Walk down King Street, and you’ll pass sprawling pubs, rooftop bars, dive bars, chic cocktail bars and live music venues. Newtown is famous for its edginess and diversity, and its bar scene is definitely a reflection of that. Here, we round up the best places to go for a bevvy in Newtown.
To join the locals for a Sunday session, head to The Courthouse – a lively, unpretentious pub that’s known for its beer garden. It’s large, leafy and laidback, featuring a wooden verandah, tropical plants, frangipani trees and picnic tables. It fills up quickly (even in the cooler months), so go early to score a seat among the fairy lights. The pub also has pool tables, pinball machines, and AFL games on the big screens inside, and a huge range of beer on tap.
202 Australia Street, Newtown
A cosy space that serves up some of the best cocktails in town, Corridor is the ultimate small bar. It’s perfect for a romantic date night, thanks to its dim lighting, mezze plates made for sharing, and plenty of nooks and crannies to settle in. If you want to mingle with more people or soak up the sun, head up to the rooftop courtyard, which is buzzing all year round. While Corridor has a carefully curated wine list, it’d be criminal to visit without trying one of their cocktails (which, by the way, are $10 a pop during happy hour) – they change seasonally, and are all made with premium spirits, fresh juices and handmade syrups. On the weekends, live bands give the place even more of a feel-good vibe.
153A King Street, Newtown
Nicknamed ‘The Spesh’, The Midnight Special is another small bar that is cool, unassuming and quintessentially Newtown. The décor is all-American, with checkerboard floors, booths and music straight from the 50s, 60s and 70s. On some nights, local DJs take over to spin the tunes of their choice, usually rock’n’roll or blues. Every season, the bartenders create new cocktails that “taste as good as music makes you feel,” and there’s always a range of sweet and spicy sips. The menu is overhauled often, but expect cheap and cheerful eats, along with a few vegetarian options.
44 Enmore Road, Newtown
For dinner and drinks in a casual atmosphere, you can’t go past Bloodwood. Owned and operated by a chef, the food is delicious and features flavours from all over the world. Start with the famous polenta chips, before moving on to the socca (chickpea pancake), charred lamb or roasted prawns. While you’re munching away, enjoy the seasonal bellini or one of many cocktails, spirits, local or ‘fancy’ brews on the long list of beverages. If you’re steering clear of alcohol, try the ginger smash or homemade kombucha with watermelon! Bloodwood doesn’t take bookings for less than eight people, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.
416 King Street, Newtown
The Sandringham Hotel
Affectionately known as ‘The Sando’, this pub is iconic for its live music. Over the years, it’s hosted up-and-coming and well-established bands, and these days, there is a performance every single night (as well as two afternoons a week). That’s over 70 bands a month, so you’ll never get bored! Music aside, the pub also boasts a pool table area, separate gaming area, and a courtyard that catches the sun. The drinks list is classic, as is the pub food.
387 King Street, Newtown
Ask locals where they like to stop off for an after-work drink, and they'll point you to ‘The Marly’. The unpretentious pub has a lot to offer: a garden bar, a sports bar with multiple screens, and live music performances on Thursday nights. The kitchen serves up Southern comfort food – chicken and waffles, anyone? – along with pub classics like burgers, steaks, and fish and chips. There are daily food specials, and DJs on the decks every weekend.
145 King Street, Newtown
Located on the former Zanzibar site, Websters Bar is a breath of fresh air. It’s a three-storey playground. The lower floors are more intimate, with 1920s décor, small, candle-lit tables and a dedicated bourbon bar. The bar’s main calling card is the rooftop bar, which has insane views of the Sydney skyline, a BBQ-style menu, and a kitschy vibe. If you’re a sucker for sport or specials, you’re in luck: Websters screens football, as well as craft beer and cocktail deals during happy hour.
323 King Street, Newtown
A staple on Sydney’s craft beer scene, Young Henrys is the perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends. The brewery-slash-bar closes at 7pm, so aim to arrive early to savour any of the five signature beers, experimental brews, or cloudy ciders on offer. There are also food trucks parked out the front every weekend – follow the bar on social media to find out who will be serving up tasty treats when you’re there. This venue is absolutely buzzing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and with this formula, it’s not hard to wonder why.
76 Wilford Street, Newtown
You’d be forgiven if you walked straight past this place – it’s a speakeasy-style bar that’s disguised as a laundromat. Pretty cool, right? Inside, the bar pays homage to New Orleans with low lighting, eclectic music and strong cocktails. The staff is friendly and relaxed, and it’s the kind of place that brings people together. After dark, the dancefloor cranks up, making Earl’s Juke Joint the place to go for a late-night boogie in Newtown.
407 King Street, Newtown