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The 10 Best Pubs in Sydney to Visit in 2021

The Glenmore Sydney. Photographed by Steven Woodburn. Image supplied.

From Sydney’s CBD to the Inner West and The Rocks – we’ve got all the best pubs in Sydney you need to drink at!

There is no better way to celebrate the arrival of daylight savings than with a cheeky afternoon bevvy! So grab your mates and get ready to drink your way through Sydney’s finest watering holes.

There are very few places that Australians love more than their local pub. Whether you’re itching for a cold pint, salivating over a chicken parmi, or just wanting to show off your skills behind the pool table, Sydney houses some of the finest taprooms this country has on offer.

And after four months of mandatory hibernation, we have built up a thirst not easily quenched. Whether you’re looking for a waterside or rooftop bar, a side of history with your craft beer, or just a bloody good steak, look no further than our list of the 10 best pubs in Sydney you need to visit in 2021!

The Duke of Clarence
Photographed by Stockfoto. Image via Shutterstock.

The Duke of Clarence

Tucked away between the skyrises of Sydney’s CBD, by the time you find The Duke of Clarence you’ll be well on your way to needing a refreshment. But this hidden gem is well worth the effort! Modelled after an 18th century English tavern, the owner describes this pub as dedicated to “cocktails, cask ale and unmistakably British eats.” Sipping whisky in the library room, those bold enough to put their smartphones away would be forgiven for forgetting the decade. But The Duke of Clarence is more than just a superficial nod to what once was. This Sydney CBD pub was truly designed with love, with the décor handpicked from pubs and churches in the UK, and shipped to Australia.

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156 Clarence St, Sydney, NSW 2000
The Taphouse
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The Taphouse

On the corner of South Dowling and Flinders Street sits Darlinghurst’s award-winning craft beer haven. Boasting an impressive yearly rotation of over 500 beers, The Taphouse is a must-try for all Sydney ale-enthusiasts. While this beautiful, heritage listed pub is thought to be around 180 years old, the three-story venue has had an impressive facelift in recent years. And if history alone isn’t enough to get you through the door, head chef Axel Chilton has been busy during lockdown creating a mouth-watering new smokehouse menu. No discriminating here – their resident rooftop smoker produces Texas-style goods for the carnivores and the vegans.

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122 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
The Oaks Hotel
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The Oaks Hotel

With 135 years under their belt, The Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay is as dependable as they come. Recently refurbished, this lower north shore institution is made up of three distinct offerings: The Oaks Bottle Shop which serves a rotating beer selection in a 50s inspired milk bar; Taffy’s Sports Bar where you’ll find quirky beer taps and foosball tables; and finally, Alala’s – a Parisian-style outdoor eatery that serves an array of fine-dining goods and delicious cocktails.

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118 Military Rd, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
Royal Hotel Paddington
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Royal Hotel Paddington

A favourite among Sydney pub-goers, Royal Hotel Paddington serves cold beer and pub classics at a reasonable price. While it is important to note that this four-level heritage pub requires comfortable footwear, it is a noble sacrifice. Make the brave trek up a fair-few flights of stairs and be rewarded with one of the most spectacular 180-degree views of Sydney. But don’t forget to grab a Spicy Margarita ($20) at the bar first! This rooftop bar fills up quick, so you won’t want to move from your seat before sunset. One of the best Sydney pubs to have a drink at!

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237 Glenmore Rd, Paddington, NSW 2021
Hotel Harry
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Hotel Harry

Hotel Harry is undoubtedly one of Surry Hills’ best kept secrets with colourful, Cuban-inspired decor bringing you just short of an overseas holiday. The menu is classic pub food and then some, with the welcome addition of taquitos (three for $9), tacos (two for $12), and other Cuban-inspired dishes. And if the cocktail of the week isn’t enough to get you out and about on a weeknight, then their live Comedy at Harry’s every Monday is well-worth the hangover.

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40-44 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
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Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

Located in the city’s historic Rocks precinct, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel is Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel and home of Australia’s oldest pub brewery. Established in 1841, this 180-year-old beauty is far from showing her age, serving modern Australian cuisine and an award-winning wine list. With 100 per cent natural ales brewed onsite, you’d be a fool not to stop in for one of their award-winning pints. If you’re looking for one of the best pubs in The Rocks, this is it.

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19 Kent St, The Rocks, NSW 2000
The Dolphin Hotel
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The Dolphin Hotel

Walking through the doors of The Dolphin Hotel will have you tossing aside any previous conceptions of what it means to be a pub in 2021. With a chic, all white interior designed by George Livissianis, this gastro pub resembles an art installation more than it resembles your local watering hole. The dining room is cased with monochrome graffiti, and swathes of white fabric drape the walls of the public bar. But what this tavern lacks in meat raffles and happy hour, it makes up for with their Grilled Octopus Salsa Verde ($23) and hand-stretched pizza inspired by the flavours of northern Italy. Wash it all down with a Peach and Lychee Bellini and you’ll forget there was ever any other way.

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412 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
The Imperial
Photographed by Artem Gavrysh. Image via Unsplash.

The Imperial

This rambunctious Erskineville icon has been a proud institution since 1983 and to this day remains the go-to LGBTQ+ pub in Sydney. One of the best pubs in the Inner West; here you can dine at Priscillas with their vegan-friendly soil-to-plate menu, served hot with a side of drag. Or, if wood-fired pizza and a tart negroni is more up your alley, climb the stairs to the rooftop bar and enjoy the Amalfi of the Inner West. If that hot, Italian sun isn’t enough to have you break out a sweat, head downstairs to The Basement and enjoy the weekend disco. Come through darling!

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35 Erskineville Rd, Erskineville, NSW 2043
The Clock Hotel
Photographed by James Horan. Image via Destination NSW.

The Clock Hotel

Named after its iconic clock tower, The Clock Hotel has sat proudly on Crown Street in Surry Hills since 1863. With an award-winning cocktail bar and a wrap-around balcony looking down at the street below, this Sydney CBD pub holds prime people-watching real estate. Once you’ve outgrown the beer, you can make your way back to the whisky room for a dram, where the bartender will help guide you through their collection of over 200 expressions.

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470 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
The Glenmore Hotel
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The Glenmore Hotel

Built in 1921, this heritage-listed pub in The Rocks boasts the best of Sydney – both old and new. Enjoy a sun-lit Aperol and a Prawn Roll ($26) on the rooftop terrace, with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Still thirsty? Visit the 1920’s Hollywood themed cocktail bar tucked away on the middle level, and get your Gatsby on with a Razzle Dazzle ($20). Whatever you’re after, The Glenmore is the perfect place to enjoy the excitement of a night out, without the crowds.

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96 Cumberland St, The Rocks, NSW 2000

Wanting to enjoy a drink at home? These 10 Sydney Bars serve Ready-Made Cocktails for Takeaway and Delivery. If you love a pub feed, you’ll also love The 10 Best Steak Restaurants in Sydney of 2021.

Feature image: The Glenmore Sydney. Photographed by Steven Woodburn. Image supplied.
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