While Sydney’s notorious lockout laws have made some areas of the city a ghost town, there is one thing for certain. The small bar scene has never been more diverse or classy.
With bars all over the city dedicated to various spirits, some fancying a dabble of wine or craft beers, and some focusing on a cheeky theme, Sydneysiders certainly are a bit spoilt for choice (for once.)
So when it comes to the best secret bars to have your next beverage (or four) at, we’ve picked out five of the very best watering holes to suggest to the group chat.
#1 Lobo Plantation
Sitting underground on Clarence St, and sitting in between Town Hall and Wynyard Station, Lobo is a feast for the multiple senses. Sporting a very chill Caribbean-chic theme, the bar features classic low-key lighting and is perf for a subtle date night, after work cocktail or sly midweek bev. Serving over 250 types of rum (no typo), it’s a bar that oozes class, yet still manages to feel very comfortable and vibrant. Just be careful, the rum cocktails are v addictive. So you could PayPass your way through a whole paycheque.
#2 The Doss House
Arguably Sydney’s best new secret bar, The Doss House is a whiskey drinker’s haven. Bringing a fun, yet eclectic mix of history and playfulness in it’s sandstone walls, the House has over 150 whiskey’s on offer, from your regular staples to the rarest bottles you can find across the country (let alone Sydney.) They also have some amazing grazing platters, with a delightful range of chutneys, breads, cheeses and cured meats (that will make you realise how good matching palette food + drink is).
#3 Earl’s Juke Joint
A touch of elegance to the rugged Newtown feel, EJJ’s is literally known for being almost too sneaky for it’s own good. The entrance is what seems like a butcher’s shop, but the bouncer at the door should (hopefully) be a dead giveaway. Walk through and you get one of the suburb’s busiest bars, featuring a hugely impressive range of cocktails. Count yourself lucky if you get a seat, and don’t be surprised if your first Tinder date ends up (or starts) here.
#4 Big Poppa’s
Italian eats meets dimly-lit cocktail bar, Big Poppa’s is one of Sydney’s (relatively) newer venues, opening up in 2016, yet already becoming a fave for heaps of locals. Always spinning some of the most iconic hip hop ever made, the venue has a bit of a baller vibe. The ground level (which is technically also ‘upstairs’) definitely has more of a relaxed restaurant vibe, featuring some staple Italian eats, cheeses and talked-about gnocchi. Downstairs you’ll get a cocktail bar vibe, which is made for catch-ups galore. The best part is the kitchen is open til 2.30am, so you can get plenty of nibbles to cure any tipsiness.
#5 Stitch Bar
If you’ve just come back from a trip to the United States, you’re about to head over, or if you just like the idea of a smokey New Orleans meets Nashville meets Austin type of vibe, Stitch is a must. Sporting an array of whiskey’s, and one of the best and most reasonably priced cocktail bar food menus, it’s an always-buzzing bar. The tacos are drool-worthy and if you love Old Fashioned’s, they are my personal favourite for the best in town. Just keep an eye out though, good chance you’ll miss the entrance it’s that sneaky.
Love all of the secret bars? Well if you do, the lovely folk at BENCHMARQUE are here to help ‘ya out. They’re hooking you up with FREE Dinner + Drinks @ Big Poppas (up $150 dollarydoos of spending!). You’ll be tucking into some delish Italian food and cocktails all on us. Simply enter via the form below, but be quick, entries close June 18th at 11.59pm. You can also click here to learn more about BENCHMARQUE and how they can get you jobs at some of the best sneaky secret bars in Sydney
Win Dinner & Drinks For You + A Mate @ Big Poppas!
Image Sources: Lobo Plantation Facebook, The Doss House Facebook, Green Eggs & Pam, Australian Bartender, Hidden City Secrets