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Best Bars and Lounges in Sydney

Sydney’s bar scene has so much to offer. There are harbor view hangouts, underground city spots, rooftop watering holes, beachside chill-out bars and so much more.

Harbour View Hangouts

Newport Arms Hotel, Newport
Known as having the largest waterfront beer garden, Newport Arms Hotel is the perfect place to enjoy a beer in the sunshine. Because the pub is quite large, there are a number of different areas, including a movie area with a projector screen, picnic-style spot complete with picnic tables, and another section with pinball machines.

Manly Wharf Hotel, Manly
Enjoying drinks on the harbor front has got to be one of the best ways to spend a sunny afternoon. Although unfortunately, that’s no secret to Sydneysiders and the Manly Wharf Hotel can get quite busy at times. If you get a grumble in your belly, there’s a selection of hearty pub grub like burgers and pizza.
Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, Watson’s Bay
The sweeping bay views that you get at Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel are even better when enjoyed in the sunshine. If you’re hungry, grab a bite to eat – here, it’s all about fresh produce and great seafood. Sit in the sunshine while taking in the views and enjoying a cool beverage or two.

Classic Pubs

Bald Rock Hotel, Balmain
Come to the Bald Rock Hotel for that traditional English pub feel complete with mismatched memorabilia and all sorts of random bits and bobs stuck to all the walls. There’s even a dartboard. This cozy, classic pub hosts regular live music nights.

Angel Hotel, Sydney
Echoing the styling of an old-school pub – with the odd random piece of mismatched furniture here and there for good measure – the Angel Hotel has a comfy vibe that instantly makes you feel at home. There are rippled stained glass windows reminiscent of those at a traditional English pub, and the menu runs along the same vein – pies, sausage rolls, crisps and the like.

The Argyle, The Rocks
Long known as a key meeting spot and landmark in the Sydney city bar scene, The Argyle is very popular with everyone from tourists to those craving an after-work tipple. The location is extremely convenient (at The Rocks) and the bar is cozy but not without the odd industrial touch here and there.

The Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst
This European-inspired tavern is all about craft beers – and they’ve got a heck of a lot of them! Most you won’t recognize, which makes for a fun tasting session. The menu is equally brew-centric as each dish is matched to a particular beer. Upstairs there’s a dining area and rooftop courtyard, which is ideal for a cold one on a warm day.

City Slickers

Grandma’s, Sydney
Although the name may not make it sound like a place where the cool kids hang out, this bar is actually just that. The specialties are rum-based cocktails, craft beers and wine. The interior is cozy and atmospheric with unique and sometimes wacky decorations.

Lobo Plantation, Sydney
Head down to the basement of this city location and feel like you’ve caught a plane to South America. There are rum cocktails, Cuban snacks and ceviche. And the bar’s aesthetics come to the party, too, with palm trees and thatched light fittings.

Eau de Vie, Darlinghurst
Seeing as you’ll be sipping on the creations of Charlie Ainsbury, who has been awarded the accolade of Best Bartender in Australia, this place could quite literally claim to have the best cocktails in Sydney. Charlie specializes in unique cocktails using rare spirits.

Palmer & Co., Sydney
A 1920s flapper-style bar, Palmer & Co sets the scene for an evening of opulence and silliness all in one. It’s in a basement down an alleyway and often plays jazz, although the tunes pick up late at night. Cocktails and whiskeys are the favorites consumed here.

Beachside Bars

The Bucket List Bar & Pavilion, Bondi
Bucket List doesn’t disappoint its location: the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi Beach. In the summer it’s one of the best places in Sydney for a cocktail, beer, glass of wine or champers in the sun. Many people wind up turning a quick drink into an extended afternoon drinking session.

Harbord Beach Hotel, Harbord
Get some seafood – in particular prawns – and a cold beer or glass of wine and enjoy the seaside location of this historic hotel (built in 1928). On a nice day, there’s lots of sunlight streaming through the windows, or take your drinks outside and get a tan while you soak up this venue’s holiday vibe.

Sugar Lounge, Manly
This tiki-themed bar is massive – it’s spread over three levels – and is located right on the Manly beachfront. It’s got that ‘you’re on holiday’ feeling to it, with potted palm trees, sea breeze and cane furniture. There are whole lotta rum cocktails as well as cold beers and a decent wine list.

Manly Wine, Manly
It’s not the cheapest of venues, but it certainly makes up for the price with ocean views and a beachside wine garden that you could sit in for hours. Drinkswise, there are fruity cocktails, a decently sized wine list and of course cool, crisp beers.

Rooftop Watering Holes

Ivy Pool Club, Sydney
The Ivy is the hangout spot of Sydney’s beautiful people. Oh, and there’s a pool. There’s a definite San Tropez pool party theme here with palm trees and brightly colored furniture set against white paneling.

Glenmore Hotel, Sydney
Famous for its sunny rooftop, the Glenmore Hotel has exceptional views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although conveniently located in the city’s iconic The Rocks location, the Glenmore Hotel isn’t posh or pompous – the tables are worn, wooden and rustic, while the chairs are bright red and industrial.

Sweetheart’s Rooftop BBQ, Potts Point
Sit at wooden benches and other assorted outdoor furniture and enjoy the open-air setting complete with palm trees. Interestingly, the wines are on tap. As the name suggests, the food here is predominantly barbecue themed with the likes of prawns, steak and sticky ribs featuring.

Café del Mar, Sydney
Come here in the summer and enjoy the warm weather from the comfort of cabana-style seating. The décor is blue and white and very summery. Couple that with some cocktails that you’d normally order on the beach and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel like you’re in Ibiza, at least a little bit.

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