Looking for a place to sip on a schooner while bathing in Sydney’s famous sunshine? Look no further than these 10 alfresco watering holes dotted across the Harbour City.
The ‘Courty’ is a bona fide Newtown institution, pouring amber liquid just off King St since way back in the 19th century. A large chunk of the appeal lies in the massive beer garden out the back, where the picnic tables are filled with everyone from blue-collar workers knocking back Resch’s to resident hipsters sipping on local craft brews. The front bar is also a hotspot for Sydney’s AFL fans watching games on TV.
This place is the Disneyland of beer gardens. The old Newport Arms looks nothing like it did when it first opened in the 1880s, following a massive renovation in 2016, which transformed the stunning waterfront location into an enormous alfresco marketplace of different cuisines serving everything from pizza and burgers to seafood and sweet treats. Oh, and schooners of ice cold beer, of course.
Located just a dropkick away from the Newtown Jets’ fabled rugby league ground Henson Park, this Marrickville pub is the perfect blend of old and new. Check out the array of historic sporting memorabilia in the main bar while you’re grabbing a local craft brew before popping outside to the stylish beer garden, which has a popular children’s area attached to cater for families.
Wonder how this pub got its name? Stare up at the great big oak tree shading the beer garden, which twinkles with fairy lights after dark. This huge Neutral Bay institution has been around since 1885, attracting a loyal crowd keen to grill their own steak, sample the range of beers on tap, or put their feet up in one of Sydney’s most iconic beer gardens.
From the outside, this Enmore establishment is an Art Deco masterpiece. On the inside, the Golden Barley is just as charming. Family-owned for the last 25 years, the front bar is an old-school boozer of yesteryear, the modern bistro plates up quality pub grub, but the leafy outdoor area totally steals the show, claiming the title of the biggest and best beer garden in Sydney’s Inner West.
Alfresco watering holes don’t get much more stylish than the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, overlooking the serene waters of Sydney Harbour in one of the city’s most salubrious suburbs. Grab an Aperol Spritz—the in-vogue tipple of choice in this posh part of town—and a spot under one of the blue-and-white parasols to whittle away the afternoon in one of Sydney’s most stylish bars.
The ‘Erko’ is famous for its food—the mouthwatering menu coming from the alfresco smoker has collected plenty of awards—but the big backyard where the barbecue lives is just as appealing. This renovated Art Deco pub prides itself on its wide range of locally sourced craft beers, best enjoyed with good company in the lively beer garden out the back.
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. There’s even live music and a dancefloor 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.
This North Sydney establishment was just another regular bowling club until it enjoyed a major facelift in 2015, re-energising the food menu and modernising the space. The bowlo—which was founded in St Leonard’s Park in 1888—still exists, but it’s now accompanied by a stylish outdoor space boasting views of the Harbour Bridge that’s packed with well-heeled Lower North Shore locals every weekend.
Location, location, location. Enjoy a frosty cold one with sand between your toes at the Coogee Bay Hotel, a short stroll from the sand of one of Sydney’s most beautiful beaches. Locals and visitors alike have been sipping on schooners by the seaside since way back in 1875, pulling up a seat in the large beer garden to enjoy ocean views with a drink and meal.
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