four flights of stairs, but when you get to a wooden door, just knock. Inside, you will find a warm, inviting bar to enjoy butter fat washed whiskey, roasted walnut old-fashioned, or other classic cocktails with a twist. They also serve a small menu of bites, such as deli meats, cheese and charcuterie, and cheesesteaks.

The Lobo Sydney underground bar
Photo: @thelobo_syd

The Lobo

This underground bar on Clarence Street is all about rum, so expect a rum flight, a rum punch, and a collection of over 250 rums from Antigua to Tobago. The Lobo is a great place to bunker down as the weather gets cooler. Enjoy a small selection of eats, including empanadas and the chef-recommended Cuban sandwich, which is filled with slow-roasted pork, triple smoked ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and Dijon mustard on ciabatta bread. The atmosphere is a slice of old Cuba. Expect deep reds and greens, dark woods, and leather, lots of leather seating.

prince of york hidden sydney bar
Photo: @_princeofyork

Prince Of York

This hidden bar is housed in an old Sydney bank. Upstairs, you enter via a restaurant, but downstairs, you will find a velvet destination, where dancing on tables is encouraged, and tequila is bought by the bottle. There is a vault that stores limited release wines, but you can also savour a sip in the downstairs bar accompanied by sophisticated takes on pub grub, including a cheese toastie with bone marrow, lamb ragu pasta bake, and 800g rib eye steaks. Downstairs in Pamela’s, dance to live DJ’s from Thursdays to Saturdays ‘til late. 

The Barber Shop Sydney secret bar
Photo: @thisisthebarbershop

The Barber Shop

It doesn’t get any more nostalgic than a barbershop. Here, at The Barber Shop, revel in a bygone era, where taverns were called parlours, and murky lighting was a necessity. Enter via a functioning barbershop on York Street, to find a tavern housing over 700 gins and slinging world-class cocktails in a simple setting. If you’re peckish, they have a small selection of share plates including duck sausage rolls, truffled 3 cheese toastie, cheeseburger, and meat and cheese board to pair with their international wine list. 

the baxter inn sydney hidden bar

The Baxter Inn

For most Sydneysiders, The Baxter Inn is as old school as it gets. When you walk in, good-looking fellas pour the whiskey behind a fairy light lit bar. With over 1,000 whiskeys to choose from, they boast the biggest collection of single malt in Australia. The basement-level bar is a great place to hide from the city bustle for a few hours after work. The decor is old school, think low ceilings, brick walls, dark woods, and soft carpet. The bartenders can whip up pretty much anything you ask for, although you would be a miss to leave without trying a dram of whisky or two.

Bulletin Place Sydney hidden bar
Photo: @bulletinplacesydney

Bulletin Place

This long-standing cocktail bar is best known for slinging crafted cocktails in the historic laneway, Bulletin Place. The small bar, hidden near the harbour has stood the test of time and is still to this day a popular watering hole. Cocktails of the day are written down on butcher’s paper behind the bar, and there are only five kinds of cocktails a night. For wine lovers, expect a range of local tipples and award-winning bottles.

Shaffa Sydney hidden bar
Photo: @shaffasydney


Venture down a narrow alleyway between a 120-year old church to find this slice of Tel Aviv culture. While their food is definitely worth a try, if you keep walking, you will find a bar enclosed in a brick cave, channelling a middle eastern aesthetic. On the menu, find cocktails like you would in the motherland, including Layla Lavan, which uses arak, macadamia liquor, coconut milk, and coconut and halva cream. Other intriguing cocktails include the Levantine Sour, a gin and pear juice drink with tonka bean syrup, and the Dafna, with vermouth, fino, sage, and pomegranate seeds.

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