With COVID-19 putting a dampener on our foodie plans in 2020, we are hopeful that we will be reunited with the bar scene in 2021. From intimate wine bars to cosy underground hangouts, we welcome all kind of wondrous new watering holes to Sydney this year. So, whether you’re after cocktail and a bite or wine with a beautiful view, we've found the best new bars in Sydney. These are the drinking spots your 2021 calendar is crying out for.
Sydney’s newest CBD wine bar, Vini Divini has opened with a huge central bar, alfresco seating, a Mediterranean-focussed menu and an impressive wine wall stocking more than 1000 bottles from 10 different countries, as curated by Rockpool Dining Group’s former head sommelier. Meaning “divine wines” in Italian and embodying la dolce vita (the sweet life), Vini Divini centres on the simple enjoyment of wine, food and good company with a warm European flair in a setting reminiscent of a stylish but cosy Inner City residence.
60 Carrington Street, Sydney
Introducing Re-, a pioneering bar in Eveleigh from hospitality heavyweights Matt Whiley (Scout) and Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room; CicciaBella), that’s made waves the world over. Housed in a beautifully restored former locomotive workshop, Re- is the world’s first permanent no-waste bar. And they're practicing what they preach! Their central bar and terrazzo table are made from Re-Plas recycled bottles and Tupperware and their stairs and structural features are all made from recycled plastic bags and milk bottles.
On the drink front things start with a twist on the classics like a martini with white truffle and an olive leave. Their inventive signature cocktail list uses salvaged produce from local markets. The Wimbledon Gimlet – riffing on strawberries and cream – rejected strawberries are pickled with vodka and serves with a milk wine cordial, a banana-skin-based syrup forms the base of the BP+B Old Fashioned with peanut butter and burnt butter, salvaged mushrooms make an umami-base for Play That Funghi Music – a twist on the Manhattan featuring blackcurrant-leaf vermouth, honey dashi and ant tamari. The crew joining Whiley behind the bar including Evan Stroeve (Bulletin Place), Jake Downe (This Must Be The Place; Scout London) and Ho Song (Cantina OK; PS40), will have license to work creatively on the ‘Re-search’ menu which features rotating drinks specials that each play on a set theme.
The food menu - overseen by Icebergs head chef, Alex Pritchard – is focused on sustainable snacks. Think puffed beef tendons, bug tamales and eggplant ceviche with salvaged padron peppers or air-fried corn ribs with miso butter. The hero of the menu however is set to be ‘Egg & Chips’ a decadent mix of ‘nduja and salt-and-vinegar chips with a delectably runny 63-degree egg.
Shop 8, 2 Locomotive Street, Eveleigh
As you’d expect for a place that’s located in Bondi beach and named after a Greek Island, Ikaria is absolutely beautiful. With Mediterranean Mezze and delicious drinks Ikaria is the perfect spot for your next dinner with friends. A neutral toned wonderland with arches and stunning views, this place is our favourite alternative to a Grecian holiday. With share mezze plates and a $69 per person set menu that features dips, saganaki, calamari and keftedes. Their signature cocktails are downright mouth-watering. Make sure you try their baklava ramos with gin, baklava syrup, yoghurt, aquafaba and lemon or Ikaria martini made with olive gin, rosemary & thyme vermouth and garnished with a fetta stuffed olive.
70B Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
A brand new European bistro, Lorraine’s has opened above the iconic Robin Hood Hotel in Waverly. Having just received a serious upgrade courtesy of a multi-million-dollar renovation and a new menu from Michelin trained chef, Clement Marchais (previously Executive Chef at Peppe’s Bondi) – Lorraine’s is set to be the new go-to spot. Sit below the stunning glass-atrium roof and check out the new menu designed for casual grazing and showcasing local ingredients. Making use of an on-site custom-built charcoal grill standout dishes include charred octopus with harissa and potato aioli, and chargrill chicken vadouvan with creamy smoked labneh. To wash it all down, diners will have access to the luxury 200 bottle strong wine room and an extensive cocktail list. For a truly showstopping tipple, you can't look past Lorraine's Blaze, two fingers of whiskey, grand mariner, cinnamon, chocolate bitters, it's served blazing with a twist! Plus it’s licensed until 2am so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy everything Lorraine's has to offer.
