Bars & Pubs

The Best Martinis In Sydney Right Now

By Sammy Preston

The Bar Planet martini, one of the best martinis in Sydney

Whether you like your martini with gin or vodka, filthier than a nightclub dancefloor, slippery or drought-level dry—the classic martini is a choice cocktail in any bartender's arsenal for a reason. And in Sydney/Eora, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to perfectly finessed martinis.

In Newtown, you'll find a bar dedicated to the stiff drink. Elsewhere, two-sip martinis reign supreme, and whacky variations on the theme have become the norm as Sydneysiders' love for this clear and classic staple has grown. We are in our martini era and we've done the "research" to track down the best our fair city has to offer. Here is Urban List's guide to the bars shaking and stirring the best martinis in Sydney.

Bar Planet

16 Enmore Road, Newtown 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Bar Planet | Nikki To

From the team behind award-winning mezcal bar Cantina OK!—Bar Planet is an intergalactic bar in the Inner West with a singular focus: martinis. Order yours however you choose—even served with fizzy water to take the edge off, or a half-pour if you want to ease in.

However, we recommend beginning with the house Bar Planet martini. It leans dirty and has been made with an ever-evolving "living" base spirit to give it extra celestial powers. Owners Jeremy Blackmore, Alex Dowd, and Daisy Tulley collaborated with Marrickville distillery Poor Tom's to create the so-called "Infinite Spirit". It's flavoured with local produce, and once the first few litres run out, different botanicals are added to the existing batch. 

Shell House

37 Margaret Street, Sydney CBD

Best martinis sydney, menzies bar shell houseImage credit: Shell House | Instagram

Glassware plays an important part in the experience of a martini—and Shell House isn't messing around in this regard. Served in a sleek, spiraled coupe glass, these polished martinis are the main event at the ground-level Menzies Bar happy hour.

Happening nightly from 4-6pm, the Menzies Martini Hour is one of the city's best discounted drinks offerings. Two-sip martinis are poured for $10 a pop alongside a limited run of mini lobster rolls, also available for a tenner. For something different, try the Janus' Martini, a concoction of olive oil-washed rosemary gin, white vermouth, and yellow plum eau de vie.

Vermuteria

60 Kings Cross Road, Darlinghurst 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Vermuteria | Sammy Preston

While the hero at this delightful Euro-style bar is vermouth—available from the barrel or on tap—the team at Vermuteria knows their way around a great martini too. And this time, we're zeroing in on another essential element in the martini experience: the garnish. 

At Vermuteria, it's a ludicrously capacious olive. This large meaty green garnish will double as a pre-dinner snack, dutifully doing the job of lining your stomach before those stiff spirits have their way with you. Throw in the bar's unmistakable neon red charm, and we'll have one more, thank you very much. 

Maybe Sammy

115 Harrington Street, The Rocks 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Maybe Sammy | Instagram 

Yes, Maybe Sammy is still worth the hype. Even with all the bar's World's Best accolades, the guys here still know how to have a good time. The interiors are inspired by the glamour of a Rat Pack-era hotel bar, arguably the best era of cocktails. So, naturally, they do a winning martini.

First up, there's a $150 Vesper martini which comes with 60s-era Smirnoff vodka, 60s Plymouth gin, and Lillet Blanc. If that's a bit of a stretch for your budget, you can also get a more reasonably priced martini at happy hour. Order yourself a $13 mini martini or mini chamomile martini—which you can score for $7 between 4.30pm and 5.30pm daily. 

Ace Hotel Lobby Bar

47-53 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney CBD

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Ace Hotel Sydney | Instagram 

Also important in the experience of your martini is the bar itself. For example, do the vibes live up to the strength of the drink? In the case of the lobby bar at Sydney's Ace Hotel, the answer is unequivocally, yes.

Here, the signature martini is a smooth and slippery number made with Four Pillars olive leaf gin and dry vermouth, and topped with olive oil. Knock yours back in the chic sunken lounge and enjoy the roving program of cool acts that take over the bar most nights, curated by some of Sydney's best party people. 

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Alfie's

Shop 2, 4/6 Bligh Street, Sydney CBD

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Alfie's | Dexter Kim

From the team behind Bistecca and The Gidley, this fast and loose city steakhouse opened in 2023 with a bold promise: Sydney's iciest martini. For a drink that should be served frosty, Alfie's delivers.

The Alfie's Martini is poured tableside at the sub-zero temperature of -10 degrees. It's made with Four Pillars olive leaf gin or Mother of Pearl vodka, vermouth, and tarragon vinegar with your choice of garnish (try a pickled pink onion for a pop of colour). It goes down as you'd imagine—icy, smooth, refreshing. 

Rockpool Bar

66 Hunter Street, Sydney CBD

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Rockpool | Instagram

Adjacent to one of Sydney's most iconic luxury steakhouses, this swish CBD bar does polished service and perfect martinis. If you associate martini sipping with white tablecloths, buttoned-up waitstaff, and cool corporate types, Rockpool Bar is the place for you. 

We recommend ordering Rockpool's dry martini, shaken but smooth, and poured crystal clear. Swing by between 4pm and 6pm, Monday–Friday for RP Hour to make the most of $12 martinis, a $15 bar snacks menu, and $4 fries.

Clam Bar

44 Bridge Street, Sydney 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Clam Bar | Sammy Preston

Inspired by the iconic steakhouses of New York City, Clam Bar is one of the best restaurants in Sydney right now for a few reasons. From superstar trio Andy Tyson, Dan Pepperell, and Mikey Clift, premium cuts of meat, slick service, and a charming Art Deco interior all work together to create an excellent dining experience. Naturally, the martinis here are great too. 

Poured into cone-shaped flutes and served on branded paper napkins, it's the perfect start to your Clam Bar experience. Follow up with oysters Rockefeller and a prawn cocktail before diving into the New York strip—it's one of the best steaks in town. 

Archie Rose Distillery

85 Dunning Avenue, Rosebery 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Archie Rose | Instagram 

Could there be a better place to indulge in a martini than at a distillery bar? The team at Archie Rose is serving you their booze baby, so it’s a good place to brush up on your gin knowledge and use it to impress your friends after you’ve had your third.

If you’ve got the time, be sure to do a distillery tour pre-tini; it tastes that much better when you’ve learned a thing or two about how it got into your glass.

Gildas

46-48 Albion Street, Surry Hills 

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Gildas | Nikki To

Celebrated chef Lennox Hastie's newest venture is a Basque-themed wine bar located a stone's throw from Firedoor. And while the focus at Gildas is on the Spanish wine, jerez (Spanish sherry), and a smart list of pintxos—including the eponymous "gilda"—the martini is worth your attention, too.

We recommend ordering one to kick off your evening, then settle in with a bottle of Albariño and order some tapas, from spanner crab churros to plates of Jamon Iberico. Just make sure you save room for the smoked buffalo milk soft serve with dulce de leche (and another martini, of course). 

Continental Deli & Bar

Newtown

Best Martinis SydneyImage credit: Continental Deli & Bar | Instagram

For a fun blend of refinement and utterly unpretentious, the martini at Continental Deli & Bar is served in a can and aptly named the Mar-Tinny. Despite their low-brow encasing, they’re bloody delicious; exactly what you’d expect from the guys behind Porteño.

Each perfectly citrusy tipple is tinned in-house, has a few olives on the side if you want some filth in your life, and they’re the perfect addition to your charcuterie plate or mortadella sandwich.

For more of Sydney's best, check out:

Image credit: Bar Planet | Instagram

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