Known for its glamorous (and highly expensive) real estate and iconic landmarks such as the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, Sydney is the typical cosmopolitan city fit for the country’s elite and anyone else who has hundreds and thousands to splash on rent every week (seriously, how do some people afford it ?!)
What perhaps remains underrated is Sydney’s nightlife. Yes, we might still be mad about the lockout laws but that in no way means that this wonderful place has become the ‘granny’ city of Australia. We’ll prove it.
For those of you who can still afford to go out ( we want your secrets and your cash by the way), we’ve created a list of the best watering holes in the CBD, perfect for any and every type of night you want to have. Read up and then drink up.
61 York St, Sydney CBD
Okay, I’m not going to lie when I first heard the name of this bar I was hoping it had something to do with a furry little blue alien creature that totally stole everyone’s heart when he became Lilo’s best friend* but after experiencing what this bar has to offer I’m not even a little mad.
Specialising in good, hearty fried American food including onion rings, tacos and burgers, they also have (as if that’s not enough though) an extensive range of cocktails, wines and beer. This means you can get your drink on whilst eating instead of having to wait until the end of the night (early morning) to eat a lukewarm greasy kebab that everyone knows (including your stomach) you’ll regret in the morning. Please, we’ll do anything to avoid that situation.
They also have a cocktail called the Eye-Opener, and I don’t know about you, but the alcohol in that one sounds like its promising to keep your eyes open till Tuesday next week. At least. Or, if that’s not for you, you could always take a ride with the HMAS Voyager which is a refreshing take on the Martini, equipped with cucumber and everyone’s best friend, Absinthe. Make sure to grab your life jacket though, there’s a danger of going overboard.
*Stitch, I’m talking about Lilo & Stitch.
Lot 1. Basement Bar
18 York St, Sydney CBD
50. Different. Vodkas.
Yep, I’m going to let that one sink in. Not only does this bar transport you to New York City’s underground scene, it also has a variety of 50 DIFFERENT VODKAS. Sorry if I sound a bit like a broken record but my mind’s just been blown. Like, I no longer have a brain. Which is what I imagine will happen to you once you have a shot of each one.
The decadent decor and dim purple lighting will have you feeling some sort of disco vibe (or it could be the alcohol) but never fear, your vodka filled body will be accompanied by a DJ Thursday’s to Saturday’s so you can at least try to dance the night away among the words of the hottest new tunes. I’m not chanting Despacito, you are.
The Captain’s Balcony
46 Erskine St, Sydney CBD
Come party like a pirate at this newly renovated and sophisticated bar complete with a balcony, boutique beers and international wines. They also offer an extensive range of cocktails that have me excited just looking at their names. I’ll elaborate.
There’s the Captain’s Colada which sounds like a drink made for the boss, and well, there you are. Enough said. Or, there’s a cocktail called Thai Town, basically allowing us to believe it’s the taste of Thailand in a glass , and is a delicious fusion of gin, lime, ginger, coriander and chilli over ice. Or if either of those don’t ruffle your parrot feathers then try the I Don’t Know. Seriously, that’s what it’s called which to me sounds like what you’ll be saying when asked why you’d already had three of them by 4 in the afternoon.
So grab your first mate and enjoy the nautical vibes, but be careful and don’t get seasick.
16 Phillip Ln, Sydney CBD
Kittyhawk, despite sounding like a fierce AF superhero name, is a high volume cocktail bar focused on offering great cocktails and exceptional experiences. Oh, have I mentioned their cocktails? Accompanying their extensive cocktail menu is little drawings of the cocktails themselves so you can not only read what’s in them but also see what they look like. Genius.
Designed around the liberation of Paris in 1944, bringing together old world charm with a modern food and beverage offering. Relax while listening to the soulful blues or get up and have a dance to jazz and French swing and I promise you, you’ll have a night to remember.
So whether you’re looking for a space to chill with friends or you’re hunting for the perfect place to take that special someone in your life, Kittyhawk is a must for the Spruced Goose alone. I don’t know what it’s in it, but it sounds right.
Since I Left You
338 Kent St, Sydney CBD
You can be forgiven for mistaking Since I Left You for sounding like the start of a sentence where you try to convince yourself all the many reasons why you’re better off without he/she-who-must-not-be-named, BUT it’s actually an endearing little laneway bar that you simply have to go to.
Describing themselves as your ‘friendly neighbourhood small bar’, Since I Left You has been designed to blend a relaxed, welcoming feel with old-school decadence and charm, with the industrial space being brought to life by luscious plants, playful fairy lights, live music and murals by prominent street artists.
Alright stop begging, I’ll tell you. Yes, this bar also offers a wide range of cocktails that all look as weird and fantastical as each other with Pisco Fever, Nuthin’ But A Gin Thang and Negronly Way Is Up all sounding like winners to my tastebuds.
So come get SILY with us. Well, me. It will just be me. No, I don’t wanna talk about it.
The Cidery Bar & Kitchen
389 Pitt St, Sydney CBD
If you’re looking for a spot to hang out in after work or a place to spice things up in on the weekend than look no further because this bar has everything you need and more.
Boasting a great outdoor deck so you can people watch to your heart’s content, The Cindery Bar & Kitchen specialises in offering a selection of the finest Australian and international ciders that are available on tap or in a bottle.
After you’re done with cider, quench your thirst on something a little heavier with their fierce cocktail list and premium local and imported wines. Besides, if you get a little carried away The Cidery Bar & Kitchen is located in the lobby of the Rydges World Square Hotel so you can always sleep it off and wake up in the morning feeling fresh as a daisy. Or something similar.
359/2-10 Darling Dr, Sydney CBD
Dubbed as one of the city’s best kept secrets, Cohibar sits overlooking the magnificent harbour making it the perfect location for the kind of night where you start out just wanting to have a quiet drink with friends but then somehow ends up with someone buying tequila shots at 2am. FYI, they’re the best kind of nights.
To ensure the party really gets going, a solid line of DJ’s play every Friday and Saturday night’s. Add that to the fact that there’s no lockout, I repeat there is NO lockout, and you may have just stumbled across your next favourite thing.
They also offer a wide range of cocktails, a distinguished wine menu and a many number of international and local beers. Now just to count down the seconds until Friday night when it’s socially acceptable to drink hard liqueur and make pour decisions.
By Kate Gazzard
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