203 Bronte Road, Waverley
A karaoke joint that refuses to play Horses? Colour us intrigued! Potts Point is known for its bustling foodie scene but with the addition of Diana, a Korean-Chinese food spot and karaoke joint. From the team behind Mr Lim – which is the heart and soul of Orange’s nightlife – Diana, their new sister venue, has taken up residence on Macleay Street. Far from being a small backroom affair, at Diana, karaoke takes centre stage. Singers take to the stage to one-by-one, group-by-group bring the house down with their unique musical stylings (just as long as they’re not singing Horses. We’re serious, that’s the one song, owner Sammy Jeon refuses to play!)
It’s not just the singing at Diana that’s show stopping, the menu from fresh sashimi, honey-braised pork buns, Korean fried chicken and steak salad is simply delicious. And, as you'd expect from a restaurant with root in Orange, their wine list is pretty legendary and packed with drops from the region's best wineries.
1/28 Macleay Street, Potts Point
In the heart of Double Bay, in the former Mrs Sippy site, is a brand new venue bringing coastal Mexican vibes to the eastern suburbs. Sinaloa, named after the Mexican state known for their exotic cooking and coastal charm, has brought a welcome flair to Double Bay. Walking through the doors of Sinaloa, you’re met with a stucco pink paradise with a rounded roof covered in traditional art. There’s a Hacienda style courtyard bar covered in Talavera ceramic tyles with a water feature and organic flowers. The courtyard kicks off on Friday and Saturday nights with a resident DJ spinning proper hits from disco to house music. For some quiet you can head into the lounge area with soft lighting, linen and a striking mural.
On the food front, Executive Chef Axell Torres Villa is serving up a Mexican street food inspired menu with native ingredients. Think punchy scallop aguachile, a spicy ceviche with cucumber, karkalla, Davidson plum and kelp as well as a rich and saucy Wagyu Birra, slow-cooked Sinaloa style. Aiming to educate Australians on the depth and diversity of Mexican spirits, Sinaloa is fully stocked with over 100 tequilas and mezcals. On the cocktail front our favourite would have to be the ‘Hermano Loco’, a smooth and smoky twist on the Negroni sprinkled with subtle notes of Mezcal paired with agave, rosemary and dehydrated orange.
37 Bay Street, Double Bay
Best New Bars: April
Get ready for something new! Sammy Junior, the little sibling to the iconic cocktail bar Maybe Sammy, have recently opened their gold-gilded doors in the CBD. Dedicated to the two liquids that make life worth living, Sammy Junior is an espresso and cocktail bar. The only venue in Sydney to exclusively serve mini – junior-sized – cocktails, Sammy Junior is sure to make waves and for all the right reasons.
In the AM, they offer coffee made with a bespoke Spiritual Coffee blend created by Spiritual Coffee founder, Sammy Junior co-owner and all-round coffee connoisseur Martin Hudak. You can also expect a breakfast and lunch menu curated by Blackwood Pantry’s Rob Lechowicz and Sonoma pastries. You can enjoy your treats inside the 50-seat pistachio-hued eatery or on-the-go.
Come afternoon, you can score $2 Sydney rock oysters from 3pm every Thursday and Friday plus their standard aperitivo plates which are the perfect accompaniment for Sammy Junior's tiny tipples. With six junior-sized 100mL cocktails available you can sip on everything from coffee negronis to cascara fizz, Irish coffee, spritzes and martinis. Or grab yourself a half bottle of wine – the world’s your oyster!
66 King Street, Sydney CBD
Popular wine and liquor merchants P&V have opened a second store in Paddington. Expect all the good stuff from the OG Newtown locale you have come to love, along with a big events schedule. Shop their drops to take home, or pull up a chair and pair your newest buy with their delicious snacks. We'll see you at the bar!
268 Oxford Street, Paddington
This innovative new bar is all about a newly developed grape-infused spirit, and we're here for it! Colin Dahl, founder, chief product scientist of OPPIL and Director of research at Australian Sciences, was researching a cure for rosacea. Dahl researched antioxidants, thinking that their many different health benefits could potentially hold an answer. While his antioxidant research did not help with rosacea, it did bring the idea of a way to develop a healthy wine.
