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The 25 Best Bars in Sydney Right Now

Whether you're on the hunt for an extensive mezcal collection, an intimate date-night spot or the best bar snacks around, these are our picks for the best bars in Sydney.
By Andrew Zuccala and Ben Hansen
February 28, 2024
By Andrew Zuccala and Ben Hansen
February 28, 2024


Whether you're on the hunt for an extensive mezcal collection, an intimate date-night spot or the best bar snacks around, these are our picks for the best bars in Sydney.

Curating a list of the 25 best bars in Sydney is no easy feat. This city is full of outstanding places to drink, whether they're up on a rooftop, by the water or hidden in a basement down some long-forgotten alley.

But location is just one part of an extensive set of criteria used to create this definitive list. We've spent years drinking around town to find the tastiest and most creative drinks, the best bartenders and servers, places with the friendliest atmosphere and menus that go above and beyond at just about any price point. Great accompanying food doesn't hurt, either.

Read on to see if some of your favourite watering holes have made the list of the best bars in Sydney and, perhaps, discover a few places you haven't tried yet.


Recommended reads:
The Best Wine Bars in Sydney
The Best Pubs in Sydney
The Best Restaurants in Sydney
The Best Underground Bars in Sydney
The Best Bars in Sydney's CBD

  • 25
    Enmore Country Club - one of the best bars in Sydney.

    Taking over Cottonmouth Records’ former digs at 182 Enmore Road, this 70-seat venue arrived in early 2023 with Dan McBride and Dynn Szmulewicz at the helm. You may have had a wine or cocktail at one of McBride and Szmukewicz’s other beloved Sydney venues, like Redfern’s The Sunshine Inn and The Little Guy in Glebe, but this one takes the cake.

    Here, at one of Sydney’s best bars, you’ll find plenty of natural wines, a seasonal cocktail list printed on the country club’s coasters and a selection of local beers. Enjoy a spiked cherry cola or a DOOM JUICE-infused Aperol spritz alongside the old-school 70s vibes and the fun and friendly service from Tuesday to Sunday.

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  • 24
    A man pouring Champagne on a tower of champagne glasses at Nick and Nora's - one of the best bars in Sydney - paramatta

    Pulling inspiration from Dashiell Hammett’s novel The Thin Man and its fictional sleuthing duo Nick and Nora Charles, this sophisticated Sydney rooftop bar is an homage to the roaring 20s and the legendary parties thrown by these characters. Among the top features at one of the best bars in Sydney: an opulent fitout, lavish art deco touches and a whole lot of champagne — in fact, there are over 50 champagnes from the world’s most celebrated houses.

    The cocktail offering is also as tight as you’d expect, with a 30-strong list featuring multiple variations of martinis, sours and Champagne-infused sips. Plus, there’s more delicious mischief in store thanks to the bar’s five liquid nitrogen stations. Bring on the theatrics. Round out all this opulence by ordering top-quality oysters and caviar to the table, too. This is clearly a Sydney bar you go to for special occasions.

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  • 23
    woman ordering a drink while bartenders work at old mate's place - one of the best bars in Sydney CBD

    This hidden rooftop is one of Sydney’s best bars for a few reasons. First off, the lush palm-lined outdoor deck is perfect for those seeking a sun-soaked retreat in the city. Alternatively, head back inside to find a series of timber-lined rooms that serve opulent library realness.

    Then you’ve got the impressive drinks lists where cocktails reign supreme. Expect a menu that’s broad and oft-changing, spreading plenty of love across a 300-strong back bar selection. Good food isn’t far off either. We’re regularly hit with bouts of craving for Old Mate’s Place’s Philly cheesesteak. And, any rum lovers should head downstairs and discover the even more secretive Old Love’s down in the basement.

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  • 22
    people drinking at night at the Bearded Tit - one of the best bars in Sydney

    You’d be an absolute fool to pass on Redfern’s The Bearded Tit. Named after a moustachioed song-bird, this is a place where colourful characters flock. The Bearded Tit sits on the quiet side of Regent Street, surrounded by residential buildings, office spaces and convenience stores, as well as a couple of killer cafes and bakeries. That is, until you reach 183. Inside, it’s a museum of oddities, where the weird and wonderful or just plain great come together in a circus of colour and activity.

