Friday, April 01, 2011

Wondering Where to Drink in Sydney? Some Bar Recommendations For You

One of the questions I'm asked most often (other than "Why are you such an asshole?") is where people should go and get hammered. Even with colleagues I barely know, I seem to have a bit of a reputation for being a hard core boozer who is disturbingly familiar with the bar scene in Sydney. As such, I tend to keep a list of bars handy that I can just forward around to people, and I figured why not share it here since I really have nothing of interest to blog about today.

Click on the map to see where all of the bars are, and my personal thoughts on each one are listed below.

View Recommended Bars in Sydney in a larger map

Pocket Bar – Easily one of my favourites, and easier to find than some of the others, always end up chatting to cool people here

The CommonsSame strip as Pocket Bar, with a great wine list and some good cocktails. I find it a bit dark and maybe too mellow for my liking, but everyone else seems to love it

Shady Pines Saloon – I was skeptical about this place when I was told it had a American western theme, but it’s really laid back and attracts a cool crowd (should warn you it’s almost impossible to find, but it’s a stone’s throw from Pocket Bar)

Sticky Bar – Ridiculously cool place, also somewhat difficult to find as the unmarked entrance is down an alley (unless you try to get in through the entrance to Table for 20 on Campbell St, but they don’t like that), and the bar staff are highly entertaining

Winery – Definitely more mainstream than any of the others but it’s still quality. You’ll definitely see more attitude here, but the good food and people watching might be worth it

Ching-a-lingsGreat place but important to note it’s a bar you don’t really go to until after 9pm, otherwise it’ll be half empty. There’s even an outdoor area in the back (which is great to grab a table if you show up early). Oh and even though the address is on “Little Oxford St” laneway, you actually enter through a door labeled ‘Urban Tanning’ on Oxford St just up the street from the Colombian. (First time we tried to find it we ended up in some dingy brothel – awkward)

Hunky Dory Social Club – Currently my favourite new bar in Sydney, they have a great outdoor area on the top floor, and the level below is decent as well and has a good balcony. (There’s also an Italian restaurant at street level but I don’t know enough people that have eaten there to say if it’s any good.) Note: Top floor closes at 10pm, and despite the awesome music and dancing, the bar closes at midnight. Fringe Bar isn’t too far up Oxford Street if you want to keep dancing and make it a late one

Lo-Fi – This one is the old ‘Middle Bar’, above Kinsela’s. They’ve given it a lot more character than it had before, and the music is great if you’re into old school hip hop and R&B. Lots of space and a great balcony that overlooks Taylor Square. There was an art gallery on the top floor but not sure if it’s open at the moment

Eau-de-Vie – Hidden in the back of the ground floor of the Kirketon Hotel (you actually have to go through doors that seem to be to the restrooms), they have great cocktails and service. Pretty pricey though, so bring plenty of cash or credit

The Passage – Very chill early on, but fills up eventually. Great Spanish tapas to snack on as well. Has three sections with different feels to it: the restaurant, the bar, and the lounge in between. Long and narrow, you can enter from either Darlinghurst Rd or Victoria St

Love, Tilly Devine – Tiny place down a couple of alleyways off William Street, great wine selection (the staff are really good with recommendations too), and didn’t try the food but it looked and smelled great 

Grasshopper – This one is actually in the city but has the Melbourne laneway bar feel to it. Only drawback is that there isn’t really anywhere similar nearby to go (other than maybe Small Bar on Erskine St), so you often stumble into somewhere awful like the Ivy afterwards. Note: The food upstairs is BRILLIANT, you’ll need a reservation though

Grandma’s – A newer addition to the small city bars, it’s small (and probably too crowded on Friday nights to be honest), but has a great vibe and really friendly staff. Good music as well, and I recommend the punch

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