2015 has been a good year for us booze hounds and cocktail jockeys. A plethora of new Sydney bars have opened shop serving up delicious beverages alongside some darn good bar snacks (always a winning combo). We check out the best new Sydney bars of 2015 for your drinking pleasure. Sazerac cocktail with grilled cheese toastie, anyone? That’s what we thought.
As the name implies, this Surry Hills restaurant and bar is all about the popular Japanese drinking food, yakitori (literally translating to ‘grilled bird’) and that’s why we love it. The small, 60-seater space opened at the very end of last year and provides an intimate affair of cocktails, whisky, sake and beer accompanied by delicious skewers of chicken, pork belly, tiger prawn and miso eggplant. Whisky tastings are available from Monday to Wednesday at Tokyo Bird and with new additions often added to the menu there’s even more excuses to go back for a second round.
Head to Crows Nest to enjoy one of the best new small bars in Sydney. Here fruit and classy cocktails are enjoyed with a side of buffalo wings, which makes total sense because both are so damn tasty. The Hayberry also serves an array of beer and wine if cocktails aren’t for you—although, when they sound as delicious as the Georgia Peach (bourbon, peach puree, lemon juice and agave syrup) how could they not be?
If you’re looking for a modern bar with an inviting space to eat, drink and be merry, The Public is your best bet. Their large array of beer and wine selections lives up to expectations with nine regular beers, one cider and a ‘special’ tap with revolving flavours from time to time. The generous food menu caters for all tastes, especially those who love to share Mediterranean-inspired dishes like the spiced lamb with hummus and pomegranate. Of course there are the good ol’ pub classics to please you burger loving or fish n’ chip frying Sydneysiders.
This Must Be the Place
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case it’s okay to judge a bar by its name because this Oxford Street bar is certainly the place to be. It’s got more of a café vibe than a bar feel with the white walls and bright, airy atmosphere that complement their wine-based spritz cocktails. They even make their own syrups and blend their own cold pressed juices, which shows their commitment to deliciousness. With all this excitement, this must be the place for your next after work/after dinner drink sesh.
When a bar is serving the best of Australian seafood to complement a classic cocktail list, how could they not feature on this list of new Sydney bars? Hot oysters with smoked butter, sea urchin on toast and clams casino are just some of the seafood delights that grace the menu at Enmore bar, The Gretz. Pair them with a bloody Mary or a Young Henrys beer, and you’re onto a winner.
The Swinging Cat
It’s not often that you come across a good jazz bar in Sydney, so we were pretty pleased when New Orleans inspired bar, The Swinging Cat, hit the scene. The live music nights live up to New Orleans standard, and their sazerac cocktails pack a punch whether you order the classic cognac base or are persuaded by the single malt scotch, whisky or bourbon alternatives. Hot tip: dig into the grilled cheese sandwich with tomato chutney and smoked wagyu for a bar snack that’ll knock your socks off (and provide a good stomach liner for all the boozing).
The Roots Next Door
Unsurprisingly located next door to The Roots is The Roots Next Door, their evening counterpart. Owner Brett Conway has searched far and wide to handpick the best Aussie wine that you won’t find in an average bottle-o. There’s also a fantastic drinks menu, boasting some of the tastiest cocktails in North Sydney—we usually have ‘no alibi’ as we sip vodka shaken with raspberry-watermelon puree and lemon juice. If you join in for a drink from 4pm you can get your hands on some impeccable meats and cheeses when the bar menu opens.
Nothing goes down better than some late night Mexican and good tunes, and that’s why the innovators behind Spice Cellar and Barrio Chino have joined forces to create the goodness that is Barrio Cellar. They’ve focused on everything tequila (and even have a giant neon sign to prove it) to create an authentic Mexican menu. Tortas, tacos and chilli pork crackling are available, and because they’re open until 3am you can probably have thirds to cure those late night cravings.
The Little Guy
The Little Guy may be small but it sure is sweet. It’s nestled on busy Glebe Point Road and specialises in Australian craft beers, boutique wines and a changing cocktail list each week— making for the perfect spot to meet friends for some friendly banter. Oh, did we mention that spiced popcorn comes free with a drink? We’re not ones for passing up free popcorn, so when the next live music session comes around on Tuesday we’ll see you there.
The Temperance Society
When you’re in the mood for having a drink and enjoying it in your living room but suffer from a lack of bartending skills, it’s time to go to The Temperance Society. This Summer Hill bar has the feel of a living room (literally, because there is a bookshelf and sofas) and we’re guessing better drinks than the DIY project you may have attempted at home. Choose from a Young Henry’s cider, Ironbridge ale or a creative cocktail like the cold drip coffee martini. Note: the cheddar, pickled onions, cornichons and bread for $9 will make the drink even better.
Image credit: Lisa Brooke at Tokyo Bird