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  • Sydney
  • Bars
  • Pubs in Sydney That Demand Attention

Pubs in Sydney That Demand Attention

For many Sydneysiders, popping into a pub is the best way to unwind on the weekend, or after a hard day at work. With a casual, fuss-free vibe, the best pubs beckon us to come in and relax with the help of an ice-cold bevvy and a crispy schnitty, or fare that’s on the fancier side. 

The city’s pub scene is vast and diverse, and packed with everything from old-school boozers and gastropubs to beer gardens, rooftops and party pubs. So next time you're in need of a beer (or a frose!) and a break, head to one of these legendary watering holes.

Dove and Olive

This Surry Hills watering hole keeps things traditional with happy hours, meal deals and trivia nights, but stands out as the home of Sydney’s original Craft Beer Fight Club. It’s inventive yet classic at the same time, and that’s reflected in the menu, where you’ll find chicken wings and nachos next to crab risotto and sticky beef shirt ribs with a spiced coffee rub.

156 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills

Brigade Rooftop, Paddington
Brigade Rooftop, Paddington
The Light Brigade

The Paddington/Woollahra area is teeming with pubs, and this is one that consistently draws a crowd. The first three floors are made up of a sports bar, tapas bar and laidback lounge. Climb another set of stairs, and you’ll reach the rooftop bar. With panoramic views over the city, it’s ideal for date nights and friendly catch-ups, complete with woodfired pizzas and prosecco.

2A Oxford Street, Woollahra

The Lord Nelson

Historic and trendy at once, Sydney’s oldest continuously licensed pub is also an award-winning brewery. Fittingly located in The Rocks, the pub has an old-world English charm, harbour views, and a loyal bunch of locals. Tuck into the beef pie with mushy peas, or the tempura ale fish and chips while sipping on a seasonal ale or the fruity Nelson Nudie cocktail.

19 Kent Street, The Rocks

The Newport

A Northern Beaches mainstay, this seaside hub has a range of indoor and outdoor bars, a retro games room, a kid’s area (featuring magnetic Scrabble) and plenty of sunny spots to pull up a chair. It’s beautifully designed, Hamptons-style, and has a rotisserie, wood-fired pizzeria, burger shack and seafood restaurant on-site. If you ask us, it was made for leisurely Sunday sessions.

2 Kalinya Street, Newport

Woolwich Pier

Sitting pretty on the harbour foreshore, Woolwich Pier boasts beautiful views. The pub itself is grand and on the upscale side, with a cocktail bar, a wraparound verandah, live music performances, and a menu fit for a foodie. Our advice? Time your visit with the Sunday roast, which kicks off at midday until sold out (which it often does!)

2 Gale Street, Woolwich

East Village Rooftop
East Village Rooftop
East Village Sydney

Settle in for a chic-pub-do at Darlinghurst's East Village Hotel. From the lively ground floor to the intimate rooftop, there is so much to love about this refurbed heritage pub. With panaromanic views, the rooftop terrace is available for groups of up to 20 people, while the Athletic Club, with its leather-clad chesterfield – on the level below is an old-worldly haven to retire to once the sun is set.

234 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst 

the collaroy, collaroy beach
the collaroy, collaroy beach
The Collaroy

The Collaroy has long been known as the local watering hole of choice. Drawing inspiration from the coastal scenery, The Collaroy is a multi-level pub fitted out with floor to ceiling windows, nostalgic seaside artwork across the walls and wooden furnishings. Head to the top floor for the best view while you indulge in the modern Australian menu. 

1064 Pittwater Road, Collaroy 

The Dolphin

When Maurice Terzini (of Icebergs) took over this venue in Surry Hills, we knew it was going to be the next big thing on Sydney’s pub scene. Following its swanky makeover, The Dolphin is oh-so-chic, but still holds onto its classic pub feel. The Public Bar is casual, The Wine Room offers fine wine and charcuterie boards, and The Dining Room dishes up top-tier Italian fare.

412 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Top tip: For a similarly chic yet relaxed vibe, pop into The Sheaf in Double Bay, The Oaks in Neutral Bay, or The Tilbury in Woolloomooloo.

Manly Wharf Hotel

Set on the sparkling waters of Manly, this pub is the kind of place you roll into straight from the beach. While the main bars offer up frothy fun, the jetty bar is prime real estate, and our favourite spot to sip on an Aperol Spritz and soak up the harbour views. If you’re hungry, head inside to feast on salads, burgers, roast chicken and fresh seafood. 

Manly Wharf, East Esplanade, Manly

The Taphouse

An old-school tavern, The Taphouse is a treat for craft beer lovers. The corner pub has a homely feel and over 20 beers on tap (from lighter ales all the way to darker stouts), as well as a huge range of bottled brews. It has a crowd-pleasing menu to match, and a rooftop for those balmy summer nights.

122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst

Top tip: On the north side? Try 4 Pines Manly Brewpub & Restaurant in Manly for your craft beer fix.

Glenmore Hotel, The Rocks
Glenmore Hotel, The Rocks
The Glenmore Hotel

For some of the best harbour views and pub grub, The Glenmore Hotel is an old favourite. A fave tourist hotspot, from the heritage bar downstairs to the happening rooftop, there is always a good time to be had. To satisfy your comfort food cravings, take a bite into their classic pub food dishes like the salt and pepper squid or red wine braised lamb shanks. Delicious! 

96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks

Photo credit- Vic on the Park
Photo credit- Vic on the Park
The Vic

The Vic ticks all the right boxes. The front bar is all about sport and schooners. Out back, you’ll find a huge wooden deck with a fire pit (ready and raring for spit roasts), and a basketball court that often hosts festivals and concerts. The outdoor area is very dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pooch!

2 Addison Road, Marrickville

Top tip: The Erko in Erskineville is another great inner-west haunt. Go hungry – it takes pub grub to another level! For a pub visit with a side of plant-based eats and drag, The Imperial  is the place to go.