    Each night at The Bearded Tit offers something unique, with a revolving program of music and arts, but it’s also a quality spot for a relaxed drink in the courtyard. Despite the colourful energy of the bar, the drinks list is fairly simple. You’ll find a short selection of time-honoured classics and a few signature cocktails as well as some decent beers and wines. Oh, and the $12 hotdogs are a real treat, too.

    Image: Katje Ford

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  • 21
    a chef serving food at Una MAs - one of the best bars in Sydney

    At home on the middle floor of Coogee Pavilion, Una Más is the lively, playful sibling to fine diner Mimi’s. While the latter pairs crisp white linen with bumps of caviar and frozen vodka, the former is all about wine and tapas. Fresh, fun and vibing off its coastal location, Una Más offers a menu of small dishes spiked with both Spanish and Australian flavours by Executive Chef Jordan Toft (Bert’sBar Topa).

    Drinks are given just as much love, too. You’ll find a series of classic cocktails, white and red sangrias, sherry, vermouth, amaro and beer on offer, alongside a wine list that’s both fun and affordable. It’s also ideal for the late-night munchies on Fridays and Saturdays when the 50-seater drinking and dining haunt is open until late. Forgo the end-of-the-night kebab, subbing in a few tapas dishes and a glass of vermouth at this beloved Sydney bar instead.

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  • 20
    two people drinking at the bar while bartdnders make drinks at Apollonia - one of the best bars in Sydney

    Tucked down in the basement of the four-storey Hinchcliff House is Apollonia, a cocktail bar made for those seeking negronis and romance. The dimly lit bar is named after a character from The Godfather and looks to embody the stricken nature of Apollonia and protagonist Michael in the famous film. It’s a very, very good mood. And we are all for it.

    Try one of its beloved negronis or go for some of its own unique creations. The bar recently gave its cocktail list a makeover and added some adventurous creations including a limoncello and biscotti combo, the Tiramisu Milk Punch and bourbon negroni (or Brioni, as Appaloni calls it). Each and every one of these drinks is that extra bit special. Apollonia was always going to make this list of the best bars in Sydney.

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  • 19
    The whisky bar at the baxter's inn - one of the best bars in Sydney

    Sydney’s original speakeasy basement bar. The Baxter Inn is somewhat of a magnet for international accolades — most notably making the World’s 50 Best Bars list several times since its opening in 2012. Much of this comes down to its almighty whisk(e)y menu that boasts almost 800 different kinds of the tipple. Any true whisk(e)y lover will fawn over the large cascading wall of backlit bottles which the barmen scale throughout the evening.

    But you don’t have to have the whisky straight. The team have curated a list of cocktails for those who want something a little different, making some of Sydney’s best old fashioneds and whisky sours alongside their own original creations. And, while you’re having a few drinks, be sure to light up your palette with the free, salty pretzels on offer.

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  • 18
    best wine bars in Sydney - where's nick

    Where’s Nick blazed a trail in Sydney as one of the original champions of natural and minimal-intervention wines. While pét-nats and orange wines are all the range these days, this Marrickville spot has been spotlighting them for years. It’s a great place for natty lovers and those new to funkier vino alike. After all, the bar is run by award-winning sommelier Bridget Raffal (formerly at Sixpenny). You can trust these folks to lead you in the right direction.

    You can also treat yourself to a tasty snack with Head Chef Leila Khazma specialising in homely Mediterranean flavours. And, if you prefer to buy a few bottles to take home, be sure to head next door to Goblin Wine Shop. The boutique wine cellar sells much of the same vinos alongside craft beers and locally made spirits.

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  • 17

    Head through a 1920s-style fridge door and wind down a spiral staircase in order to find Manly’s best secret bar, an underground drink den named The Cumberland. While the novelty of the hidden speakeasy is a big drawcard for The Cumberland, the welcoming atmosphere and top-notch drinks list are what keep people coming back.

    You’ll find more than 250 different whiskies alongside natural wines, craft beers and plenty of cocktails. For eats, antipasto boards packed with cheeses and cured meats are delivered from the upstairs Cove Deli. A second kitchen within the Cumberland serves up tapas-style snacks such as Sydney rock oysters, mussels escabeche and even caviar. It’s the experience the Northern Beaches deserves.

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  • 16

    About 40 minutes into the train ride from the city to Hornsby, you’ll pass through Turramurra. Hop off and head across the platform and you’ll spy the bright lights of Kipling’s Garage Bar. If this isn’t your stop, think again — you’re looking at one of the best bars on Sydney’s North Shore.

