The 16 Best Pubs In Sydney For 2024
— 31 May 2024

The 16 Best Pubs In Sydney For 2024

— 31 May 2024
Boss Hunting
Boss Hunting

Picture the typical Aussie pub and you’re bound to come up with images of a few draft beers on tap, accompanied by a food menu that veers wildly between being too short, or several dozen pages too long.

Fortunately, times have changed; and nowhere is that more apparent than in Sydney — a city that boasts more offshoots of the humble public house than you can shake a schooner at.

From an establishment serving top-notch roast beef and yorkies, to any number of historical institutions that have been around since the late 1800s, here are all the pubs that get Boss Hunting‘s stamp of approval. Your next Sunday sesh? Sorted.

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Taphouse, Darlinghurst

pubs Sydney

Conveniently located at a fork in the road on the border of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, the Taphouse is one of our favourite Sydney pubs as far as overall quality of food & beverage goes.

The Capri-inspired rooftop, with its triangular layout and sun-kissed benches, is a popular hangout during the summer; while the public bar on the ground floor is able to accommodate all but the biggest of crowds.

That said, the main dining area is probably this author’s favourite place to pull up a pew: largely owing to Head Chef Sam Ng’s excellent, cleverer-than-it-looks food menu. Inspired by Sino-Aussie takeout, and the street food of his native Hong Kong, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Taphouse’s sweet and sour pork is easily the best in the Eastern Suburbs.

Cosmopolitan pubgoers are also advised to carve out time to visit during ‘Super Cool Pork Chop Mondays’, when Ng serves up his signature $12 curry: a creamy, fragrant recipe that blows your average katsu bowl out of the water.

Address: 122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Chef(s): Sam Ng
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11:30 AM – 11 PM), Thursday (11:30 AM – 12 AM); Friday – Saturday (11:30 AM – 1 AM), Sunday (11:30 AM – 11 PM)
Bookings: Recommended (for rooftop)

The Mercantile Hotel, The Rocks

Sydney pubs

For a taste of Irish charm amid the picturesque surroundings of The Rocks, The Mercantile Hotel is a no-brainer of a recommendation.

Affectionately referred to as “The Merc” by regulars, this Sydney pub is much more than a place to sink a few Guinness; also boasting weekly live music, an extensive food menu, and B&B-style accommodation upstairs.

Sink into one of the venue’s cushy booths and tuck into an order of ‘Shamrock Pie’ ($29), to the sounds of traditional Celtic rock overhead. With a rich history and lively entertainment programme, a Friday night sesh at The Mercantile comes highly recommended.

Address: 25 George Street, The Rocks NSW 2000
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (10:30 AM – 10 PM), Friday – Saturday (10:30 AM – 12:00 AM), Sunday (11 AM – 11 PM)
Bookings: Optional

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Watsons Bay

Somewhere between a pub and surprise beach club, Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is located in the seaside village of the same name in eastern Sydney.

Boasting a bar and open-air restaurant (the latter incorporating Sydney Harbour views) this is a great example of where one can go in search of a more upscale rendition of the classic pub.

Marine-striped umbrellas and the glass box-style dining room lend this venue an undeniably stylish air: also reflected in the seafood-heavy menu and numerous spritzer-style cocktails on offer.

For the ultimate indulgence, you might also consider concluding your evening with a stay in one of the venue’s on-site guestrooms.

Address: 10 Marine Parade, Watsons Bay NSW 2030
Chef(s): Dominik Nowak
Price Guide: $$$
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday (11 AM – 10 PM), Friday – Saturday (11 AM – 12 AM)
Bookings: Recommended

The Oaks Hotel, Neutral Bay

Arguably one of the most famous pubs in Sydney, centered around an imposing 80-year-old oak tree, The Oaks in Neutral Bay offers three distinct ways to embrace Aussie pub culture.

