24 Best Bars in Sydney, New South Wales

Bambini Wine Room

City Center Fodor's choice

Bambini Wine Room is a sparkling little jewel box encased in marble-clad walls and topped with lovely chandeliers. You can sip cocktails, whiskeys and any number of fine wines late into the night and feast on affordable bar snacks.

Eau de Vie

Darlinghurst Fodor's choice

You might have to seek them out but there are quite a few speakeasy-style bars sprinkled around Sydney. Eau de Vie, at the rear of the trendy Kirketon Hotel in Darlinghurst, perfectly fits the bill, especially with its cocktail menu. It's designed as a journey through the theater, with a "Shakespeare" touching on a yuzu mule with vodka, honey, and yuzu curd (A$20). There's also the "Carmen" cocktail from a Night At The Opera, with gin, sherry, and rosemary poured over crushed ice. Drinks are a little pricey, but the bar staff and the patrons are friendly and the jazz-infused music takes the pain out of the bill. There's a bar snack menu, too.

O Bar and Dining

City Center Fodor's choice

This is the place to come at sunset for the view, tapas, and cocktails—and the '70s kitsch of a revolving restaurant. Located on Level 47 of the Australia Square building, O Bar has floor-to-ceiling windows, so no matter which seat you have, the view is great, and constantly changing. It's perfect for a predinner drink, or dinner, too. It's open daily from 5 pm and Friday lunch.

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Opera Bar

Circular Quay Fodor's choice

Perched beneath the concourse of the Opera House and at eye level with Sydney Harbour, Opera Bar has the best location in all of Sydney. Cozy up for a drink in the enclosed bar area or grab a waterside umbrella table and take in the glimmering skyline. Live music plays under the stars nightly from either 5:30 or 8 pm on weeknights, and from 2 pm on weekends. The bar has a full menu, though the attraction here is the scenery, not the cuisine.

The Arthouse Hotel

City Center Fodor's choice

A former School of the Arts building, The Arthouse Hotel has been renovated into a modern, belle epoque–style hot spot, with four bars and a restaurant spread over three cavernous floors. Art is the focus here, whether it's visual—life-drawing classes are given on Monday, a burlesque drawing class biweekly on Tuesday—aural, or edible, and there is a full-time curator dedicated to programming music, events, and exhibitions.



Sydney's biggest, best-looking, and funkiest gay nightclub, ARQ attracts a clean-cut crowd who like to whip off their shirts as soon as they hear the beat. (Some women head here, too.) There are multiple dance floors, a bar, and plenty of chrome and sparkly lighting. It's open from 9 pm until whenever Thursday through Sunday; a Thursday night drag contest is free and so is entry on a Friday night, while shows have a cover charge ranging from A$15 to A$25 (and sometimes a little more).

16 Flinders St., Sydney, NSW, 2010, Australia

Beach Road Hotel

Bondi Beach

This Bondi institution is famous for its Sunday Sessions, when locals come to enjoy a barbecue, drink, and dance in the outdoor courtyard. There's music every night in summer (except Monday), good affordable food, and a A$20 roast with all the trimmings on Sunday night.

Blu Bar on 36

The Rocks

Blu Bar on 36 has a stellar view! Situated on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, this is a sophisticated place to relax after work or enjoy a late-night drink while taking in the sweeping views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Get here early (just after 5 pm) for a ringside seat.

Bungalow 8

Darling Harbour

With its primo waterside location at the northern end of King Street Wharf, and famous mussels from its open kitchen, Bungalow 8 invites a night of posing and partying. This is the place to be seen bobbing your head to the spinning of several ultracool resident DJs.


Circular Quay

Set above Circular Quay in the Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, this cocktail bar offers incredible views with outstanding tipples. Rum cocktails are the specialty drink of choice. On the weekends, this place comes alive in the afternoon for sundowners. During the week, it’s a bit more of a relaxed crowd, enjoying a predinner drink in a more chill atmosphere than the nearby Opera Bar, which is always packed, day and night. Arrive early and also enjoy some Latin American small bites, including the buttermilk-fried-chicken tortilla.

Harold Park Hotel


This is a great comedy venue that also serves up excellent jazz, pop, rock, and blues performances on Sunday afternoon, often featuring artists playing in Australia's top world music and blues festivals when they are in town. Often the performances are free. Comedy nights (around A$10 to A$15 for a performance) are held on Tuesday and Friday at 8 pm; international comedy stars have been known to drop into the pub when they're in town (and do a spot of stand-up).

