From rooftop vibes to post-prohibition Champagne decadence, 2018 welcomed all kinds of wondrous new watering holes to the city. Want to know which ones made the cut? Whether you’re after cocktails and a boogie or wine with a beautiful view, these are the bars to score a spot at before before 2019 rolls past.
Paramatta's newest cocktail and Champagne bar Nick & Nora's is an ode to post-prohibition decadence. Sitting pretty on the 26th floor of the V by Crown building, this rooftop oasis provides the perfect setting for a cocktail or two overlooking the western skyline. The signature list of cocktails and Champagnes are accompanied by an impressive selection of whiskies and cognacs, that pair well with their raw bar and charcuterie board bites.
Level 26/45 Macquarie St, Parramatta
Surry Hills yakitori diner Tokyo Bird has opened up a cocktail and katsu bar, Bancho, in the heart of China Town. The laneway hotspot boasts a heroic drinks offering, drawing inspiration from the Oriental East – think dragonfruit, sugar cane and holy basil infusions. Just like their sister venue, the bar food is equally as impressive with bao, skewers and pork crackling taking centre stage.
10 Thomas Lane, Haymarket
Another slick rooftop hangout, at Old Mate’s Place you'll find the best of both worlds: inside – a well-hidden, stately drinking den, and outside –a bright, sun-drenched open-air bar. This two-floor juxtaposed venue serves up a broad range of signature and classics cocktails, along with a well-stocked back bar that will please the most discerning beverage elitist. Don't worry about eating before your visit, you'll be more than satisifed with the rotating menu of unique bar morsels.
Level 4/199 Clarence St, Sydney
Sydney waterside venue, The Woolwich Pier Hotel, has officially opened after a stunning redesign, now offering a new modern French-brasserie with a Japanese twist. The new look venue now has a contemporary, casual elegance with a refreshing coastal feel, capitalising on its gorgeous harbourside location, whilst respecting the building's old-school heritage. The new wine list heavily features Australian and New Zealand wineries, with the exception of French Champagne and a selection of standout Italian wines. The cocktail list follows suit by delivering balanced, delicious and unique flavours, with a dedicated spritz offering sure to be enjoyed over the coming summer months.
2 Gale St, Woolwich
A staple on the Sydney bar scene since 1992, the Greenwood Hotel has recently undergone a glamorous overhaul. The introduction of fresh and earthy elements, like greenery and indoor foliage, along with custom steel lighting features and a sculptural piece for the iconic Chapel Bar give the venue a new lease on life. The menu and drinks have also been refreshed with restaurant quality eats and signature cocktails, incorporating fresh flavours like aloe vera.
36 Blue St, North Sydney
For contemporary Japanese eats and creative cocktails, Slims Rooftop is where it's at. Sitting atop Hyde Park House overlooking the CBD, Slims' is a gastronomic oasis providing Sydneysiders refuge high above the city streets. Open for lunch and dinner throughout the week, make sure to book to avoid missing out.
47-49 William Street, Darlinghurst
Bonnie's is an intimate wine bar that calls the Bondi Beach Public Bar home. Just like it's sister venue The Dolphin Hotel with it's wine room, Bonnie's is its own space and serves up Australian vino and moreish bar bites. With street murals adorning the walls and the punk rock soundtrack, Bonnie knows how to get the party started.
150 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach
Calling opulent hotel The Langham home, Observatory Bar is Sydney's latest hotel drinking spot. With interiors that are equal parts moody and luxurious, Observatory Bar takes its inspiration from the stars. Beautifully poured cocktails and share-style dishes brings together astronomical curiosity and five-star quality. If anyone knows how to do luxe, then it's definitely The Langham.
89-113 Kent St, Millers Point
Renowned New York bar Employees Only are set to open an outpost in Sydney next month. There haven't been too many details divulged but you can expect the team to stick to what they do well – creative cocktails, beautiful design, and a well-rounded menu.
9 Barrack Street, Sydney
Opened last November, Bopp & Tone is a tribute to the Applejack founders’ grandfathers, Keith ‘Bopp’ Evans and Anthony ‘Tone’ Adams. This luxe, designer eatery is also a fully fledged bar. Following the same ethos as the food, the concise cocktail list features popular classic cocktails showcasing Australian ingredients and Mediterranean charm. And the wine list champions sustainable drops from Australian and abroad. Situated at Wynyard, Bopp & Tone is the perfect after-work watering hole.
60 Carrington Street, Sydney
When you get to this gloriously green venue, go up three floors until you get to the Rooftop. Welcome to the north side’s newest – and chicest – drinking den. As you watch the waves roll into the shore, sip on a spritz or the bulletproof espresso martini (this is Manly) or work your way through the wine list. Peckish? You can order snacks from the ground-floor eatery, Greenhouse. PS. The Rooftop is a kid-free zone.
36-38 South Steyne, Manly
Is rum your tipple of choice? Head on over to Brix, Sydney’s only dedicated rum distillery, which threw open its doors in late August. The shelves are stacked with more than 150 rums from around the world, along with Brix’s own range, all of which are ready to be served on the rocks or turned into tropical cocktails. If you want to learn more about the spirit, flag down the expert who roves the bar with a rum trolley.
350 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Round up the squad and check out this speakeasy, which is nestled behind some bookshelves on Newtown’s King Street. Its prime real estate aside, the two-storey bar is beautiful, with raw brick walls, leather couches, low-hanging lights and neon signs. Start by sipping on cocktails, craft beers and organic wines and snacking on cured meats and fried chicken wings, before heading upstairs, where live bands will play twice a week.
