Pubs in Sydney

Sydney has a strong pub culture, dating back to the early days of the colony, and enjoying a cold beer on a hot day is part of the Australian psyche. You can have a schooner in a convict-built pub, pull up a stool at a stylish inner-city drinking spot or sit back with the locals in a sprawling beer garden to take in the view and listen to live music. Whatever your drinking style, there's a pub that caters to it.

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, Australia's oldest brewery hotel located in The Rocks, Sydney

Historic pubs

Some of the oldest pubs in Australia are located in The Rocks. These convict-built sandstone venues have been serving thirsty customers for more than 150 years. Start with the historic Fortune of War (1828), The Lord Nelson (1841), Hero of Waterloo (1843) or Orient Hotel (1843) which all retain their colonial charm. Late night revellers tend to flock to The Argyle, housed in the former Argyle Stores buildings dating back to 1826.

You'll find more colonial-era pubs dotted throughout the city. The Woolwich Pier Hotel opened in 1885 and was completely revamped in 2018. The London in Balmain dates back to 1870. Northwest of Sydney on the Hawkesbury River, the Macquarie Arms Hotel, built in 1815, is the oldest in Australia.

Bartender pouring a cocktail at The Paddington Pub in Paddington, Inner Sydney

Inner city pubs

There’s a pub on (almost) every corner in Paddington and many of them are housed in historic buildings. Try the lively Paddo Inn, dog-friendly The London, The Royal and The Light Brigade with their great roof terraces, or The Unicorn, which is hipster-central.

You'll find more modern pubs in Surry Hills, The Dolphin has striking interiors, excellent food and a dedicated wine room. The wrap-around veranda of The Clock is a great spot to watch the world go by, while the Keg & Brew specialises in craft beer and has a rooftop bar with views of the city skyline.

Image Credit: Keg and Brew

Live music fans should head for The Landsdowne in Chippendale where there’s a show on most nights, many of which are free. The Beresford in Surry Hills regularly hosts live performances, cabaret and drag shows. You can play basketball on the court at Marrickville’s Vic on the Park – your dog is even welcome to hang out with you.

Pubs with beer gardens

Make the most of the Sydney weather in a beer garden. The Newport on the Northern Beaches has one of the city’s largest, a sprawling multi-level space that’s great for families. At The Oaks in Neutral Bay you’ll sit under a huge 70-year-old oak tree and Newtown’s Courthouse Hotel is always a favourite with locals.

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in Watsons Bay, Sydney East

Pubs with water views

If you like your pubs with a side of water views, Sydney has the spot for you. The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Coogee Pavilion sit just steps from the sand. In the north, the Manly Wharf Hotel looks back towards Sydney Harbour and you can see the beach from every window at The Collaroy. In The Rocks, the rooftop of The Glenmore looks out over the harbour and the Sydney Opera House.