You can’t walk one block in Surry Hills without stumbling across a bar, be it a classic inner-city pub, a secret speakeasy, a classy cocktail joint or an off-the-wall themed venue. Check out our picks for the top 10 bars for a tipple in Sydney’s coolest suburb.
Smack bang in the middle of Surry Hills is a luscious courtyard that’s always packed with punters enjoying a glass of vino beneath the twinkling fairy lights. This urban oasis boasts intimate outdoor and indoor areas as well as function rooms, and although wine is obviously its speciality, the Winery isn’t a one-trick pony — don’t miss the playful food menu and cheeky cocktail list, including drinks named Cuba Pudding Jr, Disco Biscuit and Boom Chicka Wow Wow.
The footpath outside the K&B — a modern revamp of the historic KB Hotel, which dates back to 1936 — is one of Sydney’s most popular places for after-work drinks, with crowds flocking for the $4.50 schooners during happy hour (5-7pm). Inside the taxidermy-lined venue, this lively old-school pub plates up delicious pub grub and an extensive selection of craft beers and ciders, with more than 30 taps and three hand pumps.
Just off Taylor Square where Surry Hills meets upmarket Paddington and Darlinghurst, this elegant bar and restaurant mixes suave cocktails and sophisticated dishes using the freshest local ingredients. The brains behind the shoebox-sized Bulletin Place in Circular Quay opened their second venue in 2015, and it’s already earned a formidable reputation for inventive cocktails, a constantly evolving wine list, and a nice selection of Australian beer and cider.
Don’t let the name fool you — The Wild Rover isn’t your average Irish bar full of Guinness-guzzling expats fresh from the Emerald Isle. This cosy exposed-brick space pours both classic and imaginative cocktails — don’t miss the Guinness Punch, a creamy concoction described as “a very moreish Jamaican milkshake” — as well as an enviable whisky collection plus a rotating roster of craft beers. Food is limited but the house-made lamb sausage rolls are to die for.
Karaoke, yakitori and sake – these are the three ingredients that make this eclectic Surry Hills institution what it is. In fact, describing Goros as “eclectic” doesn’t quite cut it — after transforming a dingy old tavern in 2014, this Japanese-themed bar has somehow managed to combine grungy decor, neon lighting, skewered chicken, pinball machines, private karaoke booths, and a sizeable sake menu to create one of the suburb’s hottest new venues.
This Foveaux St favourite is pirate-themed… subtly, of course, limited to the barrels of house-spiced rum, ropes and anchors incorporated into the decor, and the eyepatch-wearing button in the logo. Pass through the wooden door to enter this world of cocktails and classic rock ’n’ roll, which makes you feel like you’ve entered the hull of a ship. Well, the sort of ship where the skipper had really good taste in drinks and music.
The team from Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and the nearby Hotel Harry have resurrected this Crown St institution since 2016, turning a one-beige pub into one of Surry Hills’ most fashionable watering holes. The new owners transformed the decor into a sea of brick and graffiti, and that wasn’t the only major change the Dolphin has enjoyed, with the addition of a fresh new Italian-style bistro and intimate wine room.
From Crown St, the Clock just looks like your regular big city pub. But step inside and you’ll discover a range of spaces to suit any occasion, from the huge balcony overlooking one of Sydney’s hippest streets to the classy cocktail bar, the always-busy public bar with sport on the TV to the atmospheric sunken courtyard. That award-winning cocktail bar, the Whisky Room, is an especially stylish space serving drams of 200-plus quality malts.
Named after Italy’s biggest rock star, Vasco Rossi, this bar has music coursing through its veins. Peppered with rock ’n’ roll knick knacks, this grungy Cleveland St establishment mixes refined cocktails (named after legendary bands, songs, albums and lyrics, of course) and plates up simple Italian dishes, including the famous hotdog featuring a spicy Calabrian-style sausage.
This Surry Hills neighbourhood pub offers something for everyone, from beer drinkers eager to swill schooners in the front bar to diners wanting to tuck into the Italian trattoria-style menu in the leafy courtyard out the back, and even live music and a dance floor at Upstairs Beresford on Friday and Saturday nights. Located not far from Oxford St, the Beresford used to be an iconic gay bar — and it’s still mighty popular with the LGBTQI+ community, especially on Sundays.