Through research and development, Australian Sciences produced a healthier wine that was higher in antioxidants and produced less negative hangover symptoms - and thus, OPPIL was born. By the end of 2020, they had started infusing hard spirits with the highest quality red grape antioxidants. To taste the difference yourself, you can now head down to their first flagship bar in Newtown.
169 King Street, Newtown
The latest rooftop to join the Sydney skyline sits pretty high above Oxford Street. The Burdekin Rooftop provides the coolest spot to sip a spritz on a Sunday, or take a dance break on a Saturday night. Make the most of the fresh air by heading over for post-brunch drinks, or kick start your night at sunset on the rooftop.
2-4 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Best New Bars in Sydney: March
An exciting new eat-in deli and wine bar has landed in Newtown’s South. Just a short stroll from St. Peter’s station, Pistou is an intimate French/Mediterranean deli-wine bar hybrid. Former Glorietta Head Chef Katie Morris has curated a regularly changing selection of quaint cheeses, delectable charcuterie, freshly made dips, and assortments of sandwiches that are available from the takeaway bar throughout the day. The weekly changing dine-in menu focusses on seasonality and sustainability and also includes a concise selection of small plates made to enjoy right there and then with more hot dishes being added to the menu in the coming weeks.
601 King Street, Newtown
Whisked through a series of old-world staircases overlooking Darlinghurst’s bustling core, Elm Rooftop Bar has finally opened its doors with a refreshed industrial look for city dwellers near and far.
In this highly sought-after part of town, perched above The Taphouse, Elm Rooftop Bar offers an intimate alfresco escape with an outlook of Centennial Parklands, Flinders Street and Darlo’s lush green treetops. Flowing drinks, climbing ivy wall vines, festoon lighting and leafy palms will set the mood for laid back afternoon drinks. Rain, hail or shine, a retractable awning promises that the rooftop is ready for all seasons.
Level 2, 122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
Best New Bars in Sydney: February
Opening late last year, this is one place to put on your radar for 2021. The Mill Bondi is an upscale pub that does the classics well, and provides a stylish hangout spot for locals. We suggest grabbing your friends and booking in a catch up at The Mill on a Sunday to make the most of their delicious Sunday roast.
59B Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
This month, The Big Bake will open its doors to Sydneysiders, launching boozy baking classes; a city first. Get your aprons and piping bags ready and your mates together for the ultimate bake-off. If you love Cake Wars, Masterchef and Sugar Rush, now is your chance to feature in your own baking competition. With a complimentary glass of bubbles on arrival and a bar shaking up some tasty cocktails, creativity will be flowing, along with the drinks.
Shop MG23, 60 Margaret Street, Sydney
Best New Bars in Sydney: January
For South American fare and tequila-infused drinks, look no further than Chippendale's Cartel. Vibrant in look and feel, this bar and eatery is wowing patrons with its fun and inventive food and drink offerings. From margarita tasting paddles, towers and trees, to moreish empanadas and churros, your average dinner will transform into a fiesta.
2 Kensington Street, Chippendale
This Freshwater icon has unveiled its highly-anticipated refurbishment, and the locals are loving it! Located just moments away from the beach, the iconic Harbord Hotel encapsulates Freshwater’s rich history and young spirit, offering a laidback haven for Freshie locals.
29 Moore Road, Freshwater
Opening on the bustling corner of Bourke and Cleveland Streets in Redfern, this appropriately named local neighbourhood bar and restaurant serves up modern Aus fare. With plates of delicious produce done simply with maximum flavour, and killer wines, spirits and brews to match, Arms Length provides the perfect locale for sundowners.
648 Bourke Street, Redfern
Located in charming Potts Point, Sopra provides a cosy space for patrons to come for cocktails, wine and small eats. A great place to relax with a drink and snacks without having to order full meals, the delicious menu is built around Spanish influences and small tapas-style share plates. Combine this with their extensive wine list and you have got yourself the ultimate aperitivo hour hangout.
Shop 4, 65 Macleay Street, Potts Point