Sydney Bars & Nightlife
52 Harris St., Pyrmont
Bar Clementine is the wine bar you wish you lived above, or beside, or around the corner from.
Love, Tilly Devine
91 Crown Ln., Darlinghurst
You will hear Love, Tilly Devine before you see it. The clamor that spills out of the obscenely popular, tightly packed hole-in-the-wall wine bar has its own particular, jubilant ring.
Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Pl., CBD
Bulletin Place is considered one of Sydney’s best bars. Yes, the perfectly muddled cocktails play a role in this, but really, Bulletin Place excels at creating that relaxed but elegant vibe Australians are known for. Paint (intentionally) peels off the walls, Edison bulbs and votive candles are incredibly flattering and romantic, and walls are covered in beautiful old sepia photographs. Multiple-award-winning barmen Tim Philips, Adi Ruiz, and Rob Sloan have narrowed down their list to a mere five cocktails. But no two days are the same, as the cocktails change depending on what herbs and botanicals happen to be at their peak. Of course, if you want a martini, they’ll make you the best martini of your life, but we recommend letting the experts choose for you.
16 Phillip Ln., CBD
Kittyhawk is known for its cocktails, plus a dose of serious old-world elegance. The concept centers around the 1944 liberation of Paris, and while the thought of enjoying a Rum and Rye surrounded by old French liberation posters sounds kitschy—and a tad ridiculous—it’s not. Instead, the low lighting, brick walls, and dark leather banquettes create a cozy ambiance.
Wine Room at the Dolphin Hotel
412 Crown St., Surry Hills
Sydney is one of those cities where locals actually drink in hotel bars. And the Wine Room in Surry Hills’ Dolphin Hotel is just the place for it. Sommelier James Hird is totally plugged into the organic and biodynamic wine scene, so expect fantastic, occasionally funky options. The bites are the salty, cured meats and pickles that go so well with a glass of wine, and a few plates of anchovies and shallots on toast are an ideal stand-in for dinner. The bar itself is alive and buzzing with the friendly Sydneysiders who live in the surrounding neighborhood and, delightfully, treat the Wine Room as their stomping ground.
285A Crown St., Surry Hills
Surry Hills is one of those impossibly stylish neighborhoods full of chic wine bars and locals who love to drink in them. At first glance, the Winery seems casual enough, with its exposed-brick walls, cabin-style wood-plank ceilings, and plants that seem to be crawling through the cracks at every corner. Perusing the wine list dispels this notion. The Winery takes wine—and food—very seriously. There are more than thirty wines by the glass, with a spotlight on Australian and New Zealand growers. And as far as bottles, prepare yourself for many pages of options. Come with a group, take over a table, and settle in for the night. While the wine is certainly abundant, the relaxed, secret-garden atmosphere makes staying for just one impossible.
35 Barangaroo Ave., Barangaroo
Barangaroo House looks more like a large-scale art installation than a place to grab a drink. From the outside, it looks like three giant black soup bowls stacked one on top of another, and while you can certainly eat dinner here, the rooftop cocktail bar—Smoke—is really your jam. The champagne menu alone has more than fifty titles, and the cocktails are complex with unusual twists, like cardamom, watermelon mist, and house-made mint oil. (Non-drinkers should note that the same thought and care has gone into the alcohol-free cocktails.)