Must-see nightlife in New South Wales

  • Disguised as Betta Meats on the outside, Earl's Juke Joint is acutally a hip bar that lights up at night.

    Earl's Juke Joint

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Swinging Earl's serves craft beers and killer cocktails to the Newtown hip-erati. It's hidden behind the down-at-heel facade of the Betta Meats butcher's…

  • Keith

    Byron Bay & Northern NSW

    Bringing the cool to Murwillumbah, this retro '70s-style spot takes up an arcade space with its cafe-bar and deli shop. The coffee is excellent, and the…

  • Art of Espresso

    New South Wales

    This is the best place in town to get coffee, thanks to Adrian – a coffee-obsessed owner who was the first person to launch mobile coffee carts in…

  • Archie Rose Distilling Co.

    Newtown & the Inner West

    This distillery has made quite an impact with its excellent gins – where better to try them than the place itself? The bar is appropriately industrial…

  • Love, Tilly Devine

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Tilly Devine was a notorious Sydney madam and crime boss in the '30s, and her namesake bar is hidden down a back alley, in true furtive style. The dark,…

  • Timbah

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Quite a way down Glebe Point Rd is an excellent independent bottle shop; turn right to find the convivial wine bar it runs downstairs. Staff will happily…

  • Thirsty Crow Brewing Co

    Southern NSW & The Murray

    Come for the tasty beer – the hoppy Dark Alleyway IPA or the Piranha lager are both good choices – and stay for the wood-fired pizzas ($24 to $27). There…

  • Manly Wharf Hotel

    Manly

    Just along the wharf from the ferry, this remodelled pub is all glass and water vistas, with loads of seating so you've a good chance of grabbing a share…

  • Shakespeare Hotel

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    The 'Shakey' is a classic Sydney pub (1879) with art nouveau tiled walls, scuzzy carpet, the horses on the TV and cheap bar meals. There are plenty of…

  • Golden Sheaf

    Sydney

    A cracking pub, especially at weekends when it thrums with life all day, this is a real eastern suburbs favourite. The beer garden is among Sydney's best:…

  • Wild Rover

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Look for the unsigned wide door and enter this supremely cool brick-lined speakeasy. Ask the bar staff to recommend a whisky from the huge range on offer,…

  • Watsons Bay Beach Club

    Sydney

    One of the great pleasures in life is languoring in the pumping beer garden of the Watsons Bay Hotel, mere metres from the ferry wharf, after a day at the…

  • Coal & Cedar

    Newcastle

    Pull up a stool at the long wooden bar in this Prohibition-style speakeasy where you'll find Newcastle's finest drinking Old Fashioneds to the blues. The…

  • Humber

    South Coast NSW

    Rising above the Gong CBD, this multistorey bar culminates in an attractive roof terrace with retro parasols, overseen by some very competent mixologists …

  • Huskisson Hotel

    South Coast NSW

    The social centre of Huskisson is this light and airy pub that offers fabulous bay views from its deck, which packs out in summer. There’s live music most…

  • Hotel Brunswick

    Byron Bay & Northern NSW

    The 1940s Hotel Brunswick is a destination unto itself, with a magnificent beer garden fanning out from its heritage facade beneath flourishing poincianas…

  • Locura

    Byron Bay

    The folk from Three Blue Ducks opened Locura ('madness' in Spanish), a sleek and sophisticated alternative to Byron's backpacker nightspots. Get your late…

  • Ferment

    New South Wales

    Inside a gorgeous and well-preserved heritage building, Ferment shines a spotlight on local wines (it's the cellar door for a handful of small producers…

  • Roth's

    New South Wales

    The oldest wine bar in NSW (built in 1923) sits behind a small heritage facade, and serves up great local wines (by the glass from $6), fine bar food and…

  • Young Henry's Brewery in Newtown

    Young Henry's

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Conviviality is assured in this craft brewery bar, where the beer, found on taps all over Sydney, is as fresh as you'll get. Basically, they've filled a…

  • Coogee Pavilion.

