Closed off from bustling Hunter Street, this dark, sultry speakeasy seems worlds away from Newcastle's laidback, beachside vibe. Part of the small bar scene, bartenders at The Koutetsu masterfully craft cocktails, and word on the street is that the folks behind The Koutetsu did the entire fitout in-house themselves.
Located within Manly stalwart The Steyne, Glasshouse, is a rooftop gin and tonic bar high above The Corso. Bright, airy and floral, the venue is fitted out with wood furnishings and oversized windows, allowing maximum light. The gin menu is paired with botanicals and infusions, and the food is tapas-style.
Open late Thursday to Saturday, Sketch Bar is an intimate wine and cocktail bar perfect for an after-work drink. Specialising in milk bun burgers, there are plenty to choose from that feature their moorish secret house sauce. The drinks menu delivers a solid offering and the cocktails reign supreme, from classics to innovative creations.
What was once the neighbourhood milkshake counter, local institution The Rio is the go-to small bar in Summer Hill. This converted milkbar is equal parts cool and nostalgic, maintaining elements of its Greek-influenced history. The exposed brick, blue accents and wall art pair perfectly with refined cocktail and bar bites menu.
The Temperance Society
The Temperance Society is cosy, small bar in the Summer Hill Village. Focused on bringing together the best in local produce, expect to see beer from Young Henry's and Batch Brewing, and pickles and relishes courtesy of Cornersmith. Perfect for a date night or after work drink, the bar is open everyday.
Howlin' Wolf Whiskey Bar Wollongong
The Howling Wolf Bar is the local authority on whiskey and with a line-up of live music, you’re basically guaranteed a good night out here. Don’t worry, whiskey isn’t all that these guys get right – the cocktail list is definitely worth a look in too.
If you like gin, you’ll love Middlebar, a Cuban-inspired bar with an impressive array of gins to choose from, as well as botanicals and colourful cocktails. Local and international DJs provide the soundtrack for the dancefloor, which is lively until 3am on weekends. Hungry? You can order a feast of fresh, juicy dumplings from Johnny Wong downstairs.
The Noble Hops
If beer is your beverage of choice, you’ll discover some new favourites at The Noble Hops. The small bar specialises in craft beer, and boasts over 100 brews from around the world. It has a ‘try before you buy’ policy, so you can sample beers before settling on one. Peckish? You can order pizzas in from La Coppola.
The Grifter Brewing Co.
This lofty warehouse space is home to both the brewery and bar, where you can nestle into a lounge or loiter by the pool table as you sip on the house’s very own Pale Ale. At The Grifter Brewing Co. the selection of the Brewery's creations are available alongside beers from other brewers, and while the food is limited to snacks the venue plays host to pop-ups.
Perched above restaurant One Penny Red, Vernon's Bar is a dark and sultry watering hole. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, the atmosphere lends itself perfectly to a friendly catch up or romantic date night. The welcoming service, weekly specials and delicious cocktails keep drawing in a crowd.
Coal & Cedar
An eclectic speakeasy that requires a secret entry code, and has a strict no-phone call policy once inside. Coal & Cedar's bartenders are at the top of their game, working in a dimly lit space, crafting cocktails to your taste (literally) and you’ll quickly learn their whiskey knowledge is second to none.
This late-night parlour serves up well-priced drinks and pizza until 3am Wednesday to Thursday and 6am Friday to Saturday. With regular events and one-off experiences locked in during the week, Slyfox has something for every musical persuasion. The bar's inviting atmosphere is down to the friendly team behind the bar and the cool retro fit-out.
Bang Bang Izakaya Bar
Enter through the bullet-sprayed roller doors into the open kitchen, and experience Bang Bang's authentic Japanese street-style food. Not your average izakaya, the fun doesn't stop with their delectable share plates and cocktail offering. To get amongst the action grab a stool behind the curtains of the yatai stall, or escape the hustle and bustle in the hidden traditional tatami room. For the more advenuturous, sing your heart out in the glass karaoke box.
Tucked away on Pailings Lane, Merivale's Bar Topa is a Spanish-style tapas bar. Inspired by the social experience of dining tapas-style, Bar Topa is as authentic as they come; from the vibrant atmosphere to the traditional flavours. Popular with the 9 to 5 set, Bar Topa's selection of small bites and dishes cooked on 'la plancha' are perfect for an after-work visit.
The iconic Customs House serves as the backdrop for Quay Bar. Before they hop on the ferry home, the corporate crowd loosens its ties to enjoy a drink in the sunny outdoor plaza. The bar also serves bistro snacks and bigger plates, and creative cocktails. Marshmallow Colada, anyone?
With a prime corner position, Darlo Bar is a retro pub and a much-loved local haunt. Downstairs is strewn with fairy lights, and marked by cosy couches, pool tables and chilled-out music. Upstairs, you’ll find an open-air courtyard with a rooftop garden, plants climbing the walls, and a DJ on the decks on weekends.
Royal Oak Hotel
Along Bay Street in leafy Double Bay, the Royal Oak Hotel is an enduring neighbourhood pub that ticks all the right boxes – a great terrace area, classic pub eats with weekly meal deals and Live DJs. There are multiple bars to choose from, each with their own chilled out vibes.
ESQUIRE Drink + Dine
A luxurious experience from the outset, just one visit to Esquire Drink & Dine and you'll fall in love instantly. Just upstairs from sister venue Reign, Esquire is darker and more mysterious in its approach – think dark wood interiors and moody lighting. For serious mixology buffs, look to the menu for their signature cocktails and their beautifully detailed descriptions – that reads more like a story than a drinks list. Feeling peckish? There is a decadent menu of small ...
The Wild Rover
The Wild Rover is Irish through-and-through, with a playful atmosphere and over 40 types of Irish whisky behind the bar. With dim lighting and exposed brick walls, the whisky den is cosy and rustic. The drinks are served in pewter mugs, and listed as ‘light’, ‘medium’ or ‘heavy’ on the menu so you know what you’re getting into.
Marquee Sydney, The Star
First Las Vegas and New York, and now Sydney. Located inside The Star, Marquee is a huge, glamorous nightclub with room for 1700 people. The party destination attracts big-name DJs and dance/urban music acts, such as Calvin Harris, Drake, Future and Bruno Mars. It also boasts VIP tables, bottle service and light shows.
Do Dee Paidang
Can you handle the heat? Do Dee Paidang is a fiery foodie haven, and the menu lists a few heat levels: from 'Devil' and 'Volcano' all the way to the burn-your-tongue 'Super Nova.' The eatery also offers a refreshing range of Thai iced teas to help you through your spicy meal.