These include Alala’s, the venue’s leafy beer garden (complete with a cocktail bar and outdoor terrace); the self-explanatory ‘Bar & Grill’; and Taffy’s, where moreish snacks and live-streamed sports reign supreme.

For added convenience, there’s even a bottle shop located on-site. Arranged in the style of a 1950s corner store, be sure to check out the rotating list of beer specials here (all of which may be purchased by the growler if you fancy).

Address: 118 Military Road, Neutral Bay NSW 2030
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday (10 AM – 12 AM), Friday – Saturday (10 AM – 1:30 AM)
Bookings: Recommended

Lord Dudley Hotel, Paddington

best Sydney pubs

For a hint of history with your next pint, head to The Lord Dudley in Paddington. A veritable institution, it was originally established in 1889: making it one of Sydney’s oldest continuously operational pubs – and the only pub in Sydney where you’re legally allowed to drink on the street outside.

The building red-brick exterior and heavily upholstered dining room are immediately transporting: putting you in mind of a old-timey pub in the British Midlands. Fittingly: there’s also an imposing wood-hewn bar and fireplace.

There are usually an array of local and international beers on offer, but really, The Dudley’s main allure is its extensive menu of classic English pub grub. Between scotch eggs and the offal-y good lambs fry (a dish we wish we saw on more menus around the country) there are few places better suited to a cosy winter sesh.

Address: 236 Jersey Road, Paddington NSW 2021
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11 AM – 11 PM), Thursday – Saturday (11 AM – 12 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Optional

Courthouse Hotel, Newtown

Sydney pubs

A Newtown classic established in 1859, the Courthouse Hotel (or “Courty”, as it’s informally known) can always be relied upon for solid week-round entertainment.

A stone’s throw from some of Newtown’s other greatest eateries — Westwood Pizza and Continental Delicatessen among them — this pub is renowned for its exciting rotation of craft beers and sprawling beer garden: a real crowd favourite during the summer months.

It’s not just all about atmosphere, though. Whether you’re settling into one of the venue’s live gigs or catching up with friends, the Courty’s kitchen (open from noon onwards) always has a solid selection of pub grub on the go. Regulars swear by the ‘Can O Nachos’.

Address: 202 Australia Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (12 AM – 12 AM), Friday (11 AM – 12 AM), Saturday (12 PM – 12 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Not required

Duke Of Enmore, Enmore

Walkable distance from most of our Sydney pub recommendations in Newtown, The Duke of Enmore is a Thrasher-infused bar from the award-winning team behind Odd Culture and Pleasure Club.

This venue’s unassuming, appropriately weathered façade belie its status as a local hero: one of the best options in Enmore if you’re after a strong beverage, delicious wood-fired morsels and live music until the early hours.

Beyond the usual assortment of crafty brews, drinkers have plenty to sink their teeth into; with an extensive wine list, full-throated cocktails and (in a nod to The Duke’s popularity with hospo people) $12 picklebacks. Word of advice: don’t sleep on the famous butter chicken wrap.

Address: 148 Enmore Road, Enmore NSW 2042
Chef(s): James MacDonald
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Tuesday (4 PM – 12 AM), Wednesday – Thursday (4 PM – 2:30 AM), Friday – Saturday (12 PM – 2:30 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10:30 PM)
Bookings: Not required

Warren View Hotel, Enmore

Sydney pubs

If The Duke’s hair metal energy is a tad too frenetic, consider The Warren View Hotel: another 19th century stalwart that has stood the test of time. A fantastic option for a relaxed catchup, The Warren View has all of the charm of a good neighbourhood pub: exposed brickwork and a partially enclosed beer garden.

The bistro menu here takes a pan-global view of proceedings: with (admittedly delicious) dishes that appear to be from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. For instant comfort, take a run at the popular, southern-fried ‘3 Piece Feed’.

Of late, the venue has also opened up Teddy’s: a swish new wine bar upstairs. Here, the drinks program swings more in the direction of craft cocktails and small-scale Aussie winemakers you may (or may not) have heard of. Pro tip: at time of writing, $10 Martinis are available from 5pm onwards every Wednesday.

