Whether you’re in the mood for a rowdy trivia night, a catch-up with friends or you’re just not in the mood to think about cooking dinner, these are the establishments to escape to for a drink and a moment of peace on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.
The Greens, North Sydney
The Public, Cammeray
The Stoned Crow, Crows Nest
Blues Point Hotel, McMahons Point
Kirribilli Hotel, Kirribilli
The Rag & Famish, North Sydney
The Oaks, Neutral Bay
The Commodore, McMahons Point
The Greens, North Sydney
An oldie (we’re talking first licensed premise on Sydney’s north shore) but a goodie, The Blues Point Hotel is a much-loved watering-hole that still draws a crowd, especially since their recent refurbishment. A new bar, sports bar, outdoor terrace and open fireplaces have all been beautifully designed as gathering spots, be it for a casual catch up with friends or a leisurely lunch from the bistro. They like to mix things up with weekly specials, trivia night and Super Saturday’s, $12 jugs from 2-5pm.
116 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point
This local pub just around the corner from the Sydney Harbour Bridge does family dining, functions and low-key lounging like it’s no big deal. Tables on the indoor-outdoor terrace are highly sought after, and on Wednesdays the pub is brimming with trivia aficionados hoping to score the monthly jackpot. Happy hour from 5-7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays means you can sample the craft beer of the month for just $6 before settling in for a bistro meal.
37 Broughton Street, Kirribilli
As any true Mosman local knows, an evening spent drinking in 2088 is incomplete without paying a visit to The Buena. The recently renovated venue has proved to be a bastion of fine dining, cemented by the recent addition of Bistro Moncur on the ground floor. The downstairs Buena Bar has remained true to its roots as an old-world watering hole for locals to swill ale, a fine wine or an inventive cocktail. Upstairs, the Vista Bar’s bright, open ambience is just the place for a big Saturday lunch over woodfired pizzas and a carafe of Buena Punch ($30) with rosé, Cointreau, passionfruit, fresh lime and lemonade.
76 Middle Head Road, Mosman
A sprawling terrace and outstanding food and drinks menu has given The Commodore the mantle of one of the Lower North Shore’s most revered institutions. trivia nights, food and drink specials and regular events make The Commodore a humming place to visit any night of the week for a quick drink or a long boozy dinner. A broad range of classic and house-designed cocktails are a must, while the wine and beer selection features a mix of local Australian and international labels. FYI, you can score a magnum of Mumm Cordon Rouge on Thursday nights from 5-6pm for just $100.
206 Blues Point Road, McMahons Point
Arguably boasting the best beer garden Sydney has to offer, it’s hard to go past a Sunday session settled beneath the twinkling lights bedazzling the pub’s infamous Oak tree. This sizeable pub has an ambience to suit every occasion; a chic Hampton’s style garden pavilion for romantic seclusion, a rustic yet handsome Bar & Grill room to settle in for a glass of red and 200g grain fed eye fillet ($35) and a sleek front bar to wile-away the hours over a cocktail or two. Bring the girls for your next catch up over a carafe of the Oaks Punch ($30) with vodka, lychees, mint, passionfruit and cranberry juice – you won’t want to leave.
118 Military Road, Neutral Bay
With bucket loads of rustic charm, The Stoned Crow in Crows Nest doesn’t have to try hard to earn its effortlessly cool stripes. Dinner specials run from Monday-Saturday night meaning that your meal doesn’t have to break the bank. Unrivalled in the happy hour stakes, The Stoned Crow’s $10 cocktail happy hour runs from 9pm every night of the week. We know, impressive. The fairy floss martini was born to be instagrammed, while the Mia Cantina with apricot infused brandy, fresh grapefruit and tequila is uber refreshing.
39 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
Built in 1860, this time-tested pub has consistently ensured that the Lower North Shore’s residents are never without a homey old-school establishment to indulge in a beer or two. While the Public Bar has retained it’s charismatic, timber-laden charm, the modern back terrace is perfect for a quick lunch in the sun or to sit back and enjoy live music played every Thursday and Friday evening. If karaoke is your thing, be sure to arrive by 9:30pm on Saturday night and loosen up those vocal chords with a glass of bubbles and a bite to eat in the restaurant upstairs.
199 Miller Street, North Sydney
This North Sydney venue has taken the tired (yet still much loved) concept of the Bowling Club and transformed it into an activity and destination. Live music is provided every Friday from 6pm, and for only $20 per adult you can get involved for 2 hours while sipping on a few energising refreshments. If committing to one wine isn’t your cup of tea (so to speak), try The Greens wine ‘tie break’ ($32) which is a flight of four 100ml glasses of your choosing (of those listed by the glass).
50 Ridge Street, North Sydney
Intimate, homely and a gorgeous garden courtyard, the Small Bar is definitely date night material or a catch up with your bestie. They like to keep things simple here, wines by the glass and boutique beer paired. It’s easy to be tempted by the sliders, shared plates, cheeseboards and snacks, but come Monday, you will be stopping by for Mexican Mondays - $2.50 tacos and $5 taco beer, or Two Pizza Tuesday’s for $20.
85 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
This infamous North Sydney venue has been looking after locals’ breakfast, lunch and dinner for years and they definitely know how to get it right. A premium cocktail list and contemporary Australian menu provides the perfect excuse to settle in for a session at this buzzing haunt. A favourite for a quick drink after work, their range of craft beers and wines from Australia and across the globe will put you in a good place instantly. With a strict no-TV policy, this place encourages chatter and makes for an ideal setting for a catch-up or business meeting.
60 Miller Street, North Sydney
When it comes to drinking establishments, The Public. may be on the smaller side, but this bar-slash-restaurant has been a welcomed addition to the Lower North Shore bar scene. Chic and fresh décor, open layout and oh so good Mediterranean dishes are designed to be shared, or not, the choice is yours. The window seats that look out onto Miller Street are highly prized for people watching and lingering over a cocktail or two.
429 Miller Street, Cammeray
Like any good establishment would do, the Kirribilli Club capitalise on its location – vistas overlooking Lavender Bay and the Harbour Bridge. The bars and restaurants boast panoramic views, and the Watergrill Restaurant has balcony seating for those leisurely weekend lunches that turn into cocktails come sunset. There is happy hour every Tuesday and Thursday, free pool all day Sunday, but really, who can so no to the fresh cocktails in a 1L jug for $20 every Friday and Saturday?
11 Harbourview Crescent, Lavender Bay
Affectionately known as The Longy, this Lane Cove institution oozes ambiance – a lounge bar, open fire place, chic dining rooms and a sundrenched garden terrace (a year-round hangout) with an outdoor bar. To top it all off, The Longy is renowned for its pub fare, especially the “Longy” cheeseburger ($22). And like every good pub, The Longy has regular Poker and Trivia Nights for those who like a bit of friendly competition.
80 Longueville Road, Lane Cove
Better known as ‘The Bridgey’, this newly refurbished hotel on Willoughby Road has a perfectly positioned rooftop courtyard to take full advantage of the autumn sun. A chic Bistro and Public Bar ooze laidback Bahamas style, and the classic pub fare is as easy-going as the ambience. A Voyager Estate Cabernet Merlot will round out the meal nicely ($12) and it would be rude to turn down an espresso martini for dessert ($18).
580 Willoughby Road, Willoughby