    The “garage” refers to the fact that the site was once a mechanic garage — a piece of history that has also inspired the industrial-chic aesthetic of the interior. Now, it’s a classy wine and tapas bar, servicing stomachs instead of engines. There is no one theme to the menu, with interchanging lunch and dinner options to suit all tastes and portion preferences. It’s definitely worth venturing northward to hit up this local gem.

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  • 15
    Bar Louise - best wine bars in Sydney -

    Named after the Marie-Louise salon that occupied the building from the 1950s until the 90s, Bar Lousie has kept the site’s eye-catching pink and purple facade that’s remained through several owners, while giving the interior a wee makeover. Now, the Sydney wine and tapas bar is filled with warm yellow walls, rich wooden tones and fake leafy vines, all reminiscent of a southern Spanish hole-in-the-wall haunt.

    The star of the drinks menu is sherry, with more than 15 varieties available by the glass. The signature drop is an ideal start or end to your meal, accompanied by a cocktail, Estrella or minimal-intervention wine hailing from either Spain, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Argentina or France. Pair your drink with something from the impressive snack menu, or head upstairs for a full Spanish feast. It’s a refreshingly laidback and fun spot where you down a few bottles of wine with mates and feast on tapas.

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  • 14
    people sitting outside drinking at night at odd culture - one of the best bars in Sydney - newtown

    Back in 2018, Sydney lost its beloved dumpling house, Happy Chef, to a fire. But from the ashes came Odd Culture, a natural wine bar with top-notch eats to boot. The Newtown bar comes from the team behind The Old Fitz and The Duke of Enmore, meaning they have dedicated a lot of effort towards creating a fun and laidback atmosphere in additions like the vibrant cocktail list and weekend bottomless brunches.

    There’s a few must-try options on a visit to Odd Culture — the chicken liver paté and the sour negroni, to name one such duo — but it’s the wine list that’s most impressive. Striking at a time when minimal intervention and skin-contact drops are at an all-time high, there’s a heap of these on offer here at just about every price point, as well as rare and imported bottles hand-picked by the team. There’s even a bottle shop two doors down where you can sample drops of vino or pick up a bottle of your favourite wine from your trip to Odd Culture.

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  • 13
    a group of people sitting outside in the sun in front of Cafe Freida's - one of the best bars in Sydney

    The team behind Cafe Freda’s has always focused on creating a space for music and art lovers. They ran the much-loved Chippendale nightclub that closed its doors back in 2020. But they didn’t lay low for long. Owner David Abram quickly found a new space in Taylor Square, turning it into this bar with a killer happy hour, a restaurant and a hub for local artists.

    It’s now the grown-up version of its former self. The food offerings have been refined, with a focus on Italian flavours that pair well with the exciting wine menu. Cocktails are given a little more love as well — think banana negronis and special chinato and tonic concoctions. But despite these changes, we’re glad to see that the dance floor hasn’t totally gone. As it gets late, the DJ plays fun dance tunes and the old spirit of Freda’s comes alive again. Growing up doesn’t mean you can’t still party.

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  • 12
    Vermuteria - one of the best bars in Sydney - King's Cross.

    First, David Spanton saved Piccolo Bar in 2021. The tiny Roslyn Street institution was set to shut down until he stepped in. Then, he did the same for Cafe Hernandez on Kings Cross Road, which had been operating for 50 years — keeping the charm of the historic venue and turning it into Vermuteria with some help from Michael Delany (Cafe Freda’sClub 77The Abercrombie).

    Much like Piccolo, this haven for all things fortified showcases a small, specialised drinks menu and a range of tasty snacks. The bar staff are more than happy to guide you through the world of vermouth and sherry — and if Spanton himself is working, he has plenty of knowledge to share and stories to tell.

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  • 11
    best wine bars in Sydney - bar copains

    This Surry Hills wine bar may be small in size and servings – with 20-or-so seats, a snacky menu of delicate share plates and a carefully curated wine list — but Bar Copains is big on many things. Think flavour, heart and coolness (in a way that isn’t intimidating).

    ‘Copains’ means ‘friends’ in French, and fittingly so. It was born from a friendship between chefs Morgan McGlone and Nathan Sasi – and now it thrives as one of the best bars in Sydney, where friendships bloom over a glass of natural wine and seriously delicious snacks. If you can nab one of the few seats here, you’re in a fabulous night out.

