Where to find the best cocktails in the Sydney CBD

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

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Jan 2024 -
min read

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: Sweet Potato & Toast (Avocado Ketel One, roasted sweet potato sake, coconut, toast)

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: The Pavlova (Ketel One vodka, apricot, passionfruit, vanilla, lemon, egg white)

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 2023, Maybe Sammy serves their cocktails with a side of theatrics – pop rocks, infused smoke and even magic tricks are all part of the experience.

Try this: The New York Sour (Suntory Hakushu 12 Years, lemon, malbec, egg whites)

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: Lychee & Hibiscus Martini – Hacienda's most popular cocktail (vodka, lychee liqueur, hibiscus, lychee puree, citrus, whites)

For a cocktail surrounded by skyscrapers: Dean and Nancy on 22

For a Sydney venue to be considered as having a great view, it is usually expected to have unbeatable panoramas of the sparkling harbour. But the rules don't apply at Dean and Nancy on 22, where the vista has no water in sight. Instead, one could be forgiven for thinking they are enjoying a drink in Manhattan, situated 22 storeys up the A by Adina hotel tower. And the drinks are a spectacle too. For example, Rolling a Double comes with a pair of dice... roll a double and you’ll win a complimentary glass of bubbles!

Try this: White Cloud (Amaretto Disaronno, Campari, lactic whey syrup, eggless rye, coconut, orange, Peychaud’s Bitter)

Credit: Dean and Nancy on 22

Dean and Nancy on 22, Sydney City - Credit: Dean and Nancy on 22

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: Tirra Missu (22 Ketel One Vodka, Mr Black Cold Brew Liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto First Press Cold Drip, parmesan foam)

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: Moshi Moshi  bubble tea for adults (Pampero White Rum, peach schnapps, falernum syrup, agave, green tea, mango nectar, mango popping pearls)

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

Uncle Mings, Sydney City

For a cocktail made by mezcal geniuses: Cantina OK!

Located in a tiny service alley at Council Place, this micro venue is standing room only and specialises in rare and handmade spirits from Mexico. Its world-famous margaritas and cocktails are served with hand-shaven ice and hand-pressed limes.

Try this: The award-winning Margarita OK! (tequila, mezcal, lime, orange oil)

 Cantina OK! - Credit: Nikki To

 Cantina OK! - Credit: Nikki To

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