Sydney's best bars
Photography: Anthony Geernaert
The past year has seen yet another wave of exciting new watering holes, chief among them Bulletin Place (10-14 Bulletin Pl, Sydney), a game-changer for cocktail bars with its mix of benchmark-setting drinks and a laid-back vibe.
Rock and roll-inspired Vasco (421 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, 0406 775 436) is equal parts fun and well-made tipples, while the good folk of Shady Pines Saloon (4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst; entry via Foley St) have a rollicking newcomer in Frankie's Pizza (50 Hunter St, Sydney), best exploited for its pizza, boutique beers and impressively late opening hours.
Sister and cousin bars The Baxter Inn (Basement, 152-156 Clarence St, Sydney) and Tio's (4-14 Foster St, Surry Hills) are still going strong, too, dispensing serious whisky and tequila unseriously respectively.
For a more rum-rich adventure, head to Lobo Plantation (209 Clarence St, Sydney) and savour a Caribbean class act. Eau de Vie (229 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst, 02 9357 2470), meanwhile, flies the flag for the high-end cocktail, while nearby Hinky Dinks (185 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst, 02 8084 6379) keeps things fun and friendly, '50s style. At The Hazy Rose (Level 1, 83 Stanley St, Darlinghurst, 02 9357 5036), the relaxed vibe and talent behind the bar guarantee good times.
The late hours and speakeasy theme at Palmer & Co (Abercrombie La, Sydney, 02 9240 3000) continues to hook the inner-city crowd, as do the French-inspired cocktails at Felix. Mojo Record Bar (basement, 73 York St, Sydney, 02 9262 4999) earns plaudits for decent drinks with a side of great vinyl.
Over in the inner west and south, things are looking good thanks to boho Arcadia Liquors (7 Cope St, Redfern), the tiny and rockin' Midnight Special (44 Enmore Rd, Newtown), friendly Fernet-soaked, New Orleans-leaning Earl's Juke Joint (407 King St, Newtown) and Mary's (6 Mary St, Newtown) - a loud, grungy bar that happens to serve the best burger in town.
More of the best Sydney has to offer
There's serious cocktail-making talent on deck at the shipshape Hello Sailor (96 Oxford St, Darlinghurst), and it's a similarly marine scene over Bondi way at The Anchor (8 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach, 02 8084 3145).
The nearby ocean-facing room at Icebergs is still the top spot to soak up sunsets any time of the year.