The Quirkiest Dive Bars Making A Splash In Sydney

by Georgie Hindle

Here it is Sydney, the world’s worst collection of puns and best collection of dive bars.

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Let’s make a splash and dive into this list! Dive bars are infamous for their quirky décor, odd staff and vibes that aren’t typical of most high-end bars. Dive bars aim to make patrons comfortable, and encourage you to let loose and have some fun! We looked around for you, and these are the best places to let your hair down.

Since I Left You
338 Kent St, Sydney CBD 2000

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SILY is your friendly neighbourhood small bar, tucked away between three heritage listed CBD storehouses. Covered in plants and fairy lights, this hidden gem has the perfect vibe of comfort and seclusion. Staring at the exposed brick, with a drink in hand will transport you to absolutely anywhere else. If you love escapism and feeling absolutely at home at the same time, SILY is the perfect bar to visit.

They have great weekly specials: Winedown Wednesday – $5 glasses of wine, and $15 carafes of wine. On Thursday they offer Tunes N Tins – live music from 6:30pm and $6 tinnies all night. On Mondays they have a hospo night! Where anybody with an RSA can grab a $5 tinnie, a $5 wine, and a $10 toastie. On Saturday afternoons pop in for a SILY session, live music and an all you can eat antipasti spread for $20!

Make sure you pop into SILY to try all their new summer specials including new food options and new fresh and fun summer cocktails. They have recently added Puffalo Chicken Waffles, Bocadillo Chorizo, and a grilled Csabai to their already delicious menu. Time to get SILY Sydney.

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Ramblin’ Rascal
199 Elizabeth St, Sydney CBD 2000

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“Don’t be a dick” will greet you as soon as you walk into Ramblin’ Rascal. It is the philosophy they live by – come in for a tinnie, come get weird, but get kicked out the moment you’re being a dick. Everything seems perfectly out of place inside, creating a misfit, yet comfortable atmosphere.

Blues tunes radiate around the bar, as well as soul classics and the occasional Prince bop. Every Thursday from 9pm the Rascal’s house band The Masala and Cokes will be there to make you feel welcome. Ramblin Rascal offer delicious Mary’s burgers, fried chicken and free corn nuts for anyone that walks in.

Ramblin Rascal is the type of place where you can get naked and run around, or hide in a booth and feel safe from all the dramas of the outside world. If you’re looking for a change between bad pubs and prestigious bars, Ramblin Rascal is the place for you!

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The Swinging Cat
44 King St, Sydney CBD 2000

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New Orleans is coming, and it has arrived in the form of the Swinging Cat. A low-lit, classy, jazz bar, is hidden in Sydney’s CBD with an incredible atmosphere that transports you straight to an American smokehouse. The Swinging Cat offers delectable delights and classy cocktails that keep patrons coming back again and again.

The Swinging cat offers patrons delicious and specifically selected cheese platters, and other gourmet nibblies including gourmet toasties. The cocktail list is abundant with options to suit everyone’s taste. The ones to try would be: the Hurricane – House blend of rums, passionfruit, pomegranate, lemon and orange; Swinging Cat Sour – Rye and lemon with house blood orange and Malbec foam; and the Spiced Banana Daiquiri –  Spiced banana rum, sherry, banana liqueur, lemon, maple and bitters.

Don’t worry though, they still serve beer and wine if cocktails and spirits aren’t your thing.

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The Smoking Panda
5-7 Park St, Sydney NSW 2000

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Fusing LA Hip with all the charm of a retro Chinese eatery, the Smoking Panda has a huge range of cocktails, wine, beer, and things to eat. Creating a more funky-fresh vibe than the other bars on this list, it focuses more on the LA scene. You’ll always have a great time with the delicious infused cocktails and the amazing tunes.

The Smoking Panda sets up their cocktail list in the form of a menu, so you can choose an entree, main, and a dessert. For Entree we suggest trying the Tisane Swizzle – Citron Vodka, lychee infused Sake, fresh pineapple & kale juice, Falernum, fresh citrus and Paychaud’s Bitter. For Main you should try Phylloxera Never Won – Rye Whisky, Cognac, peach and black tea syrup and Absinthe ice sphere. Then to top it off have a Gorgonzola Fizz – Scotch whisky, pomme verte, macadamia liquor, blue cheese cream and fresh citrus – for dessert.

They also have great bar snacks including mini cheese burger cigars, Panda USA pork ribs, and Prawn Popcorn.

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The Cliff Dive
16-18 Oxford Square, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya, to the Cliff Dive! The Cliff Dive is an island inspired dive bar making a splash in Sydney. With floating illuminated fish above the d-floor, soothing coastal colours including white stone brick, quirky totem poles, and stylistic tiki drinking glasses, the Cliff Dive takes you to your new island home.

If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, you need to try all the classic cocktails at the Cliff Dive. With Long Island Ice Tea’s, Mojitos, and of course Pina Coladas you can’t go wrong at the Cliff Dive.

Channel your inner Beach Boys fanatic and bask in this Moana-esque goodness. Check out their cheeky cocktails, and enjoy the relaxing vibes that the Cliff Dive bar has on offer.

[More info + Gallery]  |  [Contact Venue]

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