Sydneys nightlife is the stuff of social dreams. A city that is beautiful, vibrant and culturally eclectic, there is certainly no shortage of places to whet your whistle with a fancy cocktail or signature spirit. If you’re dying to try somewhere off the beaten track that will have you coming back again and again, give one of these sneaky little watering holes a go. While you may have walked past them a hundred times before, not knowing they were there, you won’t forget again.
The Barber Shop
A proper operating barber shop on York street in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, experience the most precise shave you will ever know, then head through to the cocktail bar with its terrarium style decor and impressive selection of gins. The atmosphere is truly unique and the skilled bar staff will definitely have you coming back again.
The Baxter Inn
This underground whiskey cellar keeps a low profile and is located in a quiet alleyway off Clarence street. With a strict no bookings, no worries code, it is the perfect location for a last minute get together with good friends. Baxter Inn makes you feel like you may have genuinely gone back in time to the prohibition era with the old school decor, fantastic wall art and jazzy tunes evoking a remarkable sense of nostalgia.
Eau De Vie
This 1920’s themed bar is beautifully located in Sydney’s trendy Darlinghurst. It’s simple yet seductive layout has a fully staffed bar with over 500 spirits and a secret whiskey room at the back. With countless craft cocktails on the menu, Eau De Vie is the perfect location to book for your next private function or to simply step back in time with its magical atmosphere.
One of the only bars in Sydney where you can get a fresh made jaffle to go with your eclectic cocktail, Grandma’s bar pride themselves on being a ‘retro-sexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and granny glamour.’ This colourful basement bar is fabulously quirky and there is not one cocktail on their impressive list, you won’t want to try.
The Lobo Plantation
This colourful Caribbean themed bar is another easy to get to location in Sydney’s CBD, the trendy, laid back venue has an assortment of cocktails and over 250 types of rum. It feels like a genuine island escape right in the heart of our amazing city. Their extensive menu collaborates with the ingenues at Urban Cooking Collective (UCC) and gives guests a delicious taste of impeccable Latin cuisine.
Palmer & Co.
This 1920’s themed cocktail bar is hidden away in an underground brick basement bar, in Sydney’s Abercrombie Lane. Another time warp into the prohibition era, indulge in a raucous yet refined debauchery with dapper bar staff and dazzling flapper waitresses at your beck and call. The live music and extensive menu of cocktails and spirits combined with quality seasonal ingredients will have you lollygagging about Palmer & Co. for a long time to come.
Papa Gedes Bar
This intimate hangout has a unique Voodoo- inspired decor with inventive concoctions. Infused with the spirit of witch-doctor apothecary, home-made herbal elixirs and plenty of classic & tiki cocktails. Papa Gedes offers a wide range of craft beers and a smorgasbord of absinthes traditionally served. With great wine, funk and soul music, a visit to Papa Gedes is a ritual of relaxation. The moment you step inside, you will know why Papa Gedes is an award winner.
One of the unique things about Sydney’s PS40, is the amazing signature sodas they create, which compliment the customised menu cocktails. A collaborative creative space, the bar is set up with funky decor and vibrant tunes. Emphasis is on house creations and a nose-to-tail approach. The open cellar door setup also serves a selection of bar snacks and craft beers and wines.
Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern
The perfect example of a secret Sydney bar, Ramblin Rascal Tavern is only visible to the outside world with a simple black sign marked with three skulls. The cool basement bar serves inventive cocktails which can be enjoyed in one of the cosy leather booths surrounded by exposed brick wall. The beautifully decorated tavern creates a ‘dive-bar’ atmosphere and with all three owners working behind the bar at any given time, you know the service is going to be exceptional.
Shady Pines Saloon
From the team that brought you Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza, this low-lit cowboy bar takes you back to the times of the old west. With specialty whiskeys and peanut snacks the venue is located down a dark Darlinghurst alley and up a flight of stairs. One of those truly unique bars where its almost impossible not to make a new friend and where loud sing-alongs and impromptu storytelling is inevitable.
Since I Left You
Affectionately known as SILY, this small industrial bar is located between two heritage listed Sydney buildings. Covered in bright fairy lights and colourful street art, the venue serves freshly shaken cocktails, locally sought wines and craft beers along with delicious and unique menu options. The mix of heritage, industrial architecture and modern street design is like no other place in the world and a casual get together with friends at SILY during one of their many live music gigs, will leave everyone feeling merry.
This rustically decorated bar is indeed deceptively small, but its popularity is huge. Delicious drinks and tasty eats are available over three levels with laneway and cellar seating included. With no TV’s or other distractions, the aptly named Small Bar gets it right, allowing guests to intimately mingle in the cosy environment while indulging in everything from bar snacks to burgers and salads. You will be spoilt for choice on what to eat with the many wines, craft beers and cocktails on offer.
Once you step through the pretend dressmakers facade at the entrance, Stitch Bar surprises with a mix of eclectic designer cocktails and hearty American diner-style food on the menu, Stitch bar is a must for anyone considering themselves a connoisseur with a palate for quality, filling meals. The friendly bar staff have a certain sparkle in their eye when creating a signature concoction and the tasty treat they deliver does not disappoint.
Uncle Ming’s is an opium den inspired cocktail, whisky and dumpling bar – a true celebration of Asia.This dimly lit basement bar is decked out in funky Asian inspired decor. Once you’ve snapped out of the awe of seeing such a beautifully designed bar, indulge in a wonderful selection of moreish dumplings, potent sake and finely crafted cocktails. It will feel like you stepped into another world when you enter the majestic Uncle Ming’s.