70A Ross St., Sydney, NSW, 2037, Australia
- 02 - 9660–4745


City Center

One of a string of swanky venues in the area, Hemmesphere is still drawing a hip crowd more than a decade after it first opened. Named for Justin Hemmes, son of iconic 1970s fashion designers Jon and Merivale Hemmes, this is where Sydney's hippest pay homage to cocktail culture from low, leather divans. The mood is elegant and sleek, and so are the well-dressed guests, who often include whichever glitterati happen to be in town. It's on the fourth level of the Establishment Hotel complex and draws those seeking an escape from the rowdy action downstairs.


City Center

This multilevel complex of bars, pubs, and eateries is in an ultrahip George Street complex. Cocktails are great but expensive, and the crowd varies depending on the night. If you don't fancy this bar, then there's the decadent Pool Club bar on the top floor, where if you get there early you can recline in your own cabana overlooking the swimming pool. Also on-site are the Den (a lavish bar with chaise longue furniture, chandeliers, and cigar menu), the casual Royal George pub, and the Ash Street Cellar bistro.

Kings Cross Hotel

Kings Cross

Spread out over four levels, this towering venue hosts live bands almost every night of the week. There's even a weekly open-mic night on the rooftop bar, where some of the city's best jump on stage and sing covers or originals. There's also a pub menu available, with plenty of seating if you're not one for dancing.

Lobo Plantation

City Center

This Cuban-theme bar is a hit in Sydney. Patrons love the palm trees, the cane furniture, and the wall lined with Cuban banknotes. Cocktails are all rum based, with funky names like Ol Grogram with Lobo's own spiced rum, fresh lemon, sugar, and stout vermouth. The affordable bar menu is limited, with empanadas or tacos on offer, but it helps soak up the alcohol.

Low 302

Surry Hills

This jazz bar is one of the few late-night bars available in the city, opening until 2 am every night but Monday and Tuesday. There's jazz played but also live instrumental. The vibe is relaxed and the crowd friendly. The menu and drinks are simple with pizza, pasta, and cocktails available and all at a reasonable price. There is a large variety of whiskies available.

Marquee - The Star Sydney

Darling Harbour

Nightclubbers are heading to Marquee—on the top level of the relaunched casino and entertainment complex, The Star Sydney—to dance the night away. The huge nightclub heaves with 1,500 twentysomethings who take to the dance floors in the Main Room and the smaller Boom Box, or chill out in the opulent Library bar. R&B artists and local and international DJs perform on weekends, with tickets from $A10 if you get in before 11 pm. When it's time to cool down, there are great outdoor balconies overlooking the city and Darling Harbour.

Mercantile Hotel

The Rocks

In the shadow of Harbour Bridge, Mercantile Hotel is Irish and very proud of it. Fiddles, drums, and pipes rise above the clamor in the bar, and lilting accents rejoice in song every night of the week except Monday, from 8:30 pm until late, and on weekends from 3 pm.

Shady Pines Saloon


This underground bar offers an authentic saloon experience, with Johnny Cash songs playing, whiskey flowing, and peanut shells found all over the ground. The vibe is friendly, with cocktail hour between 4 pm and 6 pm being a massive hit thanks to A$10 cocktails. Always a fun place to let your hair down, with live music playing on weekends. Open every night of the week.

Stonewall Hotel

Set over three floors, with drag acts, DJs, and incredible dancers putting on shows throughout the evening until the early hours of the morning, the Stonewall is the place to get your dance on. While the drinks are cheap, the service is slow, so pack your patience. Admission varies depending on the time of arrival. Get in before midnight and it's free, unless there's an extra-special show on that night.

The Comedy Store

Centennial Park

The city's oldest comedy club is in a plush 300-seat theater in the Entertainment Quarter, which most people still refer to as Fox Studios (its former name). The difficult-to-find theater is at the rear of the complex, close to the parking lot. Shows are Thursday–Saturday at 8:30 pm, and admission is usually around A$30.

The Oaks

Neutral Bay

For a northern Sydney landmark, The Oaks encapsulates the very best of the modern pub. The immensely popular watering hole, named after the huge oak tree in the center of the large beer garden, is big and boisterous. The pub has a restaurant and several bars with varying levels of sophistication. It's packed on Friday and Saturday night.

The Push

The Rocks

Every Friday and Saturday evening, this lively piano bar comes alive with a friendly crowd that loves to shout requests to whomever is playing that night. There are classic cocktails, Australian wines, and cheese platters and tapas. Stay late enough and it's likely you'll end up dancing with the local patrons. 

Unity Hall Hotel


This quaint pub in the left-of-center suburb of Balmain declares itself the "spiritual home of jazz and live music for the past 40 years." Its resident jazz band has been playing there since 1970, and you can hear them for free each Sunday at 4 pm (except for the first Sunday of the month, when another jazz band takes their place). A variety of live music including pop, rock, swing, and blues is also on the bill. Music cranks up on Friday and Saturday night from 9 pm. The pub attracts a friendly, unpretentious crowd and supports up-and-coming bands.