    Coogee Pavilion

    Sydney

    With numerous indoor and outdoor bars and restaurants, and a large kids' play area, this cavernous complex packs them in, especially at weekends. The…

  • Hive Bar in Erskineville

    Hive Bar

    Newtown & the Inner West

    In groovy Erskineville village, this breezy little corner bar lures the neighbourhood's hipsters with food, cocktails (try the Full Scottish Breakfast…

  • Erskineville Hotel

    Erskineville Hotel

    Newtown & the Inner West

    The Erko's art-deco glory is something to behold, and it also happens to be one of the area's best pubs. The wood-lined beer garden, local characters,…

  • 10 William Street, restaurant bar interior.

    10 William Street

    Sydney

    Paddington loves its quality Italian food and eagerly indulges in this minuscolo slice of la dolce vita on the fashion strip. There are excellent imported…

  • Parliament on King

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Somehow or other this teeny bohemian cafe squeezes in live music, spoken word, life drawing (7pm Thursday, $25) and eclectic events – witchcraft salon…

  • WyNo X Bodega

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Sydney tapas legend Bodega moved in with wine bar WyNo in 2019. The petite space seats 28 at one long table and retains some of the Bodega favourites,…

  • Wyno

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Run by Porteño next door, this wine bar has its own character. Seat yourself at the long communal bar and ask the welcoming waitstaff to suggest delicious…

  • Beresford Hotel

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    The well-polished tiles of the facade and interior are a real feature at this elegantly refurbished historic pub. It's a popular pre-club venue for an…

  • Reserve Wine Bar

    Newcastle

    Run with great enthusiasm for wine but zero pretension, this bar, in a former bank, has numerous wines available from all over the world, and of course…

  • The Henson

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Offering something for everyone, this excellent neighbourhood pub sums up the modern Inner West vibe. Sip craft ale in various indoor spaces, watch…

  • Welcome Hotel

    Sydney

    If you get lost in the tucked-away backstreets of Rozelle, you might find yourself chowing down in the beautiful Welcome Hotel’s acclaimed Italian…

  • Moominn

    South Coast NSW

    With tulips, checked tablecloths and greenery dangling from the ceiling, there's no more darling setting than Moominn. Along with a bluesy soundtrack, the…

  • Courthouse Hotel

    Newtown & the Inner West

    A block back from the King St fray, the 150-year-old Courthouse is one of Newtown's best pubs, the kind of place where everyone from goth lesbians to…

  • The Koutetsu

    Newcastle

    Wire mesh and upside-down lampshades give an offbeat industrial vibe to this dark and atmospheric speakeasy-style West End bar. A sizeable number of…

  • Vasco

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Like the much, much hipper and better-looking Italian cousin of a Hard Rock Cafe, Vasco serves beer, wine and rock-themed cocktails in a room lined with…

  • Darcy Street Project

    Sydney

    This heartening backstreet social enterprise trains up young people as baristas, with a particular focus on refugee and disadvantaged communities. It's a…

  • Bearded Tit

    Newtown & the Inner West

    Redfern shelters a cluster of offbeat hangouts for misfits, creatives, queers and subcultural scallywags, and the Tit is one of the best. A sexy, super…

  • Eau-de-Vie

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    Take the door marked 'restrooms' at the back of the main bar at the Kirketon Hotel and enter this sophisticated, black-walled speakeasy, where a team of…

  • Shady Pines Saloon

    Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

    With no sign or street number on the door and entry via a shady back lane (look for the white door before Bikram Yoga on Foley St), this subterranean…

  • Howlin' Wolf

    South Coast NSW

    Rather inconspicuously located in a shopping arcade, this bar rocks thanks to tattoo-esque decor, a heavy soundtrack and a crowd hell-bent on whisky,…