Sydney’s hipster capital Newtown and its next-door neighbour Enmore form one of the most colourful corners of the city, and their vibrant array of watering holes are key to their atmosphere. Thirsty? Grab a drink at one of these 10 pubs and bars in these two inner-west suburbs.
No bar in Newtown is as much loved as the Courty, an institution of the 2042 postcode for well over a century. This old-school pub caters to all tastes, with a buzzy front bar boasting a cracking range of craft brews on tap, a shady verandah and leafy beer garden out the back, pinball machines if you feel like a game, and footy (especially AFL) playing on the TVs.
Hidden behind the ‘rustic’ facade of the butchers shop it took over five years ago lies a little slice of New Orleans transplanted onto King St. With a long wooden bar occupying one half of the space, a string of candlelit tables taking up the other, and pictures of jazz legends lining the walls, Earl’s Juke Joint boasts a sophisticated cocktail menu heavy on dark spirits.
Named after a 1934 song by blues legend Lead Belly and inspired by the dive bars of the US, this small Enmore Rd bar is all about American soul. With a rotating roster of seasonal cocktails and a thoughtful bar snack menu, the Midnight Special’s vision is to provide neighbourhood locals with a friendly place to chat, drink, eat and listen to blues and rock. Mission accomplished.
Newtown’s favourite brewery is also one of the neighbourhood’s best day-drinking spots — the tasting bar shuts at 7pm every evening, so sneak a few pints in while the sun’s still shining. Six years ago, Young Henrys converted a Wilford St warehouse into a quintessentially inner-west craft brewery, and now the colourful brewery bar is a popular spot to sample the product fresh from the source.
The refined American fare at the award-winning Hartsyard restaurant has proved so popular that the owners decided to open a second venue a few doors down Enmore Rd. Billed as “our little sister just up the road”, the Gretz is a laid-back neighbourhood cocktail bar serving seafood snacks with their drinks — the perfect place to pop in for a tipple before you pop across the road to the Enmore Theatre for a gig.
This Enmore Rd institution has grown into one of Sydney’s premier late night venues since unpopular lockout laws have chilled the nightlife scene in the inner-city, with affordable drinks and a line-up of live music acts throughout the week, drawing plenty of party-goers to Enmore instead. Sly Fox is also a much-loved queer-friendly venue, especially on Wednesdays for lesbian night Birdcage.
Newtown and Enmore can’t quite claim the same small bar scene that’s taken over suburbs like Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, and Paddington, but Corridor is one of the best in the inner-west. The charming interior is made up of a bunch of intimate nooks and crannies that surround the wooden bar at the centre of it all, plus there’s a twinkly rooftop terrace for an alfresco cocktail.
Mary’s is famous for grilling some of Sydney’s best burgers, but the grungy converted warehouse is also one of Newtown’s favourite bars. Grab a Mary’s burger or a basket of fried chicken and wash it down with beer or a bottle of natural wine, enjoying the rock ‘n’ roll industrial-chic ambience of this mega-popular Mary St establishment.
This mini-golf bar made quite a splash when it moved into the old Newtown Social Club two years ago, and although it was a shame to see yet another live music venue bite the dust in Sydney, Holey Moley has been a popular addition. Grab one of the cheeky cocktails and some of the inventive pub snacks, then tackle the playful, neon-lit 18-hole putt putt course.
In 2016, the legendary Zanzibar received a total makeover. The result? Websters Bar. The three-level venue is made up of three distinct stories: a rustic steampunk-inspired street bar on the ground floor, a 1920s Prohibition Era-style bourbon bar and grill on the second level, fitted out with a fireplace and booth seating, and an astro-turf rooftop bar that aims to invoke a little piece of 1950s Australian suburbia.