The Best Pubs in Sydney Right Now

For when you just want a good pint and pub grub.

The Unicorn Hotel facade
Photo Courtesy Of The Unicorn Hotel

When it comes to pubs, Colin Fassnidge knows how to sniff out the best pub grub whether it’s a good beef cheek or chicken schnitzel. Here are a few of his favourites.

The Old Fitzroy Hotel

This pub is 150-years old and despite its multiple owners and identities, you will find a historic venue, offering alfresco dining on the street and a dining room inside. The food menu, pays homage to its fine-dining past, featuring kingfish terrine, steak Frites, and BBQ chicken with plum. As for the drinks, you’ll see a selection of beers, and wines. There are even talks of some performances happening soon, with Red Line Productions. 


Fassnidge returns to his pub pedigree at Banksia, bringing hearty, seasonally driven pub food to the bistro. He says Banksia is more family than a fancy diner. “My favourite pub grub is lamb chop or porchetta, depending on the time of year. Although you can’t go past a good chicken schnitzel. We make it ourselves here. It’s soaked in buttermilk overnight, crumbed with oats, seeds, and breadcrumbs, so it’s not just breadcrumbs. Gives it a great crunch,” says Fassnidge.

The Paddington Inn

The Paddo as the locals call it is a great place to hang out, meet friends, enjoy a fuss-free dinner and some drinks. There’s not one weekend, where the Paddo is full of locals enjoying good conversation. The menu has all the classics, with an Italian lean including spaghetti Pomodoro and a salami plate to start. If you’re a sports fan, then the Paddo is where you need to be to watch live sports.

Terminus Pyrmont Hotel

Fassnidge designed the menu at Terminus, so it’s only fair it would be one of his favourite pubs in Sydney. Expect a luxurious space spilling out onto a large, outdoor terrace with a retractable rooftop. Sip on cocktails, or work your way through their selection of craft beers. As for the food, you will find beef cheek and stout pie, battered local fish, crumbed pork cutlet, a range of burgers, and pasta.

The Lansdowne Hotel

This Chippendale Pub saw ratbags, miscreants, and bent cops when it first opened in 1932. After a scandalous history, the pub was revived in 2017, by Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, from Mary’s and The Unicorn. Together, they recemented the pub as an iconic live music venue, serving Mary’s famous burgers and pizzas. For a fun night out, good food, or good vibes, The Lansdowne Hotel is the place to be. 

The Unicorn Hotel

Come to The Unicorn Hotel for the piano man, and stay for the parmigiana. It’s a pub that’s most famous for it’s golden, crunchy schnitzels. The decor is simple, and they don’t offer anything fancy, just good old pub grub, including pies, weekly roast, and Jatz with dip. Expect the taps to be filled with old-school beers, including VB, and Cooper’s. It’s a popular pub, so bookings are recommended but you can try your luck and walk in one day. 

The Imperial Hotel

This pub is perhaps one of the more important venues in history, particularly Sydney’s LGBTQ+ community. Bought in the 80s by the mother of gay, Dawn O’Donnell, The Imperial Hotel was ordained safe for the LGBTQ+ community and has since been a place for queer identities to thrive. During Mardi Gras, this pub comes alive, hosting a myriad of events every year. It has had many owners, was closed down a few times, but the pub still stands, offering an escape from everyday life, pizza, and cocktails. You will even find a back door cabaret room behind the bar. 

Hotel Palisade

Millers Point
This odd-looking building is straight from 1880 and commands one of the best views in Sydney. Hotel Palisade was a haven for wharf workers of the nearby docks, and at the time was the tallest building in the city. It housed a cellar, ground floor bar, and three additional levels above, which are now a hotel and rooftop bar, Henry Diane. After a substantial renovation, you will find a modern pub, that pays homage to its industrial roots. Satiate your hunger with pub grub, burgers, or snack on some oysters and enjoy a cocktail. They also serve an extensive list of wine and beer, so there’s no reason not to go.

