7 of the best watering holes in Sydney

Dean and Nancy 22 a favourite watering holes in Sydney, bartender and guests
Busby’s in Paddington
The new Busby’s in Paddington with food by Clayton Wells.

Did you know the colony of Sydney once used rum as currency? The city still enjoys a few drinks and there are lots of watering holes.


Busby’s, an everyday natural wine and record bar by hospitality group, PUBLIC, has opened at the street level of Oxford House, Paddington. The bar menu is spearheaded by one of Australia’s most lauded chefs – Creative Culinary Director, Clayton Wells (ex-Automata).

Busby’s, 21 Oxford St, Paddington, no phone

The Quarryman’s Hotel

This pub is a real find, with a beer garden, rooftop bar and unique craft beers. Downstairs, there’s up to 34 taps pouring beers from mostly independent Aussie breweries. Upstairs, the Palm Springs-style rooftop with pink decor, striped umbrellas and city views has a cocktail-menu focus. The food? Classic pub faves with flair, it’s one of Pyrmont’s favourite watering holes.

The Quarryman’s Hotel, 214-216 Harris St, Pyrmont, (02) 9660 0560


An underground bar in The Rocks, Alice is bold and plush, just like the cocktails on the menu. The decor is similar to a jazz club without the jazz – think velvet-clad booths, soft lighting and pink ostrich-feather lamps. The Japanese-style flavours on the menu are inspired by Alice’s sister venue, Saké Restaurant and Bar.

Alice, 16 Argyle St, The Rocks, (02) 9145 8145

Dean & Nancy on 22

Ascend high above the city to this lofty cocktail lounge with a distinctive 1950s New York feel. Encircled by glass to showcase gleaming Sydney skyscrapers, the space is all leather, brass and marble. While it’s steeped in luxury, it doesn’t take itself too seriously – there’s a playfulness to the cocktails, food and staff.

Dean & Nancy on 22, 2 Hunter St, Sydney, 0408 994 817

The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel

If only the walls of this historic pub could talk – The Lord Nelson has been serving drinks in The Rocks for almost 200 years. Today, they even brew award-winning beer in the cellar. The upstairs dining room is covered in convict-hewn sandstone, yet the menu is a perfect example of modern Australian cuisine. 

Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, 19 Kent St, The Rocks, (02) 9251 4044


This Sicilian-style bar takes up the basement of heritage-listed dining mecca Hinchcliff House. Named after the character of Apollonia in The Godfather, the bar’s cocktail list continues with the Italian theme. Try the La Bonita with tequila and grapefruit marsala, or the Seasonal Negroni with gin, vermouth and Italian bitters.

Apollonia, 5-7 Young St, Sydney, (02) 7228 1400

Hotel Palisade

Hotel Palisade has a rich maritime history and show-stopping views. Built in 1916, it’s a narrow, towering building of five levels – a public bar at street level, boutique hotel rooms in the middle and a swanky rooftop bar on top. Order a cocktail at Henry Deane bar and admire the pretty-as-a-picture posterior angle of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Hotel Palisade, 35 Bettington St, Millers Point(02) 9018 0123

Looking for some local pubs? Check our guide for the best pubs in Sydney.


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