If you’re anything like me you’re always looking for a fresh new place to explore as a first date/ date destination. Sydney has many ‘hidden secret’ pubs that ‘the masses’ are yet to discover. Smh.com.au has today released its definitive list of the top ten pubs in Sydney – how many have you checked out? Which ones stand out?
From living history to live taco making, here are the top ten pubs in Sydney, in what may be the most subjective, passionate and unverifiable list going.
1 The Hero of Waterloo
Legend has it that if you passed out in the Hero of Waterloo in the 1800s, you’d have been dragged through the pub’s underground passage that leads to the harbour and hauled on to a boat, where you would wake up to find yourself unwittingly recruited as a sailor.
The tunnel is now closed but this sandstone pub still feels untouched by time – which is why we’re mentioning it first in our list of top-10 pubs. There’s live jazz, folk and Irish music on weekends, church pews by the walls and a friendly atmosphere.
Address 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point. heroofwaterloo.com.au. Open every day until late.
Drinks $6.80 for a James Squire pilsener, wine from $7 for a glass.
Food Decent pub grub – a burger costs $14.
2 Carlisle Castle
It doesn’t look flash from the outside but the Carlisle has one of Sydney’s best bistros. We also love the old bar counter made from green Italian marble. The atmosphere is casual, they usually play rock music and they have pool tables.
Address 19 Albermarle Street, Newtown. Phone 9557 4852. Open every day till late.
Drinks $5.30 for Coopers Green, wine from $5.50 a glass.
Food Specials vary but a crispy skinned dory was $24.50 when we visited.
This former funeral parlour has a great art deco interior, curved windows facing Oxford Street for people-watching and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights.
Address 383 Bourke Street, Darlinghurst. Open every day until midnight.
Drinks $5.50 for Coopers Green, wine from $5.50 a glass.
Food Toasted ham, tomato and gruyere on Turkish bread is $8.50.
4 The Norfolk
There’s nothing special about the front bar here – but the back has been redone to look like a Mexican-themed dive bar. There’s a large comfortable courtyard, pool tables upstairs and a buzzy atmosphere.
Address 305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. Open most days until midnight, Sundays until 10pm.
Drinks Coopers Green $6, wine from $7 a glass, margarita $15.
Food Deep-fried pickles are $7.50, the braised pork-neck taco is $5.50.
5 Darlo Bar
We dig the colourful retro furniture, pinball machine and sit-down arcade machine, as well as the offbeat English garden-style courtyard. They often play indie and rock music.
Address 306 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst. Open seven days until midnight. http://www.darlobar.com.au.
Drinks Coopers Green is $5.80, wine from $6 a glass.
Food You can order pizza, burgers or Thai from nearby restaurants.
6 Lord Nelson
It brews its own award-winning beer, there are no pokies and it’s arguably Sydney’s oldest pub (although the Fortune of War on George Street contests that).
Address 19 Kent Street, The Rocks. Open every day until about 11pm. lordnelsonbrewery.com.
Drinks $4.50 for half a pint of Trafalgar Pale Ale.
Food Fish and chips is $19.50.
This American-style dive bar has a counter gouged with knife marks, walls covered with kitsch and it serves the pickle back – a shot of Jameson whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. It’s better than it sounds. The music has an alternative bent, although Wednesday is hip-hop night.
Address 65 Flinders Street, Paddington. Open Tuesday to Saturday until 3am (5am on Fridays). theflindershotel.com.au.
Drinks $7 for a James Squire Amber Ale, $16 for cocktails, wine from $8 a glass, $9 for pickle backs.
Food $15 for burger and fries.
8 Bavarian Bier Cafe
On O’Connell Street, the German beer’s good but the grand interior of this heritage-listed art deco former bank is the main attraction.
Address 16 O’Connell Street, city. Open Monday to Saturday until midnight. bavarianbiercafe.com.au.
Drinks $6.80 for 300ml of Lowenbrau original, wine from $7.50 a glass.
Food Fish and chips $30, $13.50 for goulash soup.
9 The Excelsior
We chose this because of the El Loco Mexican taqueria in the back room. It’s fun, casual and you can watch them make tacos on the open grill.
Address 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills. Open until 3am Thursday to Saturday, 10pm Sunday, and till late Monday to Wednesday. elloco.com.au.
Drinks Coopers Green is $5.80, wine from $6 a glass, margarita is $13.50.
Food Try the $5 tacos.
10 The Three Weeds
We love the fireplace, the wooden benches and stools, the pool table and its various nooks and crannies.
Address 193 Evans Street, Rozelle. Open every day until late. 3weeds.com.au.
Drinks $6.60 for a Coopers Green, wine from $5.50 a glass.
Food Fish and chips is $17.