The Best Small Bars in Sydney
Sydney’s nightlife scene is experiencing a revolution. Relaxed local licensing laws have led to a myriad of cool, tiny new bars popping up throughout the city. We uncover some of the coolest new small bars to recently open their doors in Sydney.
1. Shady Pines Saloon As one of the coolest new bars in Sydney, the “country-and-western cool” Shady Pines Saloon is hidden away in a back alley in Darlinghurst where the only giveaway is the faded white curtain hanging over the doorway. If you hear a resounding “Howdy doodie” when you step through the doors, then you’re definitely in the right place. Live the Bonanza dream with “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters, a menagerie of animal taxidermy, ancient sepia photographs and even a gigantic life-sized longhorn steer thrown in for good measure. Full Review
2. Pocket This hip art gallery-cum-bar is a one of our favourite new small bars in Sydney. Tucked away in a former roller-door car garage, this long and narrow space boasts some seriously cool graffiti art and thrown-together eclectic furnishings, good strong cocktails and mixed drinks, and a hip tight jeans and tiny moustache-wearing inner-city crowd. Full Review
3. The Flinders Styled as a suitably grungy New York underground dive bar, Sydney nightlife institution The Flinders lives to see yet another make over. Between the social draw of hip Sydney co-owners Paul Wilson (Ksubi), Gus Da Hoodrat (Bang Gang DJs) and restauranteur Nick Mathers alone, it’s virtually guaranteed to become one of Sydney’s hottest new nightlife spots. The space is a deeply eclectic mish-mash of thrown-together collectibles - think stacked retro Aussie beer cans, naughty cheerleading posters, brash graffiti murals and a fabulous collection of intriguing pawn shop memorabilia. Full Review
4. Omerta In a time honoured Sicilian reference to the Mafia code of silence, get very, very worried if a dead fish is thrown on the bar while you’re drinking here. Omerta Wine Bar in Sydney’s Darlinghurst area is a great new venture by the same guys behind the highly successful A’Tavola Italian restaurant just across the road. Expect great Italian wines, artisanal beers and hearty homestyle Italian cuisine. Full Review
5. Eau de Vie Tucked away in a hidden back room in Darlinghurst is one of Sydney’s most talked about new speakeasy-style bars, Eau de Vie. Serving sophisticated cocktails and spirits in a stylish, intimate and dimly-lit setting, Eau de Vie has raised the bar of Sydney’s cocktail scene by employing a crack team of charming bartenders who can concoct exactly what you fancy. Full Review
6. Absinthe Salon Dedicated to the art form of serving the decidedly potent (and occasionally deadly) spirit of absinthe, the Absinthe Salon is styled as a chic tea room that serves a dizzying selection of absinthes from around the world. With a pure alcohol level of up to 72% alcohol, absinthe was banned around the world for many decades due to its hallucinogenic effects that tends to give more than a little buzz after only one sip.
7. Tokonoma As the trendy cocktail bar next-door to Surry Hill’s stylish Japanese restaurant, Toko, Tokonoma serves as both a glamourous cocktail bar and an intimate dining space (with the same menu as Toko next door). Slowly work your way through their list of expertly crafted Asian-inspired cocktails, where Japanese spirits such as sake and Sochu feature heavily throughout the drinks menu. Full Review
8. The Falconer Since The Falconer recently rocked onto the scene in Sydney, it has quickly become a local favourite hangout of Sydney’s hipster crowd. With a surprisingly friendly vibe and eclectic retro-inspired interiors (with even a random giant deer mural thrown in the mix), settle into the sumptuous leather booth seats and slowly work your way through their affordable menu of Australian wines and beers. A highlight of The Falconer is its fabulous vinyl collection, which you can sift through at your leisure - limited edition David Bowie, Elvis Costello, its all here. Full Review
9. The Commons Starting life as a pop up bar for the dubious light beer brand, Pure Blond, The Commons is now an established bar and restaurant in Sydney’s trendy Surry Hills district. The Commons is a great place for a casual drinks with friends, for a great meal or a wild night out on the town. The downstairs bar is styled as an intimate 1960s lounge room with a solid selection of artisan beers, while the upstairs outdoor terrace is a more relaxed alfresco affair with long communal bench seating. Full Review
10. Watchlist: Grasshopper is a new inner-city laneway bar in the CBD’s Temperence Lane that has only recently popped up, and despite being seriously tiny is a great place to enjoy a well-mixed cocktail served in an olive jar. Pull up a tractor seat and soak in the eclectic ambience. Ching-a-lings is another newcomer on Oxford Street with a social, relaxed ambience and multiple fun party spaces.