Address: 2 Stanmore Road, Enmore NSW 2042
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday (10 AM – 12 AM), Sunday (10 AM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Not required

The Henson, Marrickville

This pub, formerly known as Henson Park Hotel, is one of our favourite family-friendly recommendations in the Inner West: composed of a down-to-earth front bar, Art-Deco-inspired beer garden, and adjoining children’s play area.

On draft, drinkers can expect the usual suspects: locally made pale ale, kegs of Guinness, and the occasional hard seltzer. What people regularly return for, however (particularly if you’re the ‘spoiled for choice’ type) is The Henson’s extensive food menu.

Between roti with satay, the famous ‘Dirty Bird’ chicken plate, and even veggie dishes as refreshing as gado gado there’s a real plethora of choice for eclectic eaters.

Address: 91 Illawarra Road, Marrickville NSW 2204
Price Guide: $
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11:30 AM – 11 PM), Thursday (11:30 AM – 11:30 PM), Friday – Saturday (11:30 AM – 12 AM), Sunday (11:30 AM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Not required

Village Inn, Paddington

A stone’s throw from the famous Paddington ‘Fashion Intersection’ (where shoppers will find an array of spend-y retailers like Zimmermann and Libertine Parfumerie), The Village Inn wears its old-school charm lightly.

First opened in 1890, the Inn’s present incarnation is spread across two storeys: offering live sport, trivia nights, and a second-floor terrace perfect for some mid-afternoon people watching.

True to form, on the food front, The Village Inn does its best work when it comes to classic pub fare. The venue’s ‘Sunday Roast’ and Guinness pie are all local favourites (deservedly so), but our BH recommendation is to get amongst the specials. Currently on the burners: a generously portioned pork chop, slathered in grain mustard sauce.

Address: 9-11 Glenmore Rd, Paddington NSW 2021
Price Guide: $$$
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday (12 PM – 10 PM), Friday – Saturday (12 PM – 12 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Recommended

Duke Of Clarence, Sydney CBD

A slice of Westminster in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, The Duke of Clarence is about as close as you can come to taking a trip to Old Blighty — without forking out for return flights. Think weathered floorboards, copper-covered taps, wine-red upholstery, and a buzzy atmosphere that is perfect for a couple of well-timed Friday sharpeners.

Unsurprisingly, cask-matured ales are a renowned specialty at this “real British boozer”. But if you fancy yourself a cocktail lover, well, The Duke of Clarence has got you covered there too. The bar team here make one of the stiffest Irish Coffees in the neighbourhood, and always have a ‘Whisk(e)y of the month’ in rotation.

Consider tackling this pub’s exhaustive selection of pints and brews alongside the menu of “unmistakably British eats” (e.g. a ‘Ploughman’s Platter’ or fish finger-stuffed sandwiches).

Address: 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Price Guide: $$$
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (12 PM – 12 AM), Thursday (12 PM – 1 AM), Friday – Saturday (12 PM – 2 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 9 PM)
Bookings: Optional

Forrester’s, Surry Hills

Sydney pubs

Affectionately dubbed ‘Forry’ by Surry Hills locals, Forrester’s is one of two pubs oft frequented by members of the BH team. A stalwart of the suburb, which has been open in some form or another for the past 60 years, the venue’s four discrete spaces mean that there are a multitude of ways to play.

If you’re after a classic brewpub experience, make a beeline for the ‘Public Bar’: complete with large TV screens for your footy of choice and a wide selection of beers (plus the occasional premixed cocktail) on tap.

Next door, you’ll find Phylli’s: an indoor cocktail bar and mezzanine, decked in lush garden foliage and a palette of burnt oranges and pastel blue.

Regardless of whichever part of this reliable two-storey watering hole you settle into, make it a point to order the ‘Big Yorkie’. Consisting of a literal plate-sized Yorkshire pudding — stuffed with potatoes, carrots, and Forrester’s preferred protein of the week — it’s an excellent way to begin proceedings if you’re angling to have a big sesh.

