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11 of our favourite bars in and around Sydney’s CBD

From low-key cocktail haunts loved by locals to famous must-visit bars when in Sydney.
By Ella Sangster


FROM THE HARBOUR to the beaches, when it comes to picking out a perfect bar, Sydneysiders are truly spoilt for choice.

Whether you’re after a debaucherous, prohibition-era joint, a classic cocktail haunt, or venue with a view, there truly is something for everyone. Ahead, discover BAZAAR’s tried-and-tested edit of the best bars in and around the Sydney CBD.

Related: Best restauraunts to indulge in when in Sydney

O Bar

Level 47, Australia Sqaure, Sydney CBD


If you’re keen to take in the glorious sights that Sydney has to offer, what better way to do so than from 47 floors up in the air? No, we aren’t talking about the Harbour Bridge Climb, but rather O Bar, the luxurious rotating space inside Australia Square.

Situated in the heart of the city, the ambient bar completes a full 360-degree rotation in just under an hour, so you can take in the sights, from the sea to the beautiful blue mountains, while sipping on expertly crafted cocktails. Our top tip: head on up around an hour before dusk to watch the sun set over the mountains and the city light up beneath. Whether you’re a local or only swinging by for a night, stopping in for a drink at O Bar is a must when in Sydney.

Old Mate’s Place

199 Clarence St, Sydney CBD


When it comes to hospitality, Old Mate’s Place is perhaps Sydney’s worst-kept secret. With entry situated on the fourth floor of an unassuming brick building on Clarence Street, the “secret bar” requires you to find your way up a narrow stairwell and past a massage parlour and hair salon to get there. But trust us, it is well worth the slight journey up. The luxe bar is spread across two levels. The first, a cozy art-deco-style space packed in with leather booths, old books and wooden accents. The second, a rooftop, lined with greenery and boasting an upward view of Centrepoint Tower.

While there are plenty of beer and wine options to enjoy, Old Mate’s Place really specialises in cocktails. They also have a fabulous house gin, a personal favourite, and a selection of olives, cheeses and deli meats to enjoy. Just make sure you get in early — the bar is a favourite among Sydneysiders and is almost always packed out within hours of opening.

Hyde Hacienda

61 Macquarie Street, Circular Quay

hacienda best bars in sydney

Perched just above the bustling thoroughfare of Circular Quay sits Hyde Hacienda Bar & Lounge. Accessed through Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, the bar is a folliage-filled oasis that offers a relaxing space to escape the busy quay below, while still offering an impeccable view of the harbour.

Executive Chef, Steven Hartert has also curated a delicious South American-style menu, so you can enjoy a hearty meal alongside a few of their signature bespoke cocktails (and the view).

Earl’s Juke Joint

407 King St, Newtown


If you walk past the Betta Meats butchers on the southern end of Newtown’s King St, look carefully and you might notice an ’18s and over’ sign hanging in the window. This is because Betta Meats is not really Betta Meats at all. Rather, the inconspicuous building is home to Earl’s Juke Joint, a saloon-style bar with a cozy, worn-in feel.

Spend your evening sipping on craft brews and classic cocktails at the tiumber bar, while ’90s hip hop, swampy rock and blues fill the air. Earl’s really is the Inner West’s own little slice of New Orleans, strongly contending fir the title of the coolest bar in what is often regarded as one of the city’s most hip suburbs.

Papa Gede’s

Laneway 348 Kent St, Sydney CBD


Let the spirits guide you to Papa Gede’s, an eclectic cocktail haunt dedicated to “the spirit of lust, laughter and cocktails” that is worth a trip for the experience as much as it is the drinks.

Located in the back of an unassuming, cobblestoned laneway just off Kent St, the award-winning absinthe bar has a friendly neighbourhood vibe and is infused with “the spirit of witch doctor apothecary.” While the absinthe cocktails are their trademark (and a must-try), there are also craft beers and wines available.

Tequila Mockingbird

6 Heeley St, Paddington

  best bars in sydney

If you’re in search of Sydney’s best margarita, head on over to Tequila Mockingbird in Paddington’s Five Ways. Spread across two levels in a restored terrace, the Latin American fusion restaurant is a cozy space to enjoy a flavoursome bite to eat alongside a drink from their expansive tequila meno, which includes an array of Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, Mezcal and more. If you can make it for a Sunday Session it is well worth it, with Classic Margaritas and Tequila Mockingbird cocktails for $12, every Sunday between 12-3pm.

Fortunate Son

105 Enmore Rd, Newtown


With taglines such as “small on size, big on good times,” and “cool drinks, warm service,” it is no surprise that Fortunate Son is one of the most coveted venues among Newtown locals. The delightfully pokey space on Enmore Road is home to a drinks list over 300 bottles strong, with tequila, gin and whiskys hand-picked by co-owners Jason Crawley and Dylan Howarth, who have quite the impressive international bartending resume. Pass through the neon lights and take a seat on one of the vinyl stools to enjoy your spirits neat or in one of their signature cocktails.

The Butler

123 Victoria St, Potts Point


Discover a slice of Ibero-America just outside of the city centre at The Butler, a hidden oasis nestled amongst the backstreets of Potts Point. Alongside a zesty, South American-inspired food menu curated by head chef Amber Doig, you will find extensive cocktail, wine and beer menus (if you need a recommendation turn to the Hidden Agenda, a Jalapeño infused Illegal Mezcal, Aperol, lime, falernum).

Enjoy your drinks and a meal among the foliage and sandstone elements that decorate the space, recalling the Ibero influence. Oh, and if you weren’t already convinced, The Butler boasts a panoramic view of the Sydney city skyline from its terrace.

Palmer & Co

Abercrombie Lane, Sydney CBD


Merivale’s wide selection of venues scattered across the city each have their own selling points, but Palmer & Co., an underground prohibition-style bar tucked away in the CBD. Entered through a nondescript door in an alleyway beneath the city streets, the bar celebrates “a time when booze was banned, yet free-flowing,” transporting you to another time and place through its decor, which pays homage to the era of refined debauchery.

While cocktails form the primary focus, Palmer & Co. also have a wide selection of spirits and champagnes to enjoy, and their knowledgable staff are always on hand to help you pick your perfect poison.

Bondi Icebergs

1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach


This may seem an obvious choice, but despite its popularity we can assure you that Bondi Icebergs lives up to its hype.

After an afternoon spent swimming at the city’s most iconic beach, peel yourself off the sand and head on up to Icebergs, the iconic white building at Bondi’s southern end. The bar can be found top floor, boasting a drinks list of seasonally changing cocktails that is almost as impressive as it’s expansive ocean views. Relax with a casual bite to eat while soaking in the luxe surrounds — the perfect end to a hot summer’s day (or way to warm up on a cold winter’s one).

Maybe Sammy

115 Harrington St, The Rocks


Maybe Sammy has ranked among the best bars in the world, let alone Sydney, from 2019-2022 (among a slew of other awards). Accordingly, it would be remiss of you to skip it during a stop in Sydney. The bar takes inspiration for the ’50s Rat Pack and Old Hollywood glamour, creating a high-roller vibe to enjoy while sipping on signature cocktails and listening to jazz and swing.