The Dolphin Hotel

Surry Hills
It’s hard not to miss The Dolphin Hotel when you’re wandering around Crown Street. Either you’ve seen people lining up outside, or have experienced the hotel yourself, it’s a classic and one of Surry Hill’s best. Here, you can grab a slice of some of the best pizza in Sydney, enjoy a glass or two of wine, or craft beer. In the dining room, you will find modern Italian, and Australian cuisine, which is that good, it’s a one hatted venue. The open space is flooded with light, making it a pleasant, and casual afternoon aperitivo hotspot. 

The Australian Heritage Hotel

The Rocks
It’s one of Sydney’s oldest pubs in The Rocks and it just so happens to hold the longest-running hotel license in Sydney. How’s that for heritage? If you fancy a taste of Australia, nothing beats this pub. They have over 130 Australian craft beers, and their pizza comes with kangaroo or crocodile. You will also find live sports streaming your favourite footy teams, and a selection of spaces, from a wine emporium to an alcove, perfect for gathering friends for a private party. 

Friend In Hand Hotel

From the outside Friend in Hand Hotel looks like any other Art Deco-era Pubs, but inside you will find a plethora of memorabilia. From model train tracks to road signs, this eclectic pub is sure to turn a few heads. The food is simple as are the drinks. Think spag bowl, nachos, chicken schnitzels and more. For a relaxing afternoon beer with mates or good pub feed, the Friend In Hand Hotel is your best bet. 

The Duke Of Enmore

Although The Duke’s former residence left during last year’s lockdown, you will be pleased to know it reopened with a new look. You’ll find a concrete bar top, retro carpet, updated pokie machines, and the best part—a new menu. Expect, parmigiana, steaks, beef patty burgers, a Sunday roast as good as your nan’s, and a vegan menu of pub classics. 

The Taphouse

The Taphouse is Sydney’s most awarded craft beer venue, so beer connoisseurs line up. To go with beer, there is a menu of English influenced pub eats, featuring hearty meals we all love. Munch on a scotch egg, wrap your hands around a steak sambo, or dig into a mushroom and leek pie. As for the beer, you can find a list of beers on tap inside, and if you fancy one, take it home or get it delivered to your door. 

Cricketers Arms Hotel

Surry Hills
This old boozer is a classic Aussie pub, with wooden floorboards, tiles on the wall, and plenty of beer. Upstairs you will find the Cricketers Bistro, for more upmarket pub classics, including chicken burgers, parmigiana, and schnitzels. It’s packed on nights when there is a game on and packed pretty much every other night too. It’s a local pub, but those who visit from other suburbs also feel like locals. It’s just that kind of place to get a drink, a feed, and hang out with mates. 

Darlo Bar

Darlo Bar is considered a specialty bar, in the sense that it’s a little cooky, but original and creative. Expect big things from this small bar, including a natural buzz that pairs well with a good night out with friends. On any given day, there are pool tables, fairy lights, and a DJ adding to the ambience. At the bar, expect playful cocktails, and beers on tap. They also serve natural wines and a deli menu of cheese, salami, olives, and other elevated bar snacks. 

The Erko

This Erskineville local has a smoker out the back and is dog friendly. What more could you want? Dig into a shredded brisket burger, and savour an old school, or new school beer on tap—they have both. Their homey backyard style Beer Garden is an ideal spot for Sunday sessions or after-work drinks. Don’t forget to bring your four-legged friend, because they want to see them.

The Lord Nelson Brewery

The Rocks
The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel is Australia’s oldest pub brewery, famous throughout the World for award-winning natural ales. Located in The Rocks, this pub is one to add to the bucket list, even if you’re not a fan of beer. Upstairs, you will find a modern Australian restaurant, serving grass-fed aged New Zealand porterhouse, chilli crab lobster, and other elevated eats, along with a selection of wines. Downstairs is where the brewery and bar are. Here, you can stay for lunch, grab a beer, and watch sports on the big screen. 

The Glenmore Hotel

The Rocks
This Aussie icon has been around since 1921, boasting one of the best rooftop bars in the city with stellar views of Sydney Harbour. They do pub fare, like no other. Expect, shareable plates such as grilled baby octopus, and ocean trout tartare. They have a selection of mains, from chicken schnitzels to green pea and asparagus gnocchi. Enjoy an expansive wine list with local bottles, and corks from France to Spain. If you’re feeling fancy, try the signature cocktails, or get a beer, they have it all. 

The Royal Albert Hotel

Surry Hills
The Royal Albert is somewhat of a craft beer institution in Sydney, attracting all kinds of beer drinkers, but specialising in the craft beer movement. Although it’s trendy, it still manages to retain a down to earth atmosphere, serving good pub grub. The menu encompasses the classics, wings, burgers, hot dogs, and schnitzels, but you will also find, Pub Cha, Asian-inspired pub food. Think spring rolls, pork buns, dumplings of all kinds, and curries. 

The Kirribilli Hotel

Whether you’re here to watch sports, wind down after work, or enjoy a lunch with the family, Kirribilli Hotel is a Sydney icon to the local community and has been since 1937. The facade is art-deco, and inside you will find a wrap-around polished wooden bartop, main dining room, and the main bar. Despite its posh postcode, this pub is down to earth, welcoming punters from anywhere to try their beers or gin list—which is quite extensive too. 

Vic On The Park

How many pubs do you know that have a basketball court? Well, Vic On The Park might just be a first for you. This pub has live music and puts classic pub grub on your plate. They welcome dogs, and if you’re feeling competitive, challenge your mates to a game of basketball on their half-court. Expect, fried onion rings, charcoal chicken, lamb gyros, burgers, nachos, and more, including a late-night menu, for when a nightcap turns into a very late night drink. If it’s a nice afternoon or day, grab a table on the deck. 

The Shakespeare Hotel

Surry Hills
You won’t find Shakespeare writing a play, but you will find old-world charm, and in winter— Guinness on tap. The food here is pretty cheap too, around $20 for counter-meals and a rotating daily specials menu available all day. Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean they skimp on the quality or quantity. You’ll be surprised by the huge plates piled high with classic pub food. The beers are standard, from Coopers to craft beer options, including Grifters. 

The Newport

It’s hard to believe people have been enjoying the Sydney sun since 1880 here, but nonetheless, this vibrant pub is a city favourite. Helmed by the Merivale empire, The Newport offers outdoor seating overlooking the shores of Pittwater, and seating in an idyllic garden ideal for lunch with friends, or afternoon drinks and bites. Sip on a jalapeno margarita, get a slice of Vinnie’s pizza and savour prawns by the bucket at their kiosk and seafood market. You can also get fish and chips, burgers, salads, and calamari from The Shack. There’s a lot to see and eat here, so go explore. 

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What’s On in Sydney This Winter

There's plenty on.

It’s officially cold, but that doesn’t mean we should hibernate. Throw on a warm coat and hit the streets as Sydney comes alive with Bridgerton Balls, lobster rolls, ramen clubs and much more.

Check out these events if you’re looking for more fun things to do this weekend in Sydney. 

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: @thelobstersocial

Indulge in lobster rolls and truffle fries at the Lobster&Co pop up

August 16- September 25
The Rocks
Following a hugely successful Melbourne pop-up, Lobster&Co is coming to Sydney. Bringing with it their iconic lobster rolls, truffle fries and champagne—served from an airstream. The lobster rolls are stuffed with wild-caught whole confit lobster, fennel slaw, and a touch of citrus. Lobster&Co will also be popping up during Taste in the City, taking place in Entertainment Quarter from September 3-4.
Cost: Starting from $50

