While Sydney’s nightclubs have been fighting an uphill battle against the lockout laws of late, the Sydney bar scene is thriving. From hidden bars, to the fancier bars along the Quay, we’ve drunk our way around town to find you the best Sydney bars that you’ll want to visit for a wine or two, or three.

Burrow Bar | De Mestre Pl

Nestled in what used to be an old bank, Burrow Bar is one of those bars that only a local would know about. Hidden behind an unmarked door with no signage,  Burrow Bar’s long narrow interiors is walled up by the original sandstone of the building and patrons have the option of pulling up a seat at the bar or getting comfy at the sofa down the back.

The bar is tiny, but it gives you time to have a good old yarn with one of the bartenders/owners. Owned by 4 friends who have all come from years working at other bars around Sydney, these guys (and one girl) know their drinks. They rotate their cocktail list every three weeks and each of the owners has their own special concoction on the menu. If you’re after food to wash down your drinks, they do Picanha To Share – one kilo of rump cap with chimichurri and house made bread, plus a few other items to satiate your appetite. And for the budget conscious, on Monday nights they do $5 wines – because who needs another excuse to go out on a Monday night.

Bulletin Bar | 10-14 Bulletin Pl

Another hidden gem, this Circular Quay bar is anything but touristy. Located next door to Tapa Vino, look for the doorway with the stairs which look like they lead to nowhere. In what could possibly be the tiniest bar of Sydney, the small square bar is bursting with a hip, cool vibe.  The interiors are surrounded by dilapidated walls, adorned with different artwork and menus scribed onto brown paper and chalkboards giving the whole place a hobo-chic feel. 

The four bartenders are well known around town and in Melbourne, coming from one of the most iconic bars down there, the Black Pearl. With a focus on seasonal produce, their cocktails are refreshing and flavoursome. Choose from their regular cocktail list or order one of their daily cocktails (or we recommend one, from each). They only have two bottles of red and two bottles of white at any time, so your choices are limited, but don’t fret, the bottles they have on hand are beautiful drops. This bar is perfect for those outer towners who want to (or have to) explore the Circular Quay sights but want to escape to a more relaxed, chilled bar after.


Kitty Hawk | 10 Philip Lane

Located in heart of the financial district KittyHawk is brought to you from the team behind Lobo Plantantion. Inspired by the Liberation of Paris on August 25 1944, Kittyhawk is filled with wartime memorabilia and 1940s posters that will take you back to post WWII. The old world vibe of the bar means there’s a whole range of patrons that come here, whether it be suits, tourists or your creatives. There’s various nooks to choose from, ranging from the 12m handcrafted American Oak  bar to the chesterfield couches, to the elevated seating area where you can get table service.

Their cocktail list is extensive with a focus on sustainability and while we’re not normally one to recommend shots, you’ll have to down at least a couple at this place. Served out of signature glassware, all their shots are served out of glasses made to look like the casing of a bullet at it’s base. If wine is more your drink of choice, they stock over 80 different wine and champagne varieties from France, Italy and Australia. In addition to the elaborate drinks menu, there is also a food menu with a Parisian street feel. Just some of the options are the classic steak tartare with tostadas , mussels vol au vent with Kikawooka Mussels and ratatouille sticks.  Do yourselves a favour, and head to Kitty Hawk for an after work drink, it’s one of our Sydney favourites.

Big Poppas | 96 Oxford St, Darlinghurst

Hip hop, cheese and Italian food, need we say more? Big Poppas occupies the space that was once Hello Sailor with an upstairs Italian restaurant and a downstairs bar dedicated to cheese and delicious drinks. And yes, of course the bar pays homage to the infamous NOTORIOUS B.I.G with a 90s R&B soundtrack and a mosaic of the man himself in the downstairs cocktail lounge.

The Italian restaurant upstairs has a dozen items to choose from including ragus, pastas and more. With flickering candles, midnight blue leather banquettes and marble top tables, the whole floor exudes a warm and cosy vibe, perfect for an intimate date.

Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice |

Ask anyone in Sydney about Frankie’s Pizza and they’ll have a story to tell. A Sydney institution, this bar is still kicking and worth a stop-in for a late night drink. You’ll often find musos stopping by Frankies for a drink, post-performance alongside a whole mix of people from students, to hospitality workers, to those who just want a late night pizza.

Make no mistake though this bar is not your modern, fresh, cut above the rest type bar. What you’ll get here is a grungy, rock and roll vibe that pulls you back in again and again. Maybe it’s their booths and pinball machines, maybe it’s their live music or maybe it’s just because sometimes you just want a no fuss, no frills, but plenty of thrills kind of evening. Plus how could you go wrong with delicious pizza and an excellent craft beer selection?! There’s often live music for free and for those seeking more, look out for the hidden cocktail bar out the back door past where the bands play. Frankies, don’t ever change!

Opera Bar | Sydney Opera House, Macquarie St, Sydney

If you’ve ever visited the Sydney Opera House, you will have walked past Opera Bar. Located on the lower level of the Opera House concourse, in the thick of the Circular Quay action, there truly is no better place to watch a Sydney sunset. Choose between the undercover area on the upper concourse or for the best seats in the house we recommend the ones right on the harbour.
With picture-perfect views of the Sydney Harbour, Luna Park, and The Opera House this bar attracts both tourists and locals who want to impress tourists. There’s plenty of delicious cocktails on offer, and none too pricey at $20. As you can imagine the bar gets pretty busy, especially on balmy evenings so get there early and take in the breathtaking views with cocktails. If you want to make a night of it, they also serve dinner too.

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