Travel Talk

Your Guide to 5 of Sydney’s Most Unique & Best Bars

If you haven’t heard already, Australia has a vibrant drinking culture. 

Aside from some eastern European countries – and who can compete with them? – Australia has the highest alcohol consumption per capita in the world. Some might call that a drinking problem, but Aussies wear the stat with pride. 

If you live there already, are simply visiting friends or a moving company has helped you recently relocate to Sydney, you’ll find an amazing range of bars where you can enjoy a drink once you’ve settled in. Whether you’re thirsty for cold pints, fine whiskeys, rooftop bars, gay bars, award-winning wines, or creative cocktails, Sydney has it all!

Here are our picks for some of Sydney’s unique, interesting and best bars.

About our choices for the best bars

These are simply our choices about the best bars in Sydney. To say there are many unique bars to discover in Sydney would be an understatement. Sydney truly has something for everyone in the bar department. All of our choices for the best bars in Sydney bring something unique to the table.

Old Mate’s Place: cocktails, whiskey, service, and style

If you love boozers that combine moody atmosphere with expertly crafted cocktails, Old Mate’s Place should be your first stop in Sydney. Well, maybe go to your accommodation first.

The place is an aesthetic dream of exposed brick, dark timber, leather lounges, and a leafy rooftop bar. But it’s not just good-looking, Old Mate’s Place delivers the goods with an impressive menu of fine whiskeys, wines, and beers. It’s the cocktails that really shine, though. Creative choices like the toasted poppyseed in The Predecessor or dehydrated basil in the amusingly named Retox will surprise and seduce you. 

There’s also a short-but-sweet menu where you can order meat and cheese boards or a range of scrumptious variations on the Philly cheese steak roll.

Cantina OK: rustic Mexicana and primo tequila

You’ve heard of microbrews, but Cantina OK is a microbar! 

The whole joint can only fit about 20 people and it’s tucked away at the end of a service lane complete with bins and brooms. But inside you’ll find a festive Mexican atmosphere and delicious tequila and mezcal.

The owners of Cantina OK are in the habit of going on boozy pilgrimages through Mexico to discover the best and strangest spirits and bring them back to Sydney.

Highlights include:

  • Three litres of mezcal purchased from an elderly Mennonite man in the mountains of Mexico
  • An agave spirit containing real coyote
  • A mezcal flavoured by ageing in cowhide and then applying a generous dose of caterpillars 

Cantina OK also offers tart daiquiris, dry margaritas, tasty beers, and natural wines from Margaret River, Arfion, and P&V.

The Baxter Inn: all the whiskey

The collection of whiskeys at The Baxter Inn is so expansive the bartenders have to use library-style ladders to get the bottles down!

    Just imagine the books are whiskey bottles, and you’ve got the idea.

You’ll find whiskey from distilleries in Islay, Speyside, the Highlands and Lowlands, and Campbelltown. From old favourites like Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Glenlivet to rare bottlings and unusual releases. 

Aside from all the single malt Scottish whiskeys, there are also some choice Japanese whiskeys and the best of what Australia has to offer. Sadly, you’ll even find a few blended whiskeys. 

The folks at The Baxter can also create amazing whiskey cocktails, as well as a range of classics and new creations (they do stock other spirits somewhere amongst all the whiskey).

Mojitos are served in some of the most unique bars in Sydney.

Mojo Record Bar: for tipsy music-lovers

In the heart of Sydney CBD, you’ll find Mojo Record Bar doing just what it says on the tin – providing booze and records for the people of the city. 

Mojo Record Bar specialises in three things: booze, tunes, and vinyl. You enter Mojo through a record store packed with a great selection of music. If you don’t find anything you like on your first inspection, pop through to the bar and have a few drinks – things might look better when you try again.

The bar itself has a huge menu of refreshing Australian beers from breweries like Stone & Wood, Young Henry’s, and Moo Brew. You can also get tasty cocktails, wine, and spirits, plus a range of handmade pizzas.

On Thursday and Saturday evenings, you can catch live music at Mojo from local and touring acts from 6:00 pm.

Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice: slum it with tinnies and rock’n’roll

There are plenty of fancy bars in Sydney, but only one Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice – a strange blend of a rustic pizzeria, pinball arcade, and heavy metal club.

There are wines and two cocktails – espresso martini on tap, anyone? But Frankie’s is all about the beers. There are live bands every night. Loud bands. And things tend to get loose – which is why all drinks come in plastic cups or tin cans!

It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you like your pizza by the slice, your beer in a can, and your music a little deafening, this is the place to be!

There ya have it, the best bars in Sydney

That’s our list of the most unique bars in Sydney. The unique bars with character have always been the best bars in most cities. It’s the vibe that matters and the more interesting a bar is, the more diverse the characters are that frequent it.

Next time you’re looking for a drink in Sydney, don’t forget these bars. Spending an afternoon at a beautiful beach and the evening exploring exciting bars is a great way to pass a day.

All photos courtesy of

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