Sydney has a number of outstanding bars. Infact they are so good that 3 of them are currently ranked among the best 50 in the world.
So when it comes to going out for a drink in the Emerald City you are definitely spoiled for choice.
There are a number of factors that make the bars in Sydney so good. The quality of the drinks they offer is obviously key, as is the food too. But other things like the location, décor, views, atmosphere, live entertainment and even the type of people that visit the establishments, all make a difference.
With this in mind check out these recommendations of some of the best bars in Sydney.
Jangling Jack’s is one of the coolest bars in Sydney you’ve possibly never heard of. And that is exactly the point of it.
Designed to feel like somewhere that has been around for years, but you have only just discovered, this Potts Point establishment offers exceptional cocktails in an intimate New Orleans inspired setting.
Located within the old Bootleg Bar, Jangling Jack’s stylish setting features dim, mood lighting, speakeasy-style lampshades, and posters of 1930s blues musicians.
You can choose to enjoy your drinks in booths, or high tables, or by standing at the centrepiece spotted gum wooded bar, which measures exactly 1100cm in length.
If you love your cocktails unique then Dulcie’s Kings Cross is a place you should definitely visit.
Located in Potts Point, this uber cool 1930s style cocktail and cabaret bar offers hand-made cocktails, made with nothing else but Australian spirits and liqueurs.
Inspired by the life of Dulcie Deamer, Australia’s first iconic IT girl, this art deco venue showcases fancy mirrors, lamps, photos of Sydney Harbour before the bridge was constructed, suspenders, newsboy caps and even a stage!
The cocktail list is small, but features inventive creations like Dulcie’s Sazerac, Wattleseed Rob Roy and the Choc Full of Personality. All of which will blow you away with their presentation and flavour.
The Kings Cross Distillery is a fabulous 1920s-style gin distillery and cocktail bar.
Situated on the site of a former speakeasy, illegal gambling den, and adult bookshop, the latest reincarnation of the premises is a lot more refined than previous versions.
The split level bar of the Kings Cross Distillery has a modern edge, with exposed brick walls, concrete floors and furnishings that include dark green leather booths and marble-topped tables that are finished in brushed gold.
Sitting pride of place in a glass case within the venue is ‘Miss Pottsy’, where the venue’s signature KXD gin is made.
For those who don’t like gin there is a wide range of whiskies on offer, as well as hand selected wines by the decorated sommelier Ben Moechtar.
You could be forgiven for thinking you were in Old Havana and not the heart of the CBD when you descend the winding staircase into The Lobo.
One of a number of top notch bars on Clarence Street, this one specialises in rum, offering no less than 250 varieties of it.
Taking the form of an underground dive bar, the Caribbean inspired décor features banana palms, rattan chairs and bartenders who like to put on a show when serving up the drinks.
Their signature creation, the Old Grogram, being one such example, as it gets torched right before your eyes.
Once a garage at the end of a cobblestone lane, Papa Gede’s Bar is a one of the best bars in the Sydney CBD. Not least because you can take your dog there!
Named after the voodoo spirit of lust and laughter, it is known for its fantastic monthly comedy nights and ‘witch-doctor apothecary’ cocktail bar, which draws inspiration from New Orleans and Haiti.
The alcoholic offerings include a range of classic & tiki cocktails, craft beers, home-made herbal elixirs, and a quality selection of traditionally served absinthes.
The vibe is always good here and the staff very friendly. Which always makes for a great night.
York Lane is not the easiest place to find on first look. Amongst a wall of garbage bins and grey faceless buildings it can take a minute or two to locate the entrance. But once you do pinpoint its sliding doors you will be taken into a wonderful venue.
Café by day, bar by night, this is intimate split-level, black-tiled, laneway space, only holds 30 people. But it offers an excellent selection of alcoholic beverages (and coffee!), as well as a delicious tapas menu, and plenty of vinyl records on rotation. Which always makes for a fabulously relaxed and congenial evening.
Run by siblings, Jess and Charles Casben, Moya’s Juniper Lounge is a trendy gin bar that pays homage to the 200 year period between when gin first made an appearance in England, and when American cocktails were launched in London.
A low key, unassuming venue where the cocktails do the talking, each of them features their own page on the menu.
Showcasing footnotes about the cocktail’s origin, historical notes, personal messages from the owners and even the exact ingredient measurements use to construct the beverage, an evening at Moyas Juniper Lounge is an experience and an education. Not to mention a whole lot of fun too.
Arcadia is a no-frills bar in Redfern that is all about doing the basics well. Great drinks, banging tunes and a fabulous vibe.
There is no award winning bartender here with fancy moves, no specialisation in any type of alcoholic beverage, or even a kitchen onsite (the food is ordered in from Redfern Continental). But what you do get with Arcadia is just a cool venue, as well as fantastic space to relax and enjoy an evening out that won’t break the bank.
Boasting mood fairy lights, shelves chock full of trinkets and knick knacks and friendly bar staff that remember your name, this is exactly the kind of place where you instantly feel at home.
The Bearded Tit is another Redfern establishment that is not so much a bar, but a hub for free spirited individuals.
Championing inclusivity, it is a haven for Sydney’s artistic and LGBTQIA+ community, providing a safe and enjoyable space for them to let down their hair and fully express themselves.
Stocked with a wide selection of craft tinnies, beautiful wines, draught beers, and a fabulous backbar of spirits their alcohol selection is rather inclusive too.
With quirky décor and outrageous drag shows, you never quite know how your evening will end up here. But then that is half the appeal.
Located in Darlinghurst, The Long Goodbye is a film noir-inspired bar that is based on the Raymond Chandler novel.
Run by owners Flynn McLennan and Dennis Jen, the bar is unique in that its drink list consists of exceptional cocktails that can be made up in a maximum of a couple of minutes.
This includes the likes of their duck fat-washed apricot brandy, which is paired with lemon, cognac, and Chinese five-spice and also a negroni which is made with a sticky-sweet beetroot liqueur.
It’s also innovative bar too, in that you can simply name a flavour and they can concoct something off menu for you.
There are a number of other fantastic bars in Sydney. Here is a selection of 5 more you should check out!