Sydney is certainly a city for drinkers. With a number of places to drink dotted around the CBD and surrounding areas – not to mention a shedload of breweries – Sydney certainly knows how to show its residents a good time. Lockout laws may have once put a big downer on nightlife, but with them now scrapped, Sydney’s drinking clique can once again enjoy their city.
But forget cocktail and rooftop bars for a minute, let’s talk about Sydney’s pubs. With their sticky carpets to free-flowing beers, to the smell of malt and bottom-shelf liquor, there’s something very special that makes a pub legit. They’re the perfect venue for day-drinking at the weekend, especially with Sunday roasts flowing out of the kitchen. Or they can be the ideal post-work boozer to wind down with a schooner or a glass of wine.
Fortunately, Sydney is not exactly left wanting when it comes to pubs, as there are plenty scattered around the entire city and surrounding suburbs. Naturally, some will be better than others and that’s why we’ve stepped in to let you know which we consider to be the best. Whether it be décor and layout, the drinks being slung from the bar or the tunes being pumped from the speakers, these are the Sydney pubs we implore you to visit at least once (we guarantee you’ll want to return for future visits).
Cheers, to the creme de la creme of Sydney pubs.
In this Sydney pubs story…
- Surry Hills/Paddington/Darlinghurst
- The Inner West
- Sydney CBD Pubs
The Noble Hops
125 Redfern St, Redfern, 2016
Playing host to more obscure breweries than you could throw an artisanal beer at, The Noble Hops is all one of the best pubs in Sydney to learn all about, and be exposed to, the finest Australian craft beer – and there are usually around 100 on rotation – no matter how small the shed it’s been made in.
Lord Raglan Hotel
12 Henderson Rd, Alexandria, 2016
Lord Raglan Hotel, located just across from Sydney’s Alexandria Park, is all about being as pure a pub as it can be. No pokies, no gawdy smoking areas, just a warm, comfortable setting and a ton of great brews on tap that rotate weekly. Combine this with a suite of pinball machines, an American-inspired menu and weekly trivia, and baby you’ve got a party going.
Iron Duke Hotel
220 Botany Rd, Alexandria, 2015
Another of Sydney’s great pubs that makes the short trip from Redfern station worth taking is Iron Duke Hotel. This Alexandria institution has a weekly roster of featured beers on tap that you can sample, and even preview through their website before you head in.
The Bearded Tit
183 Regent St, Redfern, 2016
Before you even walk inside The Bearded Tit, it’s easy to see that you’re about to enter one of Sydney’s more unique pubs. The Bearded Tit is a pub that champions creativity and expressing oneself, and welcomes anyone and everyone inside. They now offer a small food menu to accompany their ever-changing roster of beers, meaning there’s always a reason to back. Go in with an open mind, and you won’t be disappointed.
Dove & Olive
156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, 2010
This award-winning Sydney pub may be tucked away in the quieter side of Surry Hills, but we implore you to go searching for it. Why? It has a consistently great range of beers on tap and some of the best Sydney pub grub around that can only be described as “comforting” – the Sunday roasts are a particular highlight. But if it’s boozing you’re after, head down on any weekday for the 4pm – 7pm $5 happy hour.
The Bat & Ball
495 Cleveland St, Redfern, 2016
A popular haunt for both Sydney Swans & Sydney FC fans, the Bat & Ball’s Parkside bar has long been a favoured choice for anyone heading to games at the nearby SFS or SCG. Recently revamped with a new menu and a great function area, they offer an awesome British vibe, darts AND quality grub. The best Sydney pub for a sports loving lad.
The Paddo Inn
338 Oxford St, Paddington, 2021
The Paddo Inn is no ordinary Sydney pub. Taking inspiration from the more upmarket pubs lining London streets, The Paddo Inn offers one complete dining experience (it used to have a separate dining room) serving up burgers and steaks, and don’t worry vegetarians, you’re catered for too. However, we’d recommend heading down on a Sunday for one of their ginormous roast dinners.
122 Flinders St, Darlinghurst, 2010
The highlight of any trip to The Taphouse has to come in the form of their beer tasting paddles, best sampled by going from a lighter pale ale through to a smoky porter or stout. Their slightly upmarket take on the best pub grub and rooftop views makes everything feel a little more special too, but it never loses that homely Sydney pub feel.
The Inner West
Newtown’s pub scene has all but died, replaced with a sizeable helping of pubs-come-cocktail-bars-come-nightclubs. Just a few minutes’ walk down in Enmore, things have stayed a little more down to earth. A new breed of gastropubs is starting to take hold in the area, first and foremost of which is the Merivale-owned Queens Hotel.
Vic on the Park
2 Addison Rd, Marrickville, 2204
Home of what may be one of Sydney’s most beloved beer gardens, the Vic has experienced a huge resurgence of popularity in the last few years. With a great selection of beers and burgers, the main highlight of the Vic comes in the form of its huge backyard area, which features a basketball court so you can lay up some bricks as you smash some tins.
The Oxford Tavern
1 New Canterbury Rd, Petersham, 2049
Formerly one of the Inner West’s most notorious strip bars, walking into the Oxford was once like experiencing the end of the world itself. Now, it’s an entirely different monster. Good music plays, good beer flows, and on Sundays, they break out the smoker to host Black Betty’s BBQ. Good meat by the gram. What more could you want?
185 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW, 2037
If you ask someone from the Inner West where’s good to get burgers, beers and cocktails, they’ll likely tell you about Different Drummer, such is its notoriety. If you’re not in the mood for a burger (hey, it happens) then the rest of the menu is designed to share, making this New York-style bar (with a funky soundtrack to boot) an ideal spot day or night.
Sydney CBD Pubs
The Lord Nelson Brewery
19 Kent St, The Rocks, 2000
Crowded AF on weekends, but absolutely one of Sydney’s most legendary drinking spots, The Lord Nelson is the site of Sydney’s first really trendy craft brewery, making good beer accessible to hop fiends before it was even remotely cool to do so. Even now, their most popular brews flow freely on tap, as do a suite of their other, more seasonal beers.
The Hero of Waterloo
81 Lower Fort St, Millers Point, 2000
The Rocks is the Sydney CBD’s pub haven, and walking a short way from the hustle and bustle of The Rocks’ more crowded areas will have you in the proximity of some of Sydney’s oldest pubs. The Hero of Waterloo, which we think may have the best pub name in Sydney, is no exception, housing many a keen drinker within its century-old sandstone walls.
Fortune of War
137 George Street, The Rocks, 2000
No list of pubs you need to visit in Sydney would be complete without mentioning the city’s oldest pub: Fortune of War. Dating back to 1828, Fortune of War is the place to go if you just want to pull up a pew at the bar and trade stories with the regulars. There are a few pokie machines out the back and even a rather delectable food menu. Live music and a well-specced beer garden only add to its appeal