A handful of character-filled watering holes are scattered throughout Sydney’s bar scene, each with a line-up of terrific concoctions and cosy fit outs. From barber to grandma-inspired bars, here are the best hidden bars Sydney has to offer.
With the interiors of a cosy underground bar, The Rook sits high on 56 York Street’s seventh floor. A bar that is full of juxtapositions, The Rook caters to both suits sipping champagne and hipsters drinking ciders. American-style burgers and generous salads sit alongside meals for those feeling fancy (order The Big Lobster). A casual post-work drink or character-filled date night is found here.
Level 7, 56-58 York Street, Sydney
Sewing machines and thread spools line the bar here. A constantly rotating cocktail menu is the star, with an impressive whisky collection sitting behind the bar. An Old Fashioned and Manhattan come highly recommended, and if you avoid ordering a snack, well, we’d be disappointed. Settle into a booth and devour American-style dishes of pork crackle and mac’n’cheese.
61 York Street, Sydney
Don’t let Betta Meats throw you off guard. Earl’s Juke Joint took over the former butcher’s years ago. Inspired by juke joints in America’s Deep South, Earl’s walls are lined with blues legends and the cocktails are dominated with bourbon and rum. Our recommendation? Order the Espresso Diabolique of bourbon, espresso and chocolate. It’s so popular it’s served on tap.
407 King Street, Newtown
Hidden down the corridor of Redfern Continental is a discreet door opening up a blast from the past. Gunther’s Dining Room feels like a ‘60s disco, with wooden panelled walls, green valour stools and vinyl chairs complimenting the mirror ball spinning from the ceiling. Settle in for a few cocktails and enjoy the sweet sounds of Johnny Cash, Nina Simone and Sam Cooke.
180 Redfern Street, Redfern
Make your way through a functioning barber shop to this hidden watering hole, where impressive cocktails, and extensive wine list and craft beers await. South Australian and French drops dominate the wine menu while Young Henry’s and Little Creatures keep craft beer lovers content. Pop in for a low-key drink, or a chop - or both. We recommend chop first, sip later.
89 York Street, Sydney
It’s unlikely you’ll stumble across PS40 accidentally, but it’s worth the search. In-house sodas are created with staples like smoked lemonade, bush tonic and blackstrap ginger. The chic and light-filled bar features a rotating list of 10 cocktails, which are the drawcard, and the food menu is designed to complement the drinks with crowd pleasers like charcuterie, pates and pickles.
2/40 King Street, Sydney
A watering hole that feels very much like Grandma’s home, just with more rum than usual. The kitsch venue, hidden down the stairs of a brick building offers a small beer and wine list with cocktails (mostly rum based) as the main player. The only thing rivalling the liquor concoctions are the jaffles, so make Grandma proud and order one.
275 Clarence Street, Sydney
Down a nondescript Darlinghurst lane, Love, Tilly Devine is a much-loved watering hole by Sydneysiders, so the location isn’t an issue. An elegant wine bar with exposed brick and dark detail offers an intimate drinking haunt with indulgent accompaniments like oysters and pate. The venue’s philosophy celebrates drinking to savour a drop, not to get drunk - so walk in knowing you'll respect this rule.
91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst