“A medium dry martini, lemon peel. Shaken, not stirred.” Whether it’s a dirty martini, a spicy Bloody Mary or a scotch on the rocks, if you’ve got a signature drink, you want it to be good every time.
Lucky for you, there’s plenty of bars around Sydney specialising in a specific drop. Here’s our pick of the best spots for picky, we mean discerning, drinkers.
Rooms of Whiskey
The lines at this speakeasy may have quietened but the drinks are just as good as they were when The Baxter Inn stormed onto the Sydney scene. Descend into the exposed brick basement and look around in awe at a whiskey collection that definitely deserves its many awards. Piled high on the 10m bar are more than 150 whiskeys. The bar staff are always busy but that’s because they take their time to get the drinks just right – even if that means juicing apples for fresh juice all night.
The Baxter Inn
Basement, 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000
Gin, gin and more gin
Brand new and already very busy, the Stillery stocks 60 different gins. Yes, that’s right 60, with plans for a few more to be imported. In the meantime, 60 will keep you pretty busy. Try classics like Beefeater 24 and Tanqueray No.10, along with local Broken Heart and Young Henrys Noble Cut. If you’re not a complete purist, try out cocktails like the Cross Street Cover Girl: Martin Miller’s gin, pink grapefruit, vanilla and sage.
Stillery Gin Bar
InterContinental Sydney Double Bay
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!
That tiny pocket of Surry Hills has never been the same since Tio’s turned up on it. A Guatemalan owl bar, aka a dive bar with plenty of tequila (more than 100 agave tequila’s), is the place to be if you’re keen to settle in for a serious tequila session.
4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010
Yes that’s right, an entire room dedicated to French bubbles. The top floor of The Winery has been turned into a French boudoir – chandeliers, beautifully upholstered velvet booths, heavy drapes and most importantly, champagne. Lots of champagne. Each table’s custom made “Press for Champagne” buttons light up an art deco lamp, like your flight attendant button on a plane. Except this is so, so much better. Once your waiter is summoned by the light, you’ll be able to place your order for non vintage and vintage champagne by the glass, bottle, magnum or even 6L beast of a bottle of Perrier Jouet or G.H Mumm.
The Winery Surry Hills
285A Crown Street, Surry Hills 2010
Barrels of Craft Beer
Making a name for itself in the craft beer circles for its commitment to sourcing local and international beers, The Lord Raglan is the spot for a palette-informing night with your beer buddies when in Redfern. The bartenders love to quiz their customers on what’s used to create some of the weird and wonderful beers but don’t worry, the beers on taps are usually inoffensive and rotated regularly.
The Lord Raglan
12 Henderson Road, Alexandria 2016
Rum Me Hearty
Like sipping a pina colada on a cruise ship or a mojito at a Cuban club, some drinks need a bit of atmosphere to be properly enjoyed. Rum drinkers will appreciate the Caribbean vibe at this inner city basement bar. Expect rattan lamps, kitsch chairs and emerald green walls – the perfect setting for a Tiki cocktail or two.
The Lobo Plantation
Basement Lot 1, 209 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000
Ok so this isn’t technically a drink, but all this talk of drinks is making us not only thirsty but hungry too. Another CBD basement bar, Grandma’s is about more than just the drinks – the knitting baskets littered around the room and of course the jaffles are pivotal to the charm. From the classic cheese and baked beans to a more high brow (if that’s possible with the humble jaffle iron) combination of chicken, salad, tomato and basil, it’s all good.
Baement, 275 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000