Where to find the best cocktails in the Sydney CBD

Whether it's admiring the harbour alfresco or cosying up in an underground speakeasy, Sydney’s drinking scene has raised the bar.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jul 2022 -
min read

Bartenders take pride in their pours, cocktail ingredients lean toward small-batch and artisanal, and the final touch often involves a little smoke and mirrors. There’s a cocktail for everyone in Sydney; here’s where to find some of the best.


For a cocktail made sustainably: Re- Bar

Eco-warriors can feel good about drinking at South Eveleigh’s Re- Bar, where cocktails are no-waste and the bar was designed using recycled materials. Drinks make use of salvaged ingredients, including fermented banana skins, pickled strawberries and whey.

Try this: Tokyo Lamington Martini (Lamington vodka, Tanqueray gin, bergamot vermouth, pickled bergamot, lamington offcuts)

Couple enjoying cocktails at Re bar, Sydney

Re- Bar, Redfern

For a cocktail made with the country’s most expensive whiskey: Nola Smokehouse & Bar

Inspired by the dining scene in New Orleans, this alfresco eatery in Barangaroo serves Southern-style barbecue and American classic cocktails. Here, whisky is king, with more than 500 bottles to try from. A shot of the rarest whiskey in the world will cost you $750.

Try this: New York Sazerac (Half-and-half cognac and rye whiskey, Herbsaint absinthe rinse, Peychaud’s Bitters)

A couple enjoying a whiskey tasting at NOLA Smokehouse and Bar in Barangaroo

NOLA Smokehouse and Bar, Barangaroo

For a cocktail with a harbour view: Café Sydney

If your idea of the perfect cocktail is one that also looks good on social media, Café Sydney’s seasonally inspired cocktail menu will certainly attract the likes, with a glittering backdrop featuring the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Try this: Native Shiraz Negroni (Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin, Økar amaro, Maidenii sweet vermouth)

Man taking a photo of a cocktail at Cafe Sydney

Cafe Sydney, Sydney

For a cocktail made with Aussie spirit: Dulcie’s Kings Cross

Inspired by Sydney in the 1930s, this underground Kings Cross drinking parlour has a vintage vibe and Australian personality, serving only Aussie wine, spirits and produce.

Try this: Wattleseed Rob Roy (Wattleseed-infused Starward Two-Fold whisky, Causes & Cures semi-sweet vermouth)

Neon signage at the entrance to the Dulcie's Kings Cross, Potts Point

Dulcie's, Kings Cross

For a cocktail that’s one of the best in the world: Maybe Sammy

Named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2019, Maybe Sammy serve their cocktails with a side of theatrics – pop rocks, infused smoke and even magic tricks are all part of the experience.

Try this: Once in a Lifetime (Ketel One vodka, Rhubi mistelle, toasted coconut, coconut water, citrus, bergamot bubble)

Couple enjoying drinks at Maybe Sammy cocktail bar in The Rocks

Maybe Sammy, The Rocks

For a cocktail that’s non-alcoholic: PS40

With their own line of artisan sodas, PS40 approach drinking differently, using seasonal ingredients and unique flavours for their cocktails and special sodas. For those who don’t want alcohol but still want something special, the bartenders here are willing to get creative, so designated drivers and sober curious can venture beyond mineral water.

Try this: PS Honey Grapefruit Gentian (Local honey, pink grapefruit peel and juice, gentian)

PS40 in Sydney City, Sydney

PS40, Sydney City - Credit: Alana Dimou

For a cocktail with latin flair: Hyde Hacienda Sydney

Inspired by the plantation architecture of Cuba and the party vibe of Miami, Hyde Hacienda is an adult’s playground, with a rainbow of fruity cocktails, an energetic dancefloor and waterside views of Sydney Harbour.

Try this: Harbourside Hibiscus (Belvedere Vodka, St Germain Elderflower, lemon juice, strawberry syrup, fresh strawberries, basil)

For a cocktail before dancing and drag: Universal Sydney

An icon of Sydney’s gay club scene, Universal is the place to dance all night and feel part of the community. Drag queens perform every week and Tuesday nights sling cocktails for $10 along with $1.50 oysters.

Try this: Judy Garland (apricot brandy, sloe gin, lime juice)

Friends enjoying drinks at Universal Sydney nightclub in Darlinghurst, Sydney

Universal Sydney, Darlinghurst

For cocktails by candlelight: Grandma’s Bar

Vintage kitsch mixes with tiki-style drinks at this cosy, candlelit bar hidden in a basement in the CBD. Rum cocktails are the heroes of the menu, and don't leave without ordering one of their legendary toasted jaffles.

Try this: Peanut Butter Colada (Pampero Especial rum, peanut butter, lemon, pineapple, coconut, optional strawberry jam)

Cocktail at Grandma's Bar, Sydney City

Grandma's Bar, Sydney City

For a cocktail at a New York-style supper club: Esquire Bar & Bistro

With more than 180 local and international whiskies on offer, Esquire sets the bar high when it comes to a sophisticated drink with a premium meal. An oasis of style and class in the Queen Victoria Building, come for the scotch fillet, stay for the New York-style whisky sours.

Try this: Mint Julep (Buffalo Trace bourbon, mint, sugar cube)

Bartender serving a cocktail at Esquire Bar and Bistro, Sydney City

Esquire Bar and Bistro, Sydney

For a cocktail in a Chinese teapot: Uncle Ming’s

With a modern opium den aesthetic, Uncle Ming’s is an Asian-inspired speakeasy on Clarence Street. The dimly lit décor feels very 1920s Shanghai, the bar snack of choice is a tray of steaming dumplings and you can buy a teapot of cocktails to serve four people.

Try this: Wax On, Wax Off (Roku Japanese gin, whisky, umeshu, Cynar)

Bartender creating a cocktail at Uncle Mings bar in Sydney's CBD

Uncle Mings, Sydney City

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