Sydney’s New Age Irish Drinking Den

The Doss House200 bottles of whisky on the wall… the singing starts early on Sundays at The Doss House, when an Irish ‘trad band’ forms up out of a medley of musicians.

Each week is a different mix, from harps and accordions to flutes and a tin whistle, be it professionals and amateurs, singers and warblers, the traditional Celtic music you’d find in Irish pubs has been transported to The Rocks at this lovingly transformed basement bar.

And they’re not really singing about whisky, just drinking it, or to be precise, choosing from the very extensive global selection on offer. Ease in with an excellent Old Fashioned, that’s one of the most reasonably priced Makers Mark cocktails around town, or go straight for the bottles of whisky. The Irish owners have even started up a whisky locker, already full, where patrons can buy their favourite bottle and lock it up for safe keeping until next time.

So just where is this ode to old world Ireland? Tucked into the tiny network of rooms in the very heart of The Rocks. Opium den, boot makers’ workshop, that cool yet creepy puppet shop we’ve all been into once, a clothing storage room and the cheap lodging house the bar is named after; the den-like sandstone rooms of The Doss House have had many lives. If walls could talk, we’d be settling in for some seriously tall tales. Today, if you ask the bar tenders nicely, they’ll pull out a few of the really good ones they’ve gleaned from archeologists specialising in Sydney’s special brand of colourful history.

The Doss House cocktails

The Doss House might be the newest bar in The Rocks, but it’s making the most of its epic past to transport you straight back to the good old times, with wing-backed leather arm chairs, antique ottomans, rusty gilded mirrors and the darkest mood lighting we’ve seen in a while.

With candlelight flickering off the sandstone walls, a nip of whisky in one hand and a cheese platter in the other, this is the kind of place you can settle into for a casual catchup, a cosy date, or just a trip down memory lane with some friends.

Alongside all the whisky, the cocktail menu has a good selection of classics – you won’t find a better balanced Bees Knees – and fun signature drinks like The Dusky Scotsman, Laphroaig 10 yo, Branca Menta, honey and saline served in a dainty teacup. And of course, there’s Guinness on tap, which gets a good workout during the trad band Sunday sessions.

The Doss House platter

Along with the extensive displays of whisky bottles, the main bar has one glass cabinet reserved for a rather impressive cheese selection. Get ready to dig into Triple cream, brie, British cheddar, Irish blue, and a whisky infused cheese that has a bit of a kick. Charcuterie, Ploughman’s, Aussie-themed, Veggie and all out Cheese overload-themed sharing platters go down a treat, especially when the cheese is accompanied by pickles, sun dried vegetables, chutneys, salami, ham and rye bread.

Whether you want to settle in for a Celtic singalong that will send shivers down your spine, or get your whisky fix, The Doss House has you sorted.

The Doss House 
77 George St, The Rocks

About the author

Lisa used to use Sydney as a base to drop off souvenirs before heading off on the next adventure but these days she’s got her feet almost on the ground, with a desire to try every high tea in Sydney, and a cute cavoodle puppy at home. Travel writer, photographer and Kitchen Aid freak, she loves to eat, bake and write.


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