169 King Street, Newtown
Nothing screams Sydney more than kicking back with a beer in the sun – and we’ve just found our new Sunday session spot. This brewery is just settling into Surry Hills, but it’s becoming a fast favourite thanks to its chill vibe and award-winning lineup of craft beers and ciders. They’re all named for Sydney suburbs: there’s the Glamarama Summer Ale, the Pittwater Bitter and the Darlo Dark. Stay close to home or branch out over the bridge; it’s up to you!
28 Albion Street, Surry Hills
Why stick to one thing when you can try a little bit of everything? That’s the motto behind Bar Topa, a pocket-sized Spanish pintxos bar in the CBD. The bar serves drinks as half-pours, so you can taste-test the (superb) sangria, cocktails and wines at your whim. As for food, the menu is made up of bite-sized delights, like sliced jamon, salted cod, croquettes and cuttlefish.
4 Palings Lane, Sydney
Pyrmont’s Quarryman’s Hotel caught out attention with its refresh last year, and now we have another reason to visit. The Rooftop is now open for business, and it’s a beauty. Inspired by Palm Springs, it’s all pastels, timber floors, plush furnishings and lush greenery, plus a cacti garden on each table (naturally). The cocktail list is excellent, too. We like the Palma Rosa, a mix of tequila blanco, rose, ruby grapefruit juice and ginger syrup.
214-216 Harris Street, Pyrmont
Just when we thought the Paramount House Hotel complex had it all, it added a wine bar-slash-restaurant. After more than two years of buzz and build-up, Poly is finally open. The laidback industrial interiors match the menu, which is made up of 20 wines by the glass, 10 sakes and 8 cocktails, including the bar’s spin on a Negroni with a splash of tequila. Unlike its sister venue, Ester, the food here is meant to be eaten with your hands.
74-76 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills
Bondi’s newest all-day-dining bistro and beach club, taking residence within Campbell Parade’s Pacific building, delivers a unique offering to the fabric of Bondi’s social and dining landscape. Having recently opened to the public in August, The Pacific Club Bondi Beach exemplifies the best in modern Australian dining, beverage and hospitality, with an open kitchen, complete with customised wood fire grill and raw bar, and a beautiful indoor-outdoor dining room that is equal parts inviting and chic. The menu celebrates local and Australian native produce and the seafood offering is something to be marvelled.
182 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Led by one of Sydney’s top sommelier’s, She Loves You is Sophie Otton’s new wine bar on Newtown’s bustling King Street. The intimate venue maintains much of its original features with a led-light frontage and wood used throughout. The wine and cocktail list at She Love You draws on boutique, Australian producers and has been curated with affordability in mind.
530 King Street, Newtown
Upping Marrickville’s bar scene, Poor Toms Gin have opened the doors to their distillery bar. A botanical lovers haven, Poor Toms Gin Hall serves their famed spirits with signature cocktails rotated weekly. This warehouse distillery bar is adorned in hanging greenery and has a warm vibe. For Inner West locals, this is the place to have a refreshing G&T.
6 Chalder Avenue, Marrickville
Calling the The Orient home, Mrs Jones is a beautiful, open-air oasis. Following on from the paddock to plate ethos of the historic pub, Mrs Jones food offering, and well-edited cocktail and wine menus aim to deliver quality. Although on-trend with its botanic inspired murals and scattered greenery, like The Orient, Mrs Jones retains a sense of the its history.
1 Kendall Lane, The Rocks
The team behind Icebergs and The Dolphin have opened the Bondi Beach Public Bar, a gastropub that has serious Bondi-cool vibes. They took inspiration from 70’s-80’s pub culture and translated that for a modern audience. So, in true Maurice Terzini style, expect beautiful design, quality food and delicious aperitifs.
180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Chachi’s knows exactly what it’s about, ‘gritty yet pretty’. Influenced heavily by the 80’s, think neon fluorescent lighting and graffiti art, this dive bar has gained popularity since opening due to its kitschy vibe and out-there cocktails. Do yourself a favour and indulge in a jaffle paired with one of their signature sours.
218 William Street, Woolloomooloo
First opening in 1841 and last operating three decades ago, Pyrmont’s historic Terminus Hotel has been revamped. Retaining its original charm, the menu has been crafted by celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge, the public bar serves local, craft beers and Vera’s Cocktail Lounge provides the luxury vibe. Pop down for a Sunday session and take your cocktail to the courtyard.
61 Harris Street, Pyrmont
This enduring watering-hole has been given new life by the Merivale Group. Drawing inspiration from the coastal scenery, The Collaroy is a multi-level venue fitted out with floor to ceiling windows, nostalgic seaside artwork across the walls and wooden furnishings. Head to the top floor for the best view while you indulge in the menu.
1064 Pittwater Road, Collaroy
Giving life to its historic digs, this ex-boarding house and opium den is now a cosy underground bar called The Doss House. With a range of over 150 whiskies, you can decide to pair their drink with a delectable morsel from the share plate menu. This character-filled bar is a must-visit for history buffs, whisky enthusiasts and bar lovers alike.
77 – 79 George Street, The Rocks
Occupying the old home of the infamous Kit & Kaboodle, Boogie Mountain has emerged and is set to re-invigorate Kings Cross nightlife. Dubbed as a 70’s inspired rock bar, this late-night watering hole serves $10 cocktails, and a range of local and international beer and cider. Open Thursday through Saturday, this bar is perfect for an after-dinner drink and boogie.
Level 2, 33-35 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point
Dedicated to upholding Sydney’s rich history and the art of champagne appreciation, Solera Bar is a luxury hideaway. This beautifully decorated small bar serves rare champagnes and boasts a curated list of delectable cocktails. Couple this with delicious grazing boards and a selection of high-end cigars, you cannot ask for a more decadent experience.
36 Hickson Road, Millers Point