Address: 336 Riley Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Chef(s): Rohit Bohora
Price Guide: $$$
Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday (11:30 AM – 11 PM), Thursday (11:30 AM – 12 AM), Friday – Saturday (11:30 AM – 1 AM), Sunday (11:30 AM PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Optional

The Unicorn Hotel, Paddington

best Sydney pubs

Over the years, Paddington’s Unicorn Hotel has garnered a lot of nicknames, but the most truthful might be “Sydney’s unofficial best schnitty”. Originally established in 1941, this Art-Deco institution has become something of a go-to among diners with a hankering for beer and crumbed chicken.

The signature schnitzel (a whole Bannockburn chook breast, served with winglet still attached) is just one reason to make a pitstop: the others being its highly accessible Paddington location and impressive per capita number of billiards tables.

A partially belowground courtyard also makes this a strong contender for your next group event; with ample room to accommodate up to 50 guests standing.

Address: 106 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Tuesday (4 PM – 10 PM), Wednesday (4 PM – 12 AM), Thursday (4 PM – 3 AM), Friday – Saturday (12 PM – 3 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Optional

Keg & Brew Hotel, Surry Hills

One of four venues run by the veterans of Sydney pubs that are Good Beer Company, the Keg & Brew is BH‘s preferred watering hole in Surry Hills. Like a lot of stellar options on our list, this venue consists of multiple floors, all of which offer a different way to kick back with your favourite brew.

The public bar at street level pours no fewer than 31 draft beers (likely the widest assortment in Sydney’s inner city) while the rooftop beer garden is a great place to tuck into some grub. The usual assortment of beer o’clock classics (e.g. parmy and pork ribs) are all covered, but you may be surprised — in a good way— to find that Keg & Brew massaman curry is also perfectly delicious.

Pro tip: be sure to visit the venue’s Facebook for a regularly updated list of daily specials.

Address: 26 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Tuesday (4 PM – 10 PM), Wednesday (4 PM – 12 AM), Thursday (4 PM – 3 AM), Friday – Saturday (12 PM – 3 AM), Sunday (12 PM – 10 PM)
Bookings: Not required

Lord Roberts Hotel, Darlinghurst

Located a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, Darlinghurst’s Lord Roberts Hotel (a.k.a. ‘The Robbo’) offers a classic pub experience, with just enough modern touches.

There’s an extensive program of live music acts and DJ sets (published via Facebook), all of which take place at The Robbo’s rooftop garden. Meanwhile indoors, a roomy pool area and large-format TV screens mean you’re never more than an arm’s length away from entertainment.

Keen to quaff something other than your run-of-the-mill lager? Then consult the ‘Gin Tonica’: the venue’s own list of signature G&Ts.

Address: 64 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Price Guide: $$
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday (10 AM – 12 AM), Sunday (11 AM – 12 AM)
Bookings: Not required

Harbord Hotel, Freshwater

A popular weekend option in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, the Harbord Hotel epitomises all of the sunshine, lackadaisical charm, and stellar oceanfront views for which Freshwater is so celebrated.

Following a massive renovation (completed in 2021), this North Sydney pub was reimagined as two discrete spaces: a courtyard bar area serving coffee, beer, and cocktails; and the ‘Dining Room’ – an excellent contender for a long lunch, where the menu takes inspiration from “the iconic surf trip [between] Malibu and Mexico”.

Come Friday, the proverbial kids will most definitely find the Harbord alright: with a roster of local DJs spinning tunes from 5pm onwards, all with zero cover charge.

Address: 29 Moore Rd, Freshwater NSW 2096
Price Guide: $$$
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday (11 AM – 12 AM)
Bookings: Not required

If you’ve enjoyed this round-up of the best pubs in Sydney, consider checking out some of our other stories about eating & drinking below:

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