If you’re living in Sydney or thinking about moving there, one of the most important parts of your life will be what you do outside of work. In other words, what are the best bars in Sydney?

Not all bars are created equal. Some thrive on their extravagant cocktail menu while some excel in the food space. Others just want to deliver the best craft beer in town for you and your pals to enjoy in the sunshine with some great tunes. What makes it difficult is that Sydneysiders really are spoiled for choice.

Whether you’re searching for an after work tipple in a small bar with a mind boggling cocktail or you want to soak up the sun in one of the award winning rooftop bars with a crisp craft beer, we have you covered. We’ve compiled a list that will encompass all your drinking needs. We’ve got classic cocktails, live music, the best food menus and even a barber shop!

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you can’t miss some of the old timers such as Ramblin Rascals Tavern and the Baxter Inn. After them, check out some awesome newcomers like the classy Cumberland and the vivacious Saga Bar. The problem we have is that there are too many to choose from!

Let’s take a look into Sydney’s main streets, back streets and harbour-side streets to find the best bars in Sydney CBD and surrounding areas.

Best cocktail bars

Eau de Vie is one of Sydney’s hidden gems. It’s opulent, dark and a whirlwind for the tastebuds. The audacity of flavours mixed with the pure talent from the bartenders makes for one unforgettable evening. Pricey, but worth it.

PS40 is an award winning experimental cocktail bar in Sydney CBD that hits all the notes. It’s stylish and fun, and they won TimeOut ‘Bar of the year 2020’. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and will shake something up to knock you off your feet in no time! You HAVE to try the famous hot-and-cold Africola cocktail. It will blow your mind.

Another big time award winner is Maybe Sammy. They have five glorious pages of cocktails to choose from, or just ask a bartender and they’ll whip up something new. To top it off, they serve mini martinis from a martini trolley! There’s a reason this lot have won so many awards.

The guys from Ramblin Rascals have created another stroke of genius with their new cocktail bar Double Deuce Lounge. Its 70’s retro ‘porno chic’ vibe sets it apart from the others in the list, but the cocktails are right up there with the best. This cocktail lounge is serving up funk and soul by the mouthful so get your flares on and get down on Saturday night.

If you’re more of a G&T drinker then head through an actual barber shop to find a small bar specialising in cocktails, gin and whiskey. The Barber Shop is an award winning cocktail bar with an authentic vintage style. They know a lot about spirits from all over the world and are happy to share their knowledge with you once you step inside, after you’ve had a haircut on the way in!

Best rooftop bars

A relative newcomer to the rooftop scene is the Light Brigade top level bar. It has insane views of the city all from the comfort of its newly fitted out lounges. Its pub roots and first floor restaurant keep everyone happy after curfew. There’s few city views that rival this one.

If you’re after harbour views then look no further than The Glenmore. This spacious rooftop has fantastic views of the Opera House and CBD. If you’re entertaining visitors or looking for an epic backdrop to your New Year’s Eve celebrations, this is the place to go. The cocktails are great, the beer selection is on point and they do live music: what more do you need?

Best craft beer bars

You’d hope a bar named the Taphouse would deliver on serving the best beers. Well, they do! They have over 60 craft beers on sale and a growing palate of craft spirits and wines too. The best bit – it’s got an incredibly decked out rooftop too, full of greenery and festoon lighting for a relaxed Friday night with friends.

Beer DeLuxe is exactly as it sounds; there’s great beer and a luxurious vibe. They claim to have 150 craft beers on offer (we haven’t counted them but there has to be something in there to please you!). Their casual dining food menu is just what you want it to be; it’s just an all-round good time. Gather your pals and sit in the beer garden chomping on nachos and sipping your way through their ‘Beer Bible’.

Best bars for food

Now we aren’t talking a parmy and chips here (but if we were you should head to The Rose Hotel), we are talking extra effort, things that make you come back for more, and delicious Sunday roasts. The aforementioned Taphouse does one of the best roasts in the city and serves until they run out, so get there early!

The Woolwich Pier Hotel is often voted one of the best pubs in Sydney. It’s got harbour side views and a new mouth-watering menu. Yes, they’ve got the classics, but they’ve also got burrata risotto and crab pesto linguine. If it’s a roast you’re after, head there on a Sunday to try their succulent saddle of lamb with pumpkin mash! I just drooled on my keyboard.

Best bars for live music

Rock Lily is a compact live music tequila bar. Amazing! They do rock music, comedy and amazing tequila-based cocktails. Enough said.

Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel is where the party is at. You’ve probably heard about the epic nightlife here if you’ve been looking for a night out in Sydney, and the reviews are not wrong! You can’t beat a sun-drenched beachside boogie in Watson’s Bay.

Best bars in Sydney for old timers

The Baxter Inn is one of Sydney’s finest bars. Its decor is flawless prohibition-style that makes you actually feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s got an insane library of whiskeys and some of the best cocktails around, and you get free pretzels! Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Ramblin Rascal Tavern is a popular dive bar in the CBD. Step down into their secret speakeasy lair. Great for after work drinks or boozing with friends in a cozy booth. The music is loud, the drinks are pricey, but it’s bloody cool.

If speakeasy is what you’re after, then definitely try Employees Only and you’ll be blown away by their decor and hospitality. The Burlesque dancers set these guys ahead of the game. Get dressed up and get a few tantalising cocktails in you on a busy Friday night and you’ll not be disappointed.

Beyond the best bars in Sydney

For more things Sydney, check out these other articles:

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