Sydney City Small Bars
A thriving small bar scene has sprung up in Sydney in recent years, with plenty of hidden speakeasy-style establishments clustered around York, Clarence and Kent Streets. Explore the streets and laneways of this part of town and you’ll discover some great spots for a glass of vino, a whisky sour or some bar snacks, complete with that hip prohibition-era vibe.
Food and wine in the city centre
Some of the city’s best restaurants can be found in Sydney's city centre. With sweeping views from the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Quay in Circular Quay is currently ranked in the World's Best Restaurants list, earning three chefs hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2015. The guide also awarded three chefs hats to Rockpool and Sepia, both located in the city centre.
For more casual eats, the Sydney city centre is a great place to be, whether you’re after polished pub fare, modern Australian cuisine or great Chinese, Korean or Thai food. Neil Perry’s Burger Project serves up classic American-style burgers with super soft buns and tender beef patties, but you can still get that great Aussie burger add-on, beetroot, if you like, or even a beer to go with it.
Head to Chinatown’s Dixon Street for Hong Kong-style pork buns at Old Town, crispy Japanese fried chicken at Arisun, or Malaysian roti and curries at Mamak.
Small bars in the city centre are in abundance, especially on York and Clarence Streets. The Rook, a late-night rooftop eatery on York Street, features delicious lobster and burgers. Nearby Lobo Plantation offers daily rum flights, old-school table service and free plantain chips. Try Assembly Bar, tucked away in Regent Place, which boasts a top wine list and innovative bar snacks. Be sure to sample the gourmet hot dogs.
Take a walk down Clarence Street and stop by some of the city's harder to find bars. Pocket-sized Grandma's is kitsch yet cool, with ace cocktails and jaffles to munch on. Or try one of the first small bars on the scene, the speakeasy-style Baxter Inn, which has more than 360 whiskies behind the bar.
For a more casual vibe, head down the ironically named Temperance Lane off George Street, where you'll find Grasshopper, a clubhouse-style basement bar where the no-frills cocktails are served in jam jars and punters perch on mismatched retro lounges.