The Best Bars in Sydney’s CBD

Bars, Drink, Sydney / 28 February 2023

On the hunt for the best tipples our city has to offer? Consult this ultimate guide.

Whether it has been a long day in the office, or you’re looking for a night out in the big smoke, the CBD boasts plenty of bars to help blow off some steam. From the underground speakeasy to the panoramic rooftop, we’ve curated the finest drinking establishments our city has to offer.

The Charles Bar

Nestled next to the Grand Brasserie, The Charles Bar brings a sense of neighbourhood into the hustle and bustle of the CBD. It’s a chic and moody all-day dining cafe and bar, serving breakfast and long lunches with an impressive 600+ wine list. You can also order cocktails by Jonothan Carr (The Gidley), designed to complement The Charles’ elegance – try the Reverse Martini or classic sips like Margaritas and Old Fashioneds.

The Charles Bar, 66 King St, Sydney NSW 2000

Palmer & Co

Half the fun of going to Palmer & Co is the task of finding this hidden, underground bar. Beyond the unassuming door, a debaucherous world of 1920s glamour awaits. Toe-tapping live jazz tunes play five nights a week, with refined cocktails, charcuterie and cheese boards guaranteed to keep you there all night long.

Palmer & Co, Abercrombie Lane, Sydney, NSW, 2000

The Doss House

Tucked into one of the many tight folds of The Rocks is this moody whisky bar. The Doss House comes oozing with history, former tenants including a boot maker, boarding house and opium dealer. Curious? Here it’s all about whisky, with over 150 global varieties to choose from.

The Doss House, 77-79 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney


Inspired by love at first sight built from Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Apollina is a “Sicilian bandits’ drinking den” located in the basement of Hinchcliff House. The bar boasts an extensive spirits list, and classic favourites like negronis. There’s also delicious twists on Italian cocktails divided into chapters of Apollonia’s story.

Apollina, 5-7 Young St Basement Level, Sydney NSW 2000


Perched high above ground on Level 12 of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Zephyr comes with uninterrupted views of Darling Harbour, unique vermouth-inspired cocktails, specialty gin & tonics, and that wow-factor.

Zephyr, Hyatt Regency Sydney, Level 12, 161 Sussex St Sydney

Restaurant Hubert

This French restaurant needs no introduction. While many flock here for the full sit-down meal experience, an equally popular hangout is the upstairs wine bar. The 42-seater mezzanine space offers a strong selection of natural wines, thought-provoking cocktails and delicious nibbles.

Restaurant Hubert, Basement 15 Bligh Street, Sydney

Dean & Nancy On 22

Located inside the new luxury apartment hotel on Hunter Street, Dean and Nancy will be the place you go to have fun in a decadent and dramatic way. The bar motto is, “You’ve got to know the rules to break the rules”, and you can expect everything to be served with a side of witty and playful service.

Dean & Nancy on 22, 2 Hunter Street, Sydney

Cantina OK!

Could this be Sydney’s smallest bar? This shipping container-sized bar situated just off Clarence Street can accommodate a maximum of 20 people standing at any one time, with not a seat in sight. Head in for the impressive mezcal offering, cocktails and tight snacks list.

Cantina OK!, Council Place, Sydney, Open daily 4pm-2am.

The Duke of Clarence

Inspired by the refinement of 19th century England, this warmly lit bar is best described by co-owner Mike Enright as “a real English boozer”. It comes fitted out with a 12-metre long timber table, oak wood panelling, a library corner and a fireplace, not to mention plenty of booze!

The Duke of Clarence, Laneway 152 – 156, Clarence Street, Sydney

best cbd bars

Old Mate’s Place

This dark mahogany and leather rich bar and rooftop is fast becoming a CBD favourite. Don’t be fooled by the fancy, bookshelf lined interior, Old Mate’s boasts casual vibes, and a venue that is bound to be a great time.

Old Mates Place, Level 4/199 Clarence St, Sydney

Fix Wine Bar 

With a 250+ bottle wine list, focusing on small and unusual wines from around the globe, wine aficionados need to put this cosy CBD bar and restaurant on their list.

Fix Wine Bar, 111 Elizabeth Street Sydney

Bar 83

83 floors above Sydney CBD lies Bar 83, with a vibrant nod to retro decor. The 70’s inspired cocktail lounge rotates a seasonal cocktail menu, featuring locally sourced ingredients. With floor-to-ceiling windows, you can get a 260-degree glimpse of Sydney’s stunning cityscape. Relax, unwind and order a drink away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Bar 83, Sydney Tower, Westfield Sydney, Level 4/108 Market St, Sydney

Employees Only

Ever ordered a $27 Manhattan? You can at Employees Only, the New York bar is now open near Martin Place. Rest assured it’s possibly the best Manhattan cocktail in Sydney. Known for world class cocktails, fun occasional entertainment (hello burlesque dancers on the bar top) and a late night license (3am), Employees Only is one of the best CBD bars in Sydney for a quiet drink or a fun night out.

