Oh the magical land of Oz! How I love you so. Any trip to Australia usually means a stop in Sydney. It’s airport is a hub of sorts and from the airpot it is very easy to take a train to the centre of it all. Sydney is a busy city full of professionals with a beautiful waterfront and great neighbourhoods to explore. On our last visit, we stayed in Surry Hills which is similar to The Mission in San Francisco, Fitzroy in Melbourne or Parkdale/Queen West in Toronto. Sydney has no shortage of great cocktails bars and awesome restaurants. Be warned though: oftentimes, you will spend a lot of time trying to find that great bar as most do not have the standard storefront that you may expect.
1/ Eau de Vie, 229 Darlinghurst Road Darlinghurst
Eau de Vie is a beautiful and classic cocktail bar located in the back of The Kirketon Hotel. The drinks here are incredible and the bartenders, oh the bartenders, are ridiculously good. Our experience of sitting at this bar is actually what partially inspired us to start Bartender Atlas. You can read more about that here. Start your Sydney Bar Hop by having a cocktail here.
2/ Nomad, 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills
Time to fuel up with a great meal and Nomad is a wonderful spot to do this. Try to get a seat at the bar, because we all know that it’s the best one in the house. While this isn’t a cocktail bar, the food here is incredible plus they have a great selection of Australian wines. When we ate here, it was one of the top three meals that we had had in the past six months. I’m still dreaming about it.
3/ Shady Pines Saloon, Shop 4, 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
Down a back alley and in through an inconspicuous door is where you will find Shady Pines. When you enter, you will be transformed to a whole new world. An American-style saloon in a dark alley of Sydney, why not?! The walls are covered in taxidermy (there is even a moose head!) and you are given a bowl of shelled peanuts when you order.
At this point, you can either get in a taxi or walk up to your next location. It’s about a thirty minute walk so it depends on how active or thirsty you are feeling.
4/ Bulletin Place, Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Place, Circular Quay
Down another alley and up some stairs is where you will find Bulletin Place. This bar is listed as one of the Best Bars in the World for obvious reasons. The ever-changing cocktail menu is written on a large sheet of paper hanging over the bar so you are best to order from it.
5/ The Barber Shop, 89 York Street
The Barber Shop is just that, a barber shop. To get to it’s cocktail bar, you enter through the shop. It’s a beautiful room where they offer classics, their own creations and a big selection of gins.
6/ The Baxter Inn, Basement, 152-156 Clarence Street
Across the back alley from the Barber Shop is The Baxter Inn. Once you find the door, walk down the stairs. You will immediately smell a damp basement smell, that for me took me back to my childhood. Once you swing open the door and you enter the bar, you think: THIS. IS. IT. In 2015 The Baxter Inn was ranked 6th in the World’s 50 Best Bars list. The Baxter has more kinds of whisky than you may ever see. It is a dream come true and is the perfect spot to pull up a stool at the end of the night.
Do you have any bars in Sydney to add to our list? Comment below.
Note: As with all Bar Hops, we are not encouraging getting inebriated. This is a list of great cocktail bars that we suggest visiting while in Sydney. We want you to have fun and play safe. Check out How to Do a Good Bar Hop for some hot tips.