things to do sydney this weekend

Attend the Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday August 20 to Sunday, August 28
One of Australia’s most photographed cultural events is returning to Auburn Botanic Gardens this August. The Cherry Blossom Festival pays homage to Japan’s traditions, music, pop culture, and food, with the incredible backdrop bursting with cherry blossoms. For those who want to attend, you must buy tickets and pre-book a session in advance. Each ticket includes an all-day entry into the festival grounds and a 45-minute session of your choice on the Cherry Trail, which is where you can get the best photos. Although, be sure to check out the other attractions, including a Hello Kitty Garden Party, 9-hole Putt Putt Course, and the Japanese Food Village for Japanese Hanami staples.
Cost: $11.75

things to do sydney this weekend

Party all night in this Rave Igloo

Ends September 25
Greenwood Hotel
A three-month igloo rave has arrived at Greenwood Hotel brought to you by S*A*S*H Sydney and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Enjoy tonnes of snow, a fireball bar, and fire pits to keep you cosy all night. Local S.A.S.H. residents Kerry Wallace, Gabby and Jake Hough will provide the background music, along with international DJs every week.
Cost: Varies.

things to do sydney this weekend

Get a Negroni at Apollonia’s Negroni Series

Starts July 26, 2022
Negronis from five of The World’s 50 Best Bars will take centre stage at Apollonia for six months with Volume One featuring negronis from Atlas (Singapore), PDT (New York City), Sweet Liberty (Miami), COA (Hong Kong) and Above Board (Melbourne). In six months, these five negronis will rotate out and be replaced with five more from a new selection of bars.
Cost: Varies.

Catch a never before seen in Australia Sidney Nolan exhibit

July 21 – October 23
The Sydney Jewish Museum is exhibiting 50 of Sydney Nolan’s Auschwitz paintings, which have never been seen before in Australia. Until recently, the paintings mainly remained hidden, their stories untold for over half a century. The public can tour the exhibit to see Nolan’s intense paintings, created after a tour of Auschwitz in 1961. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this interpretation of history from an Australian perspective.
Cost: $20.08 for adults, $15.86 for senior concession, and $12.69 for students. Free for children under 10.

things to do sydney this weekend

Go glamping in the city with friends

Surry Hills
The Winery has been transformed into a cosy, bohemian glamping spot, perfect for rugging up and indulging in comfort food with friends. Nestled in the laneway’s garden, each glamping tent is set up with floor cushions, soft rugs, blankets and low table tops for grazing. The experience is complete with a four-course menu featuring grilled olive bread and burrata, salt and pepper calamari, truffled steak frites, and more.
Cost: Starts from $69 per person.

things to do sydney this weekend

Indulge in Raclette, S’mores, and spiced rum cocktails at Opera Bar

July 21-28
Circular Quay
This winter, Opera Bar is launching roving carts serving raclette, s’mores, and warming Bacardi Spiced Rum cocktails to your table. Keep warm by hailing the cocktail cart for hot buttered rums, raclette melted over crispy potatoes, or get your sweet fix with s’mores—toasted at the table. Live music is on every night and there are plenty of heaters to keep you warm while you take in that stellar harbour backdrop. The roving carts are available from Thursdays to Sundays.
Cost: $11 -50.

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: K Wong Photography

Follow the Truffle Trail down in Darling Square

Darling Square
Over the next few weeks, dive into all things truffle with a selection of Sydney restaurants offering exciting dishes showcasing the unique depth and the umami and sweet flavours of the hyper-seasonal truffle. To take things to the next level, a pop-up cart will be open each Sunday offering exclusive, luxury truffle products for avid truffle seekers. Expect duck truffle soup from Auvers Cafe, wild mushroom truffle ragu from Hello Auntie, and even Truffalo buffalo wings from Wingboy.
Cost: Varies

things to do sydney this weekend
Photo: Holly Hawkins

Attend a 10-day art, NFT, and negroni pop-up for charity

July 21-31
The Rocks and Darling Quarter
Sydneysiders can discover an epic line-up of homegrown artists, from NFT creator Bianca Beers to graffiti artist Scott Marsh, with 100% of profits from ONE’s ticket donations, art sales and auctions going to local charities, including; Asylum Seekers Centre, HalfCut and Save the Children. Across the 10 days, there will also be live auctions featuring luxury items from local businesses, exclusive pieces from Sydney artists and designers, themed life-drawing, and comedy tickets to the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre. 
Cost: Varies from $10- $200 (dependant on auction pricing)
Buy tickets here.

