From rooftop bars hosting some of the most contested seats in the city, to underground speakeasy spots filled with hidden entrances and impressive drink menus, Sydney boasts some of the very best lifestyle and drinking hubs in Australia.
We can all agree that nothing says ‘Sydney’ quite like hitting up an aesthetic bar with iconic views, sinking your teeth in some delicious sides and cooling down with a cocktail in hand. With summer nearing upon us (hello, sunshine!), following a truly unique year, we think now is the perfect time to celebrate hard and make up for our mid-year absence.
Because there are simply too many amazing places to choose from, we wanted to simplify the process and list six of our favourite must-visit bars spread across this fair city. Cheers to that.
Trust us when we say that every drink at PS40 sets a higher standard for creativity. With a soda bottling area on-site delivering flavours like wattle cola and smoked lemonade, and a strong focus on concoctions crafted from Australian native ingredients, no bar in Sydney embraces experimentation quite like this one. The niche concept that is PS40 is a must-visit bar whether you’re a local or tourist.
This four-level extravaganza dishes up incredible views over Hyde Park and the CBD skyline. The top floor, Slim’s Rooftop, is an orange and pink oasis named after American socialite photographer Slim Aarons. Decorated with tropical greenery and low walls, allowing for the views to truly speak for itself. You can indulge in Asian fusion izakaya-style dishes, designed by an ex-Safe chef, like crispy pork belly bao buns and spiced fried chicken and don’t forget to grab yourself the Million Dollar Mermaid, a wildly popular Slim’s cocktail made up of Ketel One Vodka, lychee liqueur, Blue Curacao, lychee juice, and lime.
Located above the hustle and bustle of Circular Quay, this rooftop bar is refreshingly laid-back and intimate, offering unparalleled views of the old Coathanger (that’s the Sydney Harbour Bridge for folks playing along). If that doesn’t tempt you then perhaps it's the daily happy hour from 4-6pm, free bar snacks from 6-8pm or the dedicated Spritz menu. The bright terrace fit-out includes lots of greenery and colourful furnishings and most importantly is home to stretched cheese, made onsite daily, along with antipasto plates and pizzas like no other. Make sure to bring your strongest Instagram game because there’s nothing like a Spritz sunset selfie at Bar Ombré.
One of the coolest underground dive bars to embrace Australian shores boasting five-star cocktails alongside one of the city’s most extensive whisky lists. Its tightly-knit Western vision is backed by walls adorned with the finest taxidermy creatures, live Western bands, bowls of peanuts and friendly bartenders making freshly squeezed apple juice and whisky concoctions. We dare you to find a better saloon than Shady Pines.
One of Sydney’s secret neighbourhood wine bars tucked between the garages and warehouses of Crown Lane. The intimate and cosy shoebox that is Love, Tilly Devine boasts a wine list with 300 different drops and seats 40 vino lovers, making its namesake, Sydney’s infamous female 1920s brothel madame, proud. The small tables and share style food menu, which includes cheeseboards and a mouth-watering Parmesan toast with Japanese Vegemite, makes Tilly Devine the ideal escape for date night or a casual drop in.
We’ve heard that half the fun is actually trying to find Old Mate’s, no thanks to its unmarked entrance. This hidden rooftop bar provides a true sense of disconnect from the hustle of Sydney’s CBD, dividing the outside facade and the inside’s moody candlelit atmosphere. Old Mate’s Place bears dark woods, brown leather booths, antique books and foliage peeping from every nook and cranny. This gem is the perfect haunt for after-work drinks as you down Negronis and Jamaican beers and sink your teeth into one hell of a Philly cheesesteak.