There’s something extremely satisfying about uncovering a new hidden bar. Whether you’ve stumbled upon one or have mapped out all the details on how to track it down, we’re all in agreement that they are simply just so much cooler than your average bar.
So, if you’re a sucker for anything secret and want to boast to your friends about a killer new place you found on the weekend, we’ve got you covered. We’re saving you the time of wandering aimlessly around Sydney and have tracked down the ten best hidden bars scattered around the city (in no particular order).
PS40 is probably the hardest to find, but undoubtedly one of the coolest hidden bars in Sydney.
They were voted bar of the year in 2020 by Timeout and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re over sweet mixers and the same list of cocktails at every bar then this place is perfect for you. It’s home to the Soda company PS Soda, which is an all-natural and locally sourced ingredient-based soda company, and the basis of all of the cocktails at PS40.
Hidden down Skittle Lane, this bar has a super playful vibe, and if you’re looking for the newest and best drinks on the market then this place needs to be at the top of your hitlist.
Their menu changes almost daily, however, we can guarantee that there will always be something you’ll love. Their Guava Verdita Margarita combines Olmeca Altos Blanco Tequila and a daily made verdita with pineapple, guava, parsley, mint, jalapenos, fresh lime, and agave. Or, if you’re in the mood for something sweet, why not try their ‘Mangosteen Ice Cream’? It’s a combo of Ketel One Vodka, sake, mangosteen ice cream from Troy and Tim from Quay, and bergamot. Need we say more?
Location: 40 King St Enter, Skittle Lane, Sydney
The Rook Rooftop Bar
Tucked away above the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s busy streets lies one of the city’s quirkiest hidden bars.
If you’re in need of a good late-night feast then The Rook Rooftop Bar will cure all your cravings. Their food menu is nothing short of amazing from Sydney Rock Oysters, Cali Fish Tacos, Beef Cheek Rigatoni, Lobster Rolls, and a mean-looking Vegan Burger; they simply cover all bases.
Every Saturday from 6pm they serve up $10 gin cocktails along with DJs for you to kick back to all night. Plus, if you’re feeling a little peckish beforehand, rock up between 4-6pm for their Lobster Roll happy hour and feast on an entire lobster for only $60!
Location: level 7/56-58 York St, Sydney
Door Knock Bar
As the name suggests, you’ll have to knock three times before being granted entry into this Sydney hidden bar.
To find Door Knock Bar you have to enter through a fire escape next to a sandwich shop on Pitz street and follow the corridor down until you find a brass pineapple door knocker.
It boasts a very laid back and homely feel with wooden interior and warm lighting, welcoming you from the first step inside and making you feel like you’ve finally found a place to escape the fast-moving city life.
Their cocktail menu is all about the ingredients. From Livin’ LA Vida Loco, a combo of Tanqueray Gin, Coconut, Cacao Nib Wine, Campari and Black Walnut Bitters, to their Rumble in the Jungle which is made up of Plantation Rum, Aperol, Falernum, Pineapple, Lime, Yuzu, and Dill. Their food menu is nothing short of amazing either and changes seasonally with local fresh produce to whip up all of our favourites.
Location: Basement/70 Pitt St, Sydney
Temporarily closed due to flood damage but ready to open back up soon is one of the best hidden bars in Sydney.
The Cumberland is hidden behind a retro fridge door in a tiny bodega-styled deli in the streets of Manly.
Once you’ve located how to get there you’ll cascade down the old wooden stairs and be met with a true underground speakeasy with a Spanish twist. Every little detail has been thought of, from their plush leather seating to the limestone wash walls- this bar truly transports you to the 1920s speakeasy era.
Both their drinks and food menu are inspired by local produce. From their Pork and Fennel Meatballs and Mussels Escabeche to Lobster Rolls, you won’t be short of choice when deciding what to eat. 250 bottles of whiskey make up Cumberland’s boastful liquor display so you can rest assured you’ll find something great to pair with your dinner.
Location: 17/19 Central Ave, Manly
Standing out from the usual bar scene in Sydney, Uncle Mings is truly an all-round experience.
Descend a set of stairs on the famous York Street and if it looks like you’re heading into a suit shop then you’re going the right way to discover this Sydney hidden bar. Once you’ve found the entrance to Uncle Ming’s you could be anywhere in Asia. Tokyo? Hong Kong? Beijing? Not Sydney, that’s for sure.
It’s a very seductive scene with low light red lanterns and steam rising from their to-die-for dumpling menu. Pork Dim Sim, BBQ Pork Buns, Tempura Prawn and Pumpkin Arancini balls are just some of the nibbles on their ‘Dumplings & Delights’ menu.
Although their food is like taking a trip back to China, it’s Uncle Ming’s extensive cocktail and drinks list that will have you wanting more. A large variety of Australian, Japanese, and Singaporean Beers are available, along with their iconic cocktails to share which are served in an authentic Japanese-style teapot. Once Upon A Time in Kyoto is a house favourite and includes Tanquery Gin, Yuzu, Lemon, Cranberry, and Soda.
Location: Basement/49 York St, Sydney
The Barber Shop
If you’ve ever wanted to go to a gin bar whilst getting your haircut then this place is perfect for you.
While appearing to be a retro barbershop from the outside, upstairs a whole other world is taking place. The Barber Shop should definitely be your next weekend out plan with their super-long cocktail list.
For all the gin lovers out there they have over 80 bottles of different gins to choose from. For those who can’t make up their mind they include gin flights, which allow you to sample different Gin’s from all over the world in 4 different packages – Australian, European, UK and Hickson House Distilling Co – allowing you to taste four different gins from each region.
Location: 89 York St, Sydney
This bar is small but mighty and has made a huge name for itself with its very cool Mexican-inspired interior and menu.
Cantina Ok! is situated at the end of a delivery driveway in a tiny garage which is manned by three mischievous barmen.
Their waiters are dressed in bold white and red aprons tying into their Mexican-themed vibe and the area seats only 20 people, so you can expect a truly personal experience with all of the bar staff being extremely passionate about the history and culture that they are serving up.
In 2018 the three owners travelled to Mexico to sample all of the spirits that make up the drinks on their amazing cocktail menu. Their Nevada OK! cocktail is a combo of Tequila, lemongrass, blue chia, shaved ice, and li hing mui, but you simply cannot go past their absolute crowd-pleaser the ‘Maybe OK!’ which is Tequila, Maybe Sammy lychee and raspberry shrub, lime and Flamingo Foam.
Location: Council Pl, Sydney
Love, Tilly Devine
Love, Tilly Devine is possibly the coolest spot in Sydney. Hidden down a laneway in Darlinghurst lies a super trendy hole-in-the-wall bar that could easily become your new local hangout with its effortlessly cool vibes.
Named after the infamous 20th century brothel owner, Tilly Devine is an ode to the swanky era of the 1920s. They have a small but mighty European menu that is constantly changing with seasonal produce but never fails to disappoint.
From Scallop ceviche, cauliflower, furikake and pickled potato to Kingfish, braised chickpeas, fried potato and Pappardelle, Maremma duck & porcini ragu and grana padano their menu is an immersion of European spices.
Location: 91 Crown Ln, Darlinghurst
The Soda Factory
Known for its cheap eats and drinks, The Soda Factory is hidden behind another old retro freezer door within ‘Bobby’s Hotdogs’ which is a very cool 50s-inspired hotdog eatery.
Almost every night of the week they have some type of deal on. Movie Mondays with complimentary free popcorn are always a must, or if you’re hanging out for one of their famous hotdogs then come along on Tuesdays for a $1 gourmet hotdog deal. If dancing the night away is your jam then don’t look past coming in for Jukebox Thursdays that go long into the night.
Their drinks menu ties into their theme perfectly with American diner-style cocktails. Their Piña Colada Float is $19 and is a combo of Malibu Rum with coconut and fresh pineapple juice, or if a classic is more up your alley then try out their American Pie cocktail for $20 including Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, cloudy apple juice, fresh lemon, house-made cinnamon syrup, and soda.
Location: 16 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills
Last but not least on our list of best hidden bars in Sydney – hidden behind a faux dress maker’s storefront, you’ll need to navigate your way down a cascading set of stairs to find this hidden gem.
Inspired by the late-night, back-lane diners that have graced New York City for decades, Stitch falls nothing short of this with an American-styled spirits menu and great food to match.
If you’d enjoy munching down on a hotdog with a glass of true American whiskey in hand then this is definitely the place for you. Hot Wings, Curly fries, and Jalapeno Poppers grace their starters menu.
In true American style, their Burgers, Dogs & Taco Menu is what has the people going crazy. From the famous Mack Ducky which is inclusive of a rich duck sausage and dressed in a pungent truffle and garlic mayo to their Ubiquitous Fried Chicken Sandwich made up of their own blend of spices, served classic with tomato mayo and iceberg lettuce.
Their cocktail menu speaks for itself and tying into their theme again is called US of A. We’d recommend trying their house favourite the Jax’s Addiction, which is a Woodford Rye, coconut, lime, orange and bitters concoction that will teleport you back to the midwest in no time.
Location: 61 York St, Sydney
Feature Image: okokok.com.au