Sydney’s lockout laws may be putting a dampener on weekend and birthday pub crawls, but the city’s bar scene is far from dead. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of small, hidden bars now filling a chapter in Sydney’s urban folklore, tucked away in the CBD’s quiet laneways and hidden from the direct vision of tourists.
Who isn’t excited? We’re secretly rubbing our hands in glee at the thought of midnight adventures spent tracing hidden routes taking us to Sydney’s most beloved secret bars.
Hinky Dinks, Darlinghurst
A true flagwaver of Darlo’s eccentric spirit, Hinky Dinks runs a tikithemed retro bar that vows to bring back the unapologetic enthusiasm of the 50s cocktail culture.
The kitch bar proclaims itself as the madman’s retreat from the 95 work life not with a wind down, but with the whizbang of crazy cocktails served to you in large sundae glasses over cherry red vintage bar stools.
Innerchild, meet Hinky Dinks.
The Baxter Inn, Sydney
Anyone who claims to know a thing or two about hidden bars has spent their fair share of nights lining up in the dingy back alley of this notorious basement bar. Recently named one of the world’s best bars, Baxter’s is the stuff of fantasies, with an astounding whiskey collection and a wicked apple whiskey that speaks for itself.
While it’s not so much a secret anymore with record-breaking lines that spill out of its back alley, Baxter’s is undeniably a name for every bargoer’s starter pack.
Play Bar, Surry Hills
Surry Hills has always been the home of misfits and the ubercool in Sydney’s bar scene and Play Bar is no different. Reclining in a basement downstairs Surry Hills’ most notorious block is the discount chess shop turned underground bar with local artists and DJ’s busting out in soulful lyrics and hiphop beats every night of the week.
By the time you head home, you’ll be leaving the bar with tunes stuck in your head all week.
Eau de Vie, Potts Point
If you’re looking to sample Potts Point, this award-winning cocktail bar is a shining reflection of its affluent neighbourhood. Channeling a Mad Men meets Old Hollywood theme, this upscale New Yorkesque bar pairs mood lighting with glitzy leather seating.
The catch is finding it. Your late-night odyssey to Eau de Vie will take you down the dark hallways of Kirketon Hotel, where the sound of jazz tunes and lively voices eventually draws you to the bar’s entrance.
Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
By the same people who brought you Baxter Inn is one retro pizza parlour with a gritty saloon. If this doesn’t sound tempting, wait till you push past the double doors and step inside Frankie’s bar venue.
With a wide selection of craft beers, games machines, and live rock ‘n’ roll every other night this is the adult’s playground you’ll be never want to leave.