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  • 10
    a large group of people drinking and eating in the dining room at Paski Vineria Popolare - one of the best bars in Sydney

    Italian wine importers Giorgio De Maria and Mattia Dicati teamed up with chef Enrico Tomelleri (RagazziAlberto’s Lounge10 William Street) to bring this brilliant wine bar to Darlinghurst in 2021. Unsurprisingly, Mediterranean (especially Italian) vinos take centre stage here. And while the team aims to challenge and teach Aussies about different grape varieties, this spot is far from stuck-up and unapproachable. Here, everyone is welcome to come enjoy good food and wine and the lovely staff will guide you through the menu.

    Grab a seat in the downstairs wine bar to taste your way through different Italian regions while noshing on classic meat and cheese boards as well as a few small plates of food. Or head upstairs to the restaurant where you’ll find heartier food options that celebrate underrepresented Italian ingredients. Enjoy a spectacular Italian food and wine tour without leaving Darlinghurst.

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  • 9
    Re in Everleigh - one of the best bars in Sydney.

    Re, a boundary-pushing Sydney bar with a strong sustainability focus, opened back in 2021 with hospitality stars Matt Whiley (Scout) and Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room & BarCiccia Bella) at the helm. The bar was immediately met with great praise and has since gone on to win a whole host of awards — most notably making the World’s Best Bars list for 2021 and 2022.

    The revolving rotation of drinks takes on the mantra “waste nothing, taste everything”, pairing unique flavours with a focus on sustainable ingredients sourced from local suppliers and unwanted produce. Take the Coffee and Carrot, for example, a vodka-based cocktail that uses Mr Black Coffee liqueur, caramelised carrots and Potato coffee. Stacks of other inventive cocktails can be paired with a selection of yakitori, prawn toast and a banging mortadella sanga. It’s easily one of the best bars in Sydney.

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  • 8
    10 William Street - one of the best wine bars in sydney

    Filled to the brim with lively drinkers and diners, 10 William St seems more like a brand-new opening than an establishment over a decade old. Since 2011, the Italian eatery and wine bar has been a launching pad for some of the country’s best chefs — who you’ll now find at spots like Bistrot 916Restaurant HubertTotti’sLankan Filling StationBrae and Paski Vineria Popolare. But it’s not all about the food here.

    The wine list is chalked up on the blackboard and changes each month. But if you don’t know your palomino from your passerina, just ask the waitstaff for a recommendation — we’re all friends here. 10 Williams St has been one of the best wine bars in Sydney for ages now and it’s only getting better with age.

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  • 7
    the outside of Cantina OK! - one of the best bars in Sydney - cantina ok!

    An old garage down a service laneway doesn’t sound like your typical spot for a Sydney bar, but that’s exactly where this 20-person mezcal bar has taken up residence. Cantina OK! is located down the non-street that is Council Place, rocking an extensive tequila and mezcal collection, a forest green garage door and no seating whatsoever. But don’t underestimate this joint, head inside to find one of the best bars in Sydney.

    “You won’t find another mezcaleria in the southern hemisphere that has the particular collection that we have,” said Manager Alex Gilmour back when the bar first opened in 2019. There’s plenty of rare and wild varieties for you to explore stocked behind the bar. If this deep dive into mezcal drinking sounds a bit intimating, turn to the well-trained staff, who are eager to get into the “nitty gritty” of it with you. Or, you can just opt for a classic and damn-good margarita.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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  • 6
    ANTE - a listening bar and sake bar in Newtown - one of the best bars in Sydney.

    This Newtown jazza kissa (or listening bar) is one of the very best in Sydney, especially if you’re a fan of fine sake — of which there are over 65 kinds available. The bartenders will talk you through all the options, but we recommend getting the sake tasting flight, especially if you’re new to the world of sake. It features a great cross-section of sakes and will help you discover your own preferences.

    A decent range of Japanese spirits, cocktails and beers are also up for grabs, alongside a truly impressive selection of eats designed to pair with sake. The menu changes fairly regularly, but it tends to include a handful of pastas, izakaya-style bites and decadent desserts. Like many of the other best bars in Sydney, ANTE takes its food very seriously.