Employees Only, 9A Barrack Street, Sydney

Bar Topa

The ever growing Merivale empire welcomed this tiny and tantalising tapas bar to its portfolio back in mid July 2018. Fitting a maximum of 40 people at one time, stop for an aperitivo and stay for the Spanish-inspired eats.

Bar Topa, 4 Pailings Lane, Sydney

The Barber Shop

On the street front it’s another trendy barber shop in the middle of town. But walk through, past the barbers giving a clean and shave and you’ll enter a hidden bar. Gin is the hero here with over 300 different varieties plus plenty of other spirits, wines and cocktails. Outside the bar backs on to The Baxter Inn so you can bar hop without walking far.

The Barber Shop, 89 York St, Sydney

Menzies Bar

The ground floor of Shell House has opened, now home to Menzies Bar & Bistro. The Menzies Bar embraces new world and classic wines across an extensive list. In particular, you’ll find an array of organic, biodynamic and minimal intervention wines to try. Don’t go past the cocktail menu either, created exclusively through all 3 levels of Shell House.

Menzies Bar, 37 Margaret St, Sydney

Stitch Bar

This sub-level bar on York St is home to great cocktails, cosy booths, warm lighting and a striking bar lined with vintage Singer sewing machines. Stay for the American style dude food menu including hot wings, curly fries and fancy hot dogs.

Stitch Bar, 61 York St, Sydney

The Lobo Plantation

Walk downstairs into this underground bar and be transported to a vibrant party in the heart of the Caribbean. With rattan chairs and vintage furniture, banana palms and rum flights on offer you’re in for some fun at Lobo Plantation.

The Lobo Plantation, Basement, 209 Clarence St, Sydney

Uncle Mings

Could this be Sydney’s darkest bar? Hidden away off York Street, this underground watering hole is a sensory experience, complete with dim red lighting, a furry red carpet, pan-Asian inspired cocktails and mouth watering dumplings.

Uncle Mings, Lower Ground 55 York Street, Sydney

best cbd bars maybe sammy

Maybe Sammy

Styled in the theme of a fifties era hotel lobby cocktail bar, this CBD newcomer offers world class drinks, paired with a flare of theatrics. The bar menu offers a selection of light refreshments, whilst the cocktails are a spectacle of their own.

Maybe Sammy, 115 Harrington St, The Rocks, Sydney

best CBD bars kittyhawk


Step into the world of Paris circa 1944 and experience the old world charm of this beautiful bar and restaurant. French food, regular live music and of course Champagne will keep you coming back to KittyHawk.

Kittyhawk, 16 Phillip Lane, Sydney


PS40 is a boundary pushing, CBD bar that should top all drinks lovers hit list. PS40 is renowned for their creative drinks list featuring ingredients you won’t find at most other bars, great bar snacks, and awesome hospitality. Plus whilst you drink observe the action of the in house soda making plant.

PS40, Skittle Ln, Sydney

Little Felix

Tucked alongside Felix Restaurant, you’ll find the small intimate bar of Little Felix – a moody French-style cocktail bar with a dark sage interior and bartenders who know how to pour the perfect drink. The cocktail menu is inspired by early 20th Parisian hotels and perfectly paired with bar bites like cheese, charcuterie and truffle tartines. 

Little Felix, 2A Ash St, Sydney

The Baxter Inn

Whiskey lovers need look no further than The Baxter Inn, with hundreds to choose from we are sure you will be in ecstasy. This speakeasy is inconspicuously located off Clarence St, and is a great bar for even better booze.

The Baxter Inn, 152-156 Clarence St, Sydney

best CBD bars QVB

Reign at the QVB

You’ll find this beautiful late-night Champagne parlour and bar on level 1 of the QVB. Covered in dusty pink tones, marble and brass accents you can enjoy over 150 different Champagnes and sparkling wines from all over the world. Add some oysters, a great cocktail list and midnight license and you’ve got one of Sydney’s best CBD bars.

Reign at the QVB, Level 1, Queen Victoria Building, 455 George Street Sydney

Grandma’s Bar

One of the original hidden CBD bars, Grandma’s is small and intimate with recycled furniture and kitsch wallpaper. You’ll get a great tiki style cocktail here and the tastiest jaffles. Nobody spoils you quite like Grandma’s.

Grandma’s Bar, basement of Clarence Street, Sydney

Door Knock

‘Use the door knock & knock three times’ says the sign. This hidden bar even has a secret way to enter! Burrowed within the heart of Sydney’s CBD, Door Knock’s drinks menu boasts a pun-filled cocktail menu and great wines.

Door Knock, B2/70 Pitt St, Sydney