Nightlife in Sydney is some of the liveliest in the world, with a wide variety of pubs, cocktail bars, clubs and more. To help you find some of the best ones, we asked for help from our global community over on the Hostelworld Facebook Page. Keep reading for the top bars in Sydney as chosen by backpackers…
Wendy Grayson says:
Scruffy Murphy’s – 24 hour bar!
Scruffy Murphy’s is also recommended by: Ashleigh Adams and Andrew Bowdin.
The main bar in Scruffy Murphy’s, a hotel which also boasts a nightclub and a lounge, is a hugely popular spot with backpackers thanks to its non-stop action. That’s right! No matter what time of day or night, this Irish bar is open, serving up a large selection of reasonably priced drinks. Plenty of drinks specials are offered, with each day bringing something different. There’s lot of live music and other events to check out here too, which is why this is an obvious choice for top bars in Sydney.
Cargo bar! It has the best views overlooking the harbour and opera house and the music there goes off too!
Cargo Bar is also recommended by: Gaelle VINCENT and Katharine Fowler.
Established in 2000, this stylish bar and lounge stretches out over two levels. With plenty of seats inside, plus its own beer garden, this waterside bar is a popular place for a drink. Here you’ll be able to hear some of the top local DJs and musical acts and see all the main sporting events, all while enjoying a drink from the great selection on offer from cold beer to classy cocktails.
Location: 3 Lime Street.
Beba Petrovic says:
Helm Bar, it s so stylish and at the same time pleasant!!!
A cocktail bar offering great views of Cockle Bar and close to Sydney’s famous Aquarium, Helm Bar also serves up Australian wines, beers from around the world and lots more alongside its colourful cocktails. On Sundays you’ll hear live jazz out on the deck, with plenty of other events also taking place here.
Wharf Bar in Manly- has a great view over the harbour, right on the beach, has a great atmosphere and has dinner and drink specials every night! You can’t beat that!
The main bar in the Manly Wharf Hotel has its own deck, offering great views out across the harbour and is a great spot to sit with your drink. Inside, the bar is modern yet comfortable with a fireplace for cold winter days, its own pool table and more. The drinks menu includes plenty of local and imported beers, which means you’re sure to find an affordable option
Location: East Esplanade, Manly. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-12am, Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm.
Dean White says:
Pocket Bar (on Bourke)- kind of like hanging out in someones garage slash lounge room with really good crepes, coffee & loose cocktails
Pocket Bar is a laid-back, hole-in-the-wall type bar with no dress code, no cover charge and selection of drinks to suit any budget, including cocktails, spirits, wines and more.
“The Scary Canary” on Kent Street is a very very good place to chill. Also check in in the Base Hostel which is directly connected to the bar…
Popular with both locals and visitors, the Scary Canary is a stylish bar offering a great drinks menu. Along with a selection of red and white wines, you’ll also find bottled and draught beers aplenty.
Location: 469 Kent Street. Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 12pm, Sat from 6pm, Sun from 5pm.
Claudine Kaminski says:
Opera Bar. You have a view of the harbour, opera house and great music. Where everyone dresses up and there’s a great social atmosphere. It’s not a seedy bar and it’s not a cheap bar, but it’s well worth it for the service and the views. You’ll sit on the seats designed by Jorn Utzon and appreciate the master piece he designed, whether it be at sunset or in the beautiful clear blue sky with the moon and the stars. Cheers!!
Opera Bar is also recommended by: Paul Chiu and Tom Baldwin.
Boasting an incredible location, Opera Bar offers top-notch views of the Opera House, Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and lots more. Drinks-wise, you’ll find lots to choose from here including cocktails, wines, champagnes and even the Opera Bar’s own beer. Live music can be heard here on weekends.
Location: Lower Concourse Level, Sydney Opera House. Opening hours: Daily from 11.30am.
Anne Biddlecombe says:
Sidebar under wake up hostel perfect place to meet new ppl n start a night on the cheap!!
Part of the popular Wake Up! Sydney Central Hostel, this bar offers a huge selection of drinks, lots of great music and lots more. Promos, such as its cheap cocktails on Monday nights, make this a well-loved spot. Entertainment at the bar includes live music, DJ sessions and pool competitions. It’s a great place to meet for some cheap drinks and make friends with other backpackers
Location: 509 Pitt Street.
Julia Holmwood says:
The Australian, near the rocks it is really relaxed and has great food.
With seats both inside and outside, The Australian is a popular bar not far from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Here you’ll be able to choose from a large selection of beer plus lots more. Various drinks offers are also available here.
Location: 100 Cumberland Street.
3 Wise Monkeys
Meredith Brannon says:
3 Wise Monkeys – 3 different bars on 3 floors
3 Wise Monkeys has something for everything, with three distinct bar areas stretching up over three floors. Different drinks specials are offered each night on everything from cheap cocktails to beer and pizza. DJs and live bands can also be heard here.
