The 10 Best Bars In Paddington, Sydney

Charlie Parker's open kitchen
Charlie Parker's open kitchen | © Charlie Parker's
The leafy streets of inner-city Paddington are sprinkled with some of Sydney’s top watering holes, and these are 10 of the best places to pop in for a tipple.

Wedged between the city centre and the swanky Eastern Suburbs, Paddington is one of Sydney’s most fashionable and exclusive suburbs, and its charming bars are key to the neighbourhood’s charm. From century-old watering holes to modern gastropubs, these great bars around Paddington, Sydney are the best places to grab a drink.

Charlie Parker’s

Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Charlie Parker's interior © Charlie Parker's
Charlie Parker's interior | © Charlie Parker's

Named after the legendary American saxophonist, Charlie Parker’s is an atmospheric basement bar that works closely with local producers to create colourful cocktails brimming with fresh ingredients and botanicals. Follow the stairs through Fred’s restaurant to find this warmly lit speakeasy, which also plates up inventive bar snacks from the kitchen upstairs.

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10 William St

Wine Bar, Italian, $$$

This hole-in-the-wall has a wine list so long you could spend hours reading it before you even got around to ordering a bottle. Located (predictably) at 10 William St, this pint-sized wine bar and restaurant is run by the same family that owns Fratelli Paradiso in nearby Potts Point, bringing those similar Italian flavours to the alleyways of Paddington.

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The Paddington

Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Roast chicken at the Paddington © The Paddington
Roast chicken at the Paddington | © The Paddington

The suburb of Paddington is peppered with plenty of neighbourhood pubs, but The Paddington is slightly more fancy. Each section of this pub/restaurant/cocktail bar is uniquely styled, serving some of the best pints and pub grub you’ll find anywhere in the suburb. The roast chicken, made golden by the custom-built rotisseries, is the house specialty.

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Grand National Hotel

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$

You can’t walk a block in Paddington without bumping into a trendy new gastropub, but the Nash was dishing up first-class bar food since before it was cool. This much-loved Underwood St establishment enjoyed major renovations in 2014, although the casual dining menu — loaded with delicious burgers, salads and Sunday roasts — didn’t change.

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The Village Inn

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Burgers and beer at the Village Inn © Village Inn
Burgers and beer at the Village Inn | © Village Inn

Durty Nelly’s had been pulling pints of Guinness for more than a century before new owners took over in 2015, swapping the old Irish theme for more stylish decor. The Village Inn is now one of the area’s most refined pubs — think exposed brick, raw timber, and a sun-kissed balcony perched high above the hustle and bustle of Oxford St below.

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The London Hotel

Bar, Brasserie, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Pint of beer © Scottb211 / Flickr
Pint of beer | Pint of beer

This upscale Underwood St pub delivers something for everyone: live sport beaming from big-screen TVs in the front bar, craft beers flowing in the airy courtyard bar and refined pub food in the dining room, including slow roast pork belly and a quinoa, pumpkin and mushroom casserole. The London is particularly popular with punters slurping on a schooner or five before heading to watch football at the nearby Allianz Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground.

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The Unicorn Hotel

Pub, Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Dish at the Unicorn © The Unicorn
One of many mouthwatering dishes at the Unicorn | © The Unicorn

A pub has stood on this Oxford St site since the mid-1800s, and it’s been called the Unicorn since 1941. The brains behind Sydney hospitality icons Porteño, Mary’s and Young Henrys have carried the pub into the new millennium, retaining the soul of the place while adding a sophisticated bistro downstairs and a number of craft beers and cocktails.

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Italian Bar

Bar, Italian, $$$
Aperol spritz © Caspar Diederik / Flickr
Aperol spritz | Aperol spritz

As the name suggests, this Oxford St venue isn’t a typical Australian bar — the Franchi brothers take their food seriously, influenced by their Tuscan father and Sardinian mother. Once you’ve polished off a gourmet pizza or a plate of antipasti, it’s time to peruse the all-Italian drinks menu. Wine is imported from every corner of the old country, plus there’s a range of digestivi, grappe, aperitivi and beer from Italy, too.

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The Royal Hotel

Bar, Pub, Hotel Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
Sydney by night
Sydney by night | © Hai Linh Truong/Flickr

The Royal is an icon of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, towering high above the Five Ways in the heart of Paddington. This multi-story establishment is divided into a series of spaces, but the star is the Rooftop: climb four floors through the Elephant Bar to reach the alfresco terrace, which takes in panoramic views over the city centre.

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The Bellevue

Bar, Pub, Hotel Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
Beers on the bar © Arup Malakar / Flickr
Beers on the bar | Beers on the bar

Another of Paddington’s gussied-up pubs, The Bellevue benefitted from a multi-million-dollar makeover in 2015, replacing its legendary old crumbed lamb cutlets with a more modern European menu. This Hargrave St institution still pulls the same icy cold schooners it has for 130 years, though now they are consumed in either the lively Public Bar or the slightly more swish Terrace Bar.

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These recommendations were updated on September 20, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.