7 Of The Best Hidden Bars In Sydney

For when you need to escape, even just for an hour with a martini.

The Barber Shop Sydney secret bar
Photo: @thisisthebarbershop

Who doesn’t love a hidden bar? The idea of walking down a sketchy lane or staircase, to find a bustling, dim-lit bar behind a brick wall or wooden door, filled with diners and drinkers indulging covertly in martinis and gimlets. 

To celebrate the roaring twenties, we’re taking it back to 1920 when booze was prohibited, and secret knocks and passcodes led to gin joints. Only, Sydney’s hidden bars don’t need passcodes, they just take some savvy navigation to find some of them. 

Old Mate's Place rooftop bar
Photo: @oldmatesplace

Old Mate’s Place

Set within a run-down office building, is Old Mate’s Place, a bustling bar, with an upstairs oasis of palm trees and tiki cocktails. To get here, you have to climb four flights of stairs, but when you get to a wooden door, just knock. Inside, you will find a warm, inviting bar to enjoy butter fat washed whiskey, roasted walnut old-fashioned, or other classic cocktails with a twist. They also serve a small menu of bites, such as deli meats, cheese and charcuterie, and cheesesteaks.

The Lobo Sydney underground bar
Photo: @thelobo_syd

The Lobo

This underground bar on Clarence Street is all about rum, so expect a rum flight, a rum punch, and a collection of over 250 rums from Antigua to Tobago. The Lobo is a great place to bunker down as the weather gets cooler. Enjoy a small selection of eats, including empanadas and the chef-recommended Cuban sandwich, which is filled with slow-roasted pork, triple smoked ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and Dijon mustard on ciabatta bread. The atmosphere is a slice of old Cuba. Expect deep reds and greens, dark woods, and leather, lots of leather seating.

prince of york hidden sydney bar
Photo: @_princeofyork

Prince Of York

This hidden bar is housed in an old Sydney bank. Upstairs, you enter via a restaurant, but downstairs, you will find a velvet destination, where dancing on tables is encouraged, and tequila is bought by the bottle. There is a vault that stores limited release wines, but you can also savour a sip in the downstairs bar accompanied by sophisticated takes on pub grub, including a cheese toastie with bone marrow, lamb ragu pasta bake, and 800g rib eye steaks. Downstairs in Pamela’s, dance to live DJ’s from Thursdays to Saturdays ‘til late. 

The Barber Shop Sydney secret bar
Photo: @thisisthebarbershop

The Barber Shop

It doesn’t get any more nostalgic than a barbershop. Here, at The Barber Shop, revel in a bygone era, where taverns were called parlours, and murky lighting was a necessity. Enter via a functioning barbershop on York Street, to find a tavern housing over 700 gins and slinging world-class cocktails in a simple setting. If you’re peckish, they have a small selection of share plates including duck sausage rolls, truffled 3 cheese toastie, cheeseburger, and meat and cheese board to pair with their international wine list. 

the baxter inn sydney hidden bar

The Baxter Inn

For most Sydneysiders, The Baxter Inn is as old school as it gets. When you walk in, good-looking fellas pour the whiskey behind a fairy light lit bar. With over 1,000 whiskeys to choose from, they boast the biggest collection of single malt in Australia. The basement-level bar is a great place to hide from the city bustle for a few hours after work. The decor is old school, think low ceilings, brick walls, dark woods, and soft carpet. The bartenders can whip up pretty much anything you ask for, although you would be a miss to leave without trying a dram of whisky or two.

Bulletin Place Sydney hidden bar
Photo: @bulletinplacesydney

Bulletin Place

This long-standing cocktail bar is best known for slinging crafted cocktails in the historic laneway, Bulletin Place. The small bar, hidden near the harbour has stood the test of time and is still to this day a popular watering hole. Cocktails of the day are written down on butcher’s paper behind the bar, and there are only five kinds of cocktails a night. For wine lovers, expect a range of local tipples and award-winning bottles.

Shaffa Sydney hidden bar
Photo: @shaffasydney


Venture down a narrow alleyway between a 120-year old church to find this slice of Tel Aviv culture. While their food is definitely worth a try, if you keep walking, you will find a bar enclosed in a brick cave, channelling a middle eastern aesthetic. On the menu, find cocktails like you would in the motherland, including Layla Lavan, which uses arak, macadamia liquor, coconut milk, and coconut and halva cream. Other intriguing cocktails include the Levantine Sour, a gin and pear juice drink with tonka bean syrup, and the Dafna, with vermouth, fino, sage, and pomegranate seeds.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


All of the Sydney Food News You Need to Know

For all your Sydney food moments.

Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay of people clinking glasses with red wine over rustic wooden table with various kinds of Italian pizza, top view. Fast food lunch, celebration (Family or friends having pizza party dinner. Flat-lay
Photo By Foxys_forest_manufacture/Getty Images

There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.

Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.

  • To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
  • Tuck into a Fireball Burger
  • Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here
  • For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
  • Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
  • Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.