Location: 555 George Street. Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-3am, Fri 10am-4am, Sat 11am-4am, Sun 11am-3am.
The Orbit Bar
Kelly Burdon says:
The Orbit Bar!!! fantastic!
Orbit overlooks the city so at night you’ll be afforded with especially stunning views of Sydney as the sun sets and the bright lights come on. Drinks here compliment the cosmopolitan atmosphere, with a large selection of chic cocktails and wines available. Keep in mind that a dress code applies here.
Location: Level 47, 264 George Street. Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 10am, Sat-Sun from 5pm.
FireFly Tapas & Wine Bar
Oleksii Slobodzian says:
FireFly Tapas & Wine Bar
Right on the waterfront, this bar is a favourite with those who enjoy wine and tapas. Along with a large selection of both white and red wines, FireFly also serves up some top-notch cocktails and plenty of beer.
Location: Pier Seven, 17 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. Opening hours: Mon from 5pm, Tues-Sat from 12pm, closed Sun.
Wendy Grayson says:
Scubar for crab racing!
Underneath the Central YHA, Scubar is a wildly popular spot and it’s not hard to see why. Every day brings something different to this bar from crab racing on Mondays to live music Wednesdays to the pool competitions on Sundays. Cheap drinks promotions and food are also offered here.
Location: 4 Rawson Place.
Catherine Boyd says:
World bar! Cocktails in teapots mmmmm
World Bar is also recommended by: Jezabel Hernandez Valenzuela.
Teapots filled with cocktails, a great selection of shots and plenty of beer – these are just part of what makes this spot so popular. Each night at the World Bar, you’ll find a different event taking place from Pop Panic on Tuesdays where you can enjoy karaoke and more to Mum, the bar’s Friday night indie party. The bar itself stretches over four floors, with a quirky interior to match its quirky offerings.
Location: 24 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross.
Jezabel Hernandez Valenzuela says:
The excelsior in Surry Hills
Every night at the Excelsior you’ll be able to hear live music of the alternative rock persuasion play by top local bands and visiting musicians. You’ll find plenty of drinks to choose from while you enjoy the awesome soundtrack here.
Location: 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills.
Juan Manuel Cortés Navarro says:
Water bar is the best!
Before 7pm from Sunday to Friday you’ll be able to get your hands on your favourite cocktails and draught beer at reduced prices. The Water Bar, which is located in the BLUE Sydney hotel, also serves up a great selection of spirits along with nibbles aplenty!
Location: 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo.
Sonia Estadie says:
O’Malley’s in Kings Cross, best live music and best beers!
O’Malley’s is also recommended by: Morven Logan.
Found inside the hotel of the same name, O’Malley’s is an Irish bar serving up pints of Guinness alongside a bunch of Australian beers and more. Here you’ll be able to watch the big game, rub shoulders with people from all over the world and hear live music seven nights a week.
Location: 228 William Street, Kings Cross.
The Cock and Bull
Derek Burke says:
The Cock and Bull Irish bar in Bondi Junction. The best pub to party in around bondi
Not all of the top bars in Sydney have to break the bank. This casual Irish bar is part of the Grand Hotel and has space for dancing and live music, along with an excellent choice of Irish beers.
Located in one of Sydney’s most popular areas, this bar is part of the Glenmore Hotel which has been on the go since 1921. Popular with both local and tourists, the bar offers a great selection of drinks with plenty of seating both inside and outside. There’s also a Rooftop Bar here, which hosts a number of functions and boasts great views of Sydney Harbour.
Location: 96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks.
Clara Ávila Cantos says:
mmm maybe Crystal Bar… I like it!!!
You’ll find this stylish bar in the old GPO building at Martin Place. Boasting a great selection of delicious cocktails, the Crystal Bar hosts a variety of events. On Saturday nights, it’s the turn of ‘Crystal Boudoir’, a glamorous stage show, while on Friday’s and Saturday’s you’ll also hear DJs playing soul, funk and more.
Location: No 1 Martin Place.
Levente Szabo says:
what about Sugarmill?
Thanks to its funky interior, well-stocked bar and top-notch promotions and events, the Sugarmill is a popular spot. DJ nights, live music, comedy performers and more can all be enjoyed here.
Location: 33-37 Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross.
Levi Lewis says:
The Columbian on Oxford St
Spread out over a couple of levels, this bar welcome both gay and straight patrons in large numbers. Offering a large selection of drinks, the Columbian has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Location: 117 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.
Bavarian Bier Café
Robbie Weiss says:
Bavarian Bier Cafe
With 6 different locations across Sydney, including one in Bondi, the Bavarian Bier Café is a popular chain offering a great selection of affordable alcohol. Their ‘Pure Bier’ range of beers are imported from Bavaria and include Löwenbräu, Stiegl and more. If beer isn’t what you’re looking for, you’ll also find a selection of cocktails, wine and schnapps on the varied drinks menu.