Freelance writer from Sydney. Images are my own unless specified otherwise.
Published January 2nd 2017
We've got you sorted
Looking to jazz up your weekend with a refreshing cocktail or three? Sydney is full of award winning cocktails bars you can really impress your date with. This list has something for everyone; from those on a tight budget to those seeking the whole posh experience. So get out and celebrate in style.
The Cherry Blossom Bar on the ground floor of the Museum of Contemporary Art is open throughout Summer 2016-2017. The idea was inspired by their current international exhibition; the utterly brilliant, Tatsuo Miyajima from Japan. His dazzling light installation and sculpture exhibit Connect with Everything is running until the 5th of March, 2017.
When it comes to the Cherry Blossom Bar, the theme is Japanese; so the food is Tokyo inspired. You'll find delicious traditional delights such as bento boxes packed with tasty different flavours. They're for two people to share and cost $38. The ambience is relaxed and the décor is a reflection of Japanese style; featuring lanterns and blossoms.
This is no different when it comes to the cocktails, try the 'Tokyo Rose' for $19, it's a refreshing floral cocktail made with Japanese cherry blossom gin. The 'Nashi Highball' for $18 is a good option for those who like their Japanese Whiskey.
Don't leave it too long to get down there, they aren't around for long.
Opening Hours: Thursday and Friday from 4pm. Saturday and Sunday from 4pm. 02 9245 2452. 140 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000
Grandma's bar is located on Clarence Street in Sydney. The area is full of great, hidden away cocktail bars. From the outside, Grandma's looks like a random hole in a wall. You wouldn't think there was a epic party going on down in the basement. You need to be careful not to walk past it, so keep your eyes peeled for the number 275. They call themselves 'retro-sexual' at Grandma's, and you can see why. Even the food will remind you of Grandma's house; they make old school, cheesy Jaffles for 9 bucks.
Grandma's charge about the average price for cocktails in the city, $17-$18. The 'Knickerbocker' (pictured above left) is a beautifully balanced little drink featuring angostura 1919 rum and a strong citrus vibe. If you are daring, why not try the 'Peanut Butter Colada' which is a mix of golden rum, toasted coconut, peanut butter and pineapple. The bar girls love it.
Mon-Fri: 3pm till late, Sat: 5pm till late
275 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Corridor Bar:
Newtown grunge meets elegant drinks.
'The Plum Pisco Sour' and 'The Blood and Sand'
A funky little hipster nook on Newtown's bustling King Street, Corridor has a relaxed atmosphere, but it's also dimly lit and full of mystery. You can see why they've named it 'the Corridor', because it is long and narrow. They do a sumptuous mulled wine which smells divine. When it comes to the cocktails, staff recommend is the 'Plum Pisco Sour' (pictured); it's zingy and perfectly balanced.
Otherwise popular options include their 'Blood and Sand' or the 'Dark and Stormy'. Don't forget happy hour, held on weeknights between 5pm and 7pm. With $10 cocktails and $5 pints, you can see why the place fills up fast. It's best to get in as early as you can to avoid a bit of a wait.
They serve up delicious bites to go with your drinks, so don't forget to ask for a menu. Oh, and check out the website for live band nights.
You'll find Assembly Bar in the Regent Place arcade off George Street, Sydney. Discover a hipster dream bar, where bearded men in black serve you some of the finest premium cocktails in the world. Such fine quality and unique bartending is sure to come with a price, so prepare to spend big. The Zombie Cocktail (pictured) is made with rum, comes to you on fire and will set you back $25. If you really want to impress your mates then order a 'Voodoo' skull for $40. It serves 4 and is predominately citrus and tequila. It is their most popular drink because the effect of the dry ice is magical.
You will probably have to wait in line to order your drinks, so make the trip worth it and order big. Other fascinating cocktails from Assembly Bar include the sweet tooth's favourite, 'Cotton Candy' ($19). Otherwise the 'Rich and Famous' ($19.50) is a great caffeinated boost.
When it comes to food, this place is a tad pricey. The cheese, mushroom and saffron arancini balls ($14) are hard to go past. A cheaper option for groups is to order a wood-fired pizza and split the bill. Check it out on a Sunday when the pizzas and spirits are only $10 from 4pm.
Assembly Bar has won countless prestigious awards from the likes of Vogue, Golden Acacia, Dr Fizz and more. This is the best spot for groups of friends and excellent for special occasions.
Monday-Saturday: 12pm-12am, Sunday: 5pm-10pm.
(02) 9283 8808
488 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
Papa Gedes Bar is located down a cobblestone alleyway off Kent Street, Sydney. Keep an eye out so you don't accidentally pass it; you don't want to miss this one. People head there after work to unwind with one of their delicious concoctions. It really is all about the drinks in this place; they don't offer much in the way of food, so you might want to grab a bite beforehand.
The artistic menu is very inventive; they even sell traditional absinthe in various types. For those who aren't in the mood to get completely hammered, try the Citrus Cure; made with bourbon, honey, ginger and lemon, it's got a real kick to it. For those seeking a pick-me-up, the Voodoo Brew is like an espresso martini with bourbon and salted caramel. Yum. Cocktails range from $16-$20, which isn't bad, considering the great quality. They've even won some prestigious awards in their short time operating. The bartenders are very friendly and attentive, never leaving you without a drink. Oh, and don't forget, the third Tuesday of every month is comedy night.
348 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Opera Bar is located on the water front of Sydney's iconic Opera House. They do a beautiful breakfast spread, and the place is popular from open to close. The cocktail list is very summery; start with their 'Thai This' for something a little more exotic. It's made up of absolut vodka, coconut, vanilla, lime, mint, Thai basil and spiced ginger beer. Otherwise their 'Sydney Sling' is always a big hit. It's an Aussie take on the traditional Singapore Sling; they've used pomegranate in place of pineapple, so it's very refreshing. They'll set you back $19-$20, which is a bit steep but definitely worth it. It's the place to be before seeing a show at the Opera House, and a great spot to spend New Year's Eve.
(02) 9247 1666
Sydney Opera House, Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000
You'll find Gowings Bar and Grill on busy Market Street in the heart of Sydney's CBD. People typically flock to there for the food, which will set you back around $80 for two people. The bar at Gowings, however, is simply spectacular, especially at night. The place has a dark and trendy vibe, the décor is contemporary and everything about it screams European style. They are known for their world class wine list, but the cocktails are just as fabulous. Everyone raves about their Espresso Martinis, and the toasted marshmallow (pictured) is a must try for the sweet tooths out there. The prices are premium, so this is the place to impress your date. The service is friendly and attentive, you'll never be without a drink.