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  • 5
    Five bartenders lining up at the bar, smiling in white suits at Maybe Sammy - one of the best bars in Sydney

    Maybe Sammy is not only on our list of the best bars in Sydney — it’s on just about everyone else’s too, including anyone who gives out bar awards. It was named in the top 50 bars in the world in 20192020,  2021, 2022 and 2023— and named the Best Bar in Australasia at The World’s 50 Best Bars in all five years. The accolades just don’t end.

    And it’s clear to see why. The team, led by Creative Director Martin Hudak, has created one of the most spectacular cocktail menus — ranging from mini cocktails to the martini trolleys and extra opulent Premium Pours made from some of the finest spirits in the world. You can sneak into the famous Sydney bar for a cocktail before dinner or really treat yourself and spend the night trying some of the very best drinks in all of the world.

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  • 4
    the main dining room at Poly - one of the best bars in Sydney - wine bar sydney

    Whether you consider Poly a restaurant or a bar, the one thing that’s certain is, it’s a good time. Book a table in advance and come in for a moreish meal of seasonal snacks and woodfired seafood, or drop in and nab a spot at the communal table for a couple of wines. Despite being surrounded by so many fan-favourite venues, Poly has carved out a niche for itself in Surry Hills as a go-to for both flashy special occasions and casual catch-ups. Not an easy feat.

    Helmed by Ester‘s Mat Lindsay, this Commonwealth Street spot’s food menu is ever-evolving and the wine list will not disappoint, loaded with minimal-intervention, skin-contact drops, sorted under helpful, descriptive headings so you don’t feel like a total vino novice. It’s best to head to this Sydney bar and restaurant with an empty stomach, a taste for wine and a willingness to see where the night takes you.

    Image: Kitti Smallbone.

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  • 3
    Bar Planet - one of the best bars in Sydney.

    Head to the Newtown end of Enmore Road, following the blue hues streaming out of its neon light sign, to find this somewhat psychedelic Sydney bar full of gin and vodka lovers. Like its sister bar, Tio’s, you’ll get a complimentary bag of seasoned popcorn as you sip on drinks at Bar Planet. But instead of margaritas, here you’ll find a short but impressive selection of martinis. Down one of these bad boys to see why we placed it on this list of the best bars in Sydney.

    The signature Bar Planet Martini is made with a seasonal gin created in collaboration with Poor Toms distillery, served with an olive and citrus from a lemon rind. Simple. But effective. You really shouldn’t mess with the classic martini. But if you will, then let these pro bartenders take the lead. Try the Scorpino, made from a mix of P&V prosecco, vodka and an in-house gelato based around a different seasonal fruit each week. You can even order from Saray next door for Sydney’s best (and possibly only) snack pack and martini combo.

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  • 2
    A group of people sitting by the open window looking out at the road from Love, Tilly Divine - one of the best bars in Sydney

    If you’re looking for an intimate Sydney wine bar that only serves the good stuff, then Love, Tilly Divine is the place to go. The name of the bar is an ode to east-Sydney’s past, a tribute to a local 1930s brothel madam who performed acts of charity in the area. Its size means its perfect for an intimate occasion. Head in with a date or get in some on-on-one time with a mate.

    A Darlinghurst stalwart, the tiny wine bar is equal parts cosy and classy. The wine list is more than extensive, boasting over 300 varieties of great local and international vino. The whole venue recently underwent a mini makeover, including the food menu, so be sure to add a few bar snacks to your order as well. The fried olives and the sardine sandwich are not to be missed.

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  • 1
    the empty bar at PS40 - the best bar in Sydney

    PS40 was started by the creators of PS Soda, an alternative to sugary, soulless mixers. While it was originally a way to showcase these bright and bubbly sodas, it’s since evolved to become a hotspot for some of this city’s tastiest and most inventive cocktails. Hidden down Skittle Lane you’ll discover a mad scientist’s lab of beverages. Signature cocktails like the Africola are unlike anything you’ve ever tried, mixing Mr Black coffee liqueur with native cola and hot coconut foam, creating an explosion of flavour in your mouth with two distinct textures and temperatures at the same time.

    The cocktail list is never stagnant, but you might find a nostalgic favourite like the Mango Weiss Bar, taking you right back to your childhood summers or the one-of-a-kind Breakfast Negroni infused with banana bread and coffee beans. Just head into PS40 and hand over your trust to the bartenders as they take you on the latest boozy adventure they’ve thought up. You’ll quickly discover why our editors have voted it the best bar in Sydney.

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Top image: Love, Tilly Devine, Bruno Stefani

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