Attend The Bridgerton Ball

Saturday, September 3
Town Hall
The town’s most informed Lady is inviting the cream of the town to the social gathering of the season at the exquisite Sydney Town Hall. Dress in elegance and come prepared to dance to classics known to many by our fabulous string quartet. Favourable food and enticing premium drinks fit for Lady’s and Lord’s, along with an array of activities such as life drawing and games of chance await you as you try not to be caught up in the gossip to earn the Queen’s attention. 
Cost: $209.

things to do sydney this weekend

Try Maybe Sammy’s new cocktail menu

From April 6
The Rocks
Rat Pack is out. Artistic doyennes are in. The new menu has been inspired by 12 women who have shaped us artistically from the fields of music, art, cinema and fashion. Each of the 12 cocktails is a tribute to these leading ladies and their contribution to the arts. Maybe Sammy has collaborated with a talented female Australian artist, Clementine Roslund (who goes by @klemekleme_), who has created bespoke artworks to accompany each cocktail. The artwork sits alongside each cocktail in the new menu booklet, entitled ‘Stardust’, which is the name of this new collection. Each cocktail will have a bespoke custom social media filter made from the artwork, so you can pop yourself or your chum into it and extend the experience. The filters will be accessed by a QR code that can be found next to each of the cocktails in the Stardust menu.

things to do sydney this weekend

Conquer Sydney’s tallest paint and sip experience

Champainting has launched Sydney’s highest paint and sip event at over 300 metres above the CBD in the Sydney Tower Eye. The exclusive event allows guests to paint the ‘City by Night’ masterpiece. Sip on a two-hour drinks package and enjoy a gourmet grazing box while you unleash your inner Monet.
Cost: $145 per person.

things to do this weekend sydney

Race your friends at Hyper Karting

Entertainment Quarter
Located in Sydney’s The Entertainment Quarter, Hyper Karting is not your average go-karting—it’s karting reimagined. Think, electric karts, faster speeds, environmentally friendly, all-weather track and safe and inclusive karting. Each race is 15 minutes, and you can enter as many races as you want. It’s only $19 per race and there are two tracks, one for the kids (3-7 years old). When you start the race, your kart is at 50% power, although with every lap you finish, your speed increases dependent on your lap times. So the faster you complete a lap. the faster you can go the next time around. They have expert and standard races. If you’ve never been karting before, stick with the standard. You can race as a family, and the best part, they take your dine and discover vouchers. So what are you waiting for?
Cost: $19-$59.

things to do sydney this weekend

Bridge Climb X Hendrick’s Gin Bar

Throughout the month of January 2022, all climbers that scale the iconic arches on Day and Twilight Climbs departing after 1 pm will be treated to a complimentary post-Climb celebratory drink in an on-site celebration bar, which closes at 10 pm. The post-Climb drink offered will be a Hendrick’s and Fever-Tree Tonic with a cucumber garnish. Alcohol will be served to guests aged 18 years and over only. Those not of legal age to drink will be offered a non-alcoholic version.
Cost: From $198 for adults, and from $99 for kids.

things to do sydney this weekend

Butter X Impossible Pop Up at The Rocks

The Rocks
Butter, Sydney’s favourite burger and chicken joint, have launched an Impossible Pop-Up in The Rocks in Sydney. The menu is made exclusively with Impossible Beef, so you can pop down and try the full menu. Expect dishes such as an Impossible Chilli Cheeseburger, Impossible Katsu and American Impossible Chilli Cheese Fries. There will also be live music, DJs every week, and a bar stocked with fun cocktails. Butter hour is from 5 pm to 6 pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Bottomless brunches will also be on, as well as secret menu items, Australia Day festivities and New Years’ events.
Cost: Varies.

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