Unlike the moods of your manager and the money market, these after-work Sydney bars are greater when they go down.
We venture underground to find you the best bars in Sydney who believe that windows are optional and that sunlight is best left for those on the ground floor and up.
Crafted cocktails, curly fries and a cupboard-sized room lined with vintage Singer sewing machines, all connect for the ultimate combination of cool at Stitch Bar. Make your way down the stairs and try to claim a seat at one of the actual sewing tables (foot pedal included!) then take your pick of boutique beer and a bite. While places that aim to perfect the partnership between intimate and overcrowded tend to be sew-and-sew, the 60 happy patrons squeezed into this small bar suggest Stitch has it all sewn up.
GoodGod Small Club
Some would argue that the self-proclaimed tropical-themed “funhouse” fusing pub/wine bar/night club is an urban heaven on earth. You may not find pearly gates at this Sydney bar, but you will have several important decisions to make when dealing with the doorman – depending on how well-behaved you’ve been. Cool kids can chill out at the front bar while movers who may be more inclined to get into mischief can make their way down to the Danceteria and disco like a devil.
Pa rum, pa rum rum… We suspect the little drummer boy got a little boozy belting out his classic Christmas carol, and was actually singing about the Cuban sugar baron Julio Lobo after which this bar is named. And who can really blame him? With a menu of Caribbean classics like baked cheese balls with guava sauce, warm Cuban milk rolls and black bean stew and a catalogue of cocktails which pay the ultimate ode to the alcoholic beverage behind this bar (rum!), it’s certainly worth celebrating!
Pizza, pinball and performances by live bands in a basement setting make this every fellas’ fantasy man-cave. Fortunately, a warm welcome and some of the city’s most supreme slices mean the fairer sex can also enjoy the ambience without interrupting “boys night”.
Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining
Alice may have fallen through the Rabbit Hole to a world full of fantasy, but this Sydney CBD bar (hidden beneath the bustle of Elizabeth Street) will transport you to your own wonderland. A magical place specialising in “all things liquid” and serving the kind of wagyu beef burgers that win awards like “Top Five Burgers of the World” (no, we’re not hallucinating). Don’t be late for this very important date!
The Baxter Inn
After acquainting themselves with Sydney’s small bar scene through their cult country/cowboy saloon Shady Pines (aka one of Sydney’s best bars), bartenders Anton Forte and Jason Scott upped the ante and introduced The Baxter Inn to the city’s liquor lovers. Navigating the curvy staircase on your way down to the jazz and blues drinking den may be easy at the beginning of the night, but we’d love to hear how successful your attempts are when you’ve said sayonara to your sobriety!
Despite copious cocktail consumption that tried to convince us otherwise, we can confirm that the Ming Dynasty did NOT extend to include the opening of an underground opium den inspired whisky bar in Sydney’s York Street. However, while we may have failed in separating the fact and fiction of Chinese history, this speakeasy style swill-house gets an A+. From the Asian influenced ambience (incense, red lights, sinks made of Chinese cooking pots) to the oriental eats, this drinks and dumpling den just woks!
Granny goes glam at this “retrosexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch.” Those hunting for a nanna who knits, will be disappointed. But for others whose gram was more inclined to warmly welcome them with special tiki style cocktails and personally sourced beer will certainly enjoy respecting their elders at this Sydney bar!
Mojo Record Bar
Get your Mojo moving at this basement level bar. It sells great vinyl records out the front, even better booze out back and a tasty menu of hot dogs and hand-cut potato chips, that will have you misbehaving wherever you end up. Yehhh baby!
Image: The Lobo Plantation