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.
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, Open Sun-Weds 5pm-3:30am, Thurs & Fri 3pm-3:30am, Sat 4pm-3:30am.
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, Open Tuesday – Thursday: 4pm – 1am, Friday & Saturday: 4pm – 2am, Sunday: 4pm – 12am, Monday: Closed.
Boasting phenomenal views of Sydney Harbour, this Cuban oasis brings the summer vibes all year round. Located within Sydney Harbour’s Pullman Quay Grand Hotel, the harbourside venue comes with plenty of pastel pink furniture, lush greenery and a great food and drinks offering.
Hacienda, Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, 61 Macquarie Street, Open 7 days a week from 12 till late.
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, Open Monday – Thursday 4pm to late, Friday – Sunday: 2pm to late.
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, Open lunch Thursdays and Fridays 12pm-3pm & dinner Monday-Saturday 5pm to 1am. Closed Sundays.
To grab a drink at The Rook, you’ll first have to find the virtually unmarked entrance on York Street. Press level ‘R’ once in the elevator and travel up to buzzy rooftop bar, complete with creative cocktails, lobster rolls and great burgers.
The Rook, Rooftop, 56-58 York Street, Sydney, Open Mon 4pm-Midnight, Tues-Fri 12pm,
Hidden underground on Elizabeth Street is this CBD dive bar. Known for its ‘shit tinnies’, strong cognac menu and no nonsense attitude, this is an anti-establishment’s dream hideaway.
Ramblin’ Rascal, corner of Park and Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Open Mon – Weds 4pm-12am, Thurs 4pm-2am, Fri 12pm-2am and Sat 4pm-2am.
Could this be Sydney’s smallest bar? This shipping container-sized bar situated just off Clarence Street can accomodate 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.
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, Open Mon-Tues 12pm-12am, Weds 12pm-1am, Thurs-Sat 12pm-2am, Sun 12pm-9pm.
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 NSW 2000, Open Tues – Weds 5pm – 2am, Thurs – Sat 12pm – 2am, Sun 2pm – 2am. Mon closed.
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, Open Mon-Thurs 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-11pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.
Neil Perry’s latest venture sees Rockpool teaming up with Patron Tequila to deliver an innovative Mexican bar and restaurant to Sydney’s CBD. Feeling fancy? Keep an eye out for the ‘Millionaire’s Margarita’, retailing for a cool $100.
Bar Patron, 2 Philip Street, Sydney, 2000, Open Mon-Sun 12pm – 2am
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, Open Mon to Thurs 5pm-3am, Fridays 4pm-3am, Saturdays 5pm-3am, Closed Sundays.
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 NSW, Open Mon-Fri 12pm until late & Sat 5pm until late.
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 NSW 2000, Open Mon-Thurs 4pm – Midnight, Fri 3pm-Midnight, Sat 4pm – Midnight, Sunday closed.
Legendary burger flippers and live music lovers are making themselves known in Sydney’s CBD bar scene, with the recent opening of Mary’s Circular Quay. Shake off the day with a signature burger and beer, then head underground for your daily dose of free live music and natural wines.
Mary’s CQ, 7 Macquarie Place, Sydney, Open Monday to Sunday 12pm-late
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, Open Mon-Weds 4pm-12am, Thurs-Fri 12pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am. Sunday closed.
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, Open Mon-Sat 4pm to 1am.
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, Open Mon – Thurs 12 to midnight, Fri 12pm-1am, Sat 4pm – 1am, Sunday closed.
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 NSW 2000, Open Tues 4:30pm – 1am, Weds 4:30pm -12am, Thurs & Fri 12pm – 1am, Sat 4:30pm -12 am, Sunday and Monday Closed.
This is hands down one of our favourite bars in the CBD, if not Sydney. Situated in the heart of the business district, blow off some steam with a beer in hand, a slice of pizza and some head-banging live heavy metal.
Frankie’s, 50 Hunter Street, Sydney, Open 7 days 4pm – 3am.
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, Open Mon to Fri 15:00 to 24:00, Saturday 16:00 to 24:00, Sunday closed.
Mojo Record Bar specialises in three things: booze, vinyl and rock n’ roll. Browse through the racks of old and new records before making your way to the bar, where you can take a seat at one of the booths and order a round of tequila cocktails.
Mojo Record Bar, Basement Level 73 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Open: Mon – Wed 4pm – midnight, Thurs- Sat 4pm – 1am
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 NSW 2000, Open Mon – Thurs 4pm – 12am, Fri & Sat 4pm – 2am, Sun 6pm – 12am.
Imagine a cocktail bar with a list that changes daily, and you have Bulletin Place. One of Sydney CBD’s top bars, but also one of Australia’s top bars. These talented bartenders curate their drinks featuring produce sourced locally and incorporate Australian beers and wines.
Bulletin Place, Level 1/10-14 Bulletin Pl, Sydney NSW 2000, Open Tues & Weds 4pm – 12am, Thurs & Fri 4pm – 1am, Sat 4pm – 12am. Sun-Monday closed.
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 NSW 2000, Open Mon – Sat 4pm – 1am, Sun Closed
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, Open Mon-Fri 11am till late, Saturday-Sunday 10am-late.
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, Open Mon-Fri 3pm till late, Sat 5pm-late.
‘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 NSW, Australia 2000, Open Mon – Wed 4pm-midnight, Thurs & Fri 12pm-midnight, Sat 4pm-midnight, Sun Closed.