SYDNEY'S PARTY NEVER STOPS - Top Ten local watering holes for backpackers in Sydney to visit!
All Jolly Swagman Backpackers Sydney Hostel guests and staff alike understand the importance of having a good time when backpacking around Australia; and here at the Jolly Swagman Backpacker's Sydney Hostel our team see it as their god-given duty to recommend attractions and venues slightly off the mainstream path so you get as much out of your Sydney visit as possible.
Being located in the heart of Kings Cross, the Jolly Swagman Backpackers Sydney is just seconds away to some of Australia's most enticingly exciting nightlife.
However, if you are sick of being denied entry into debauch ‘premises', obstreperous Irish pubs or the good old push-your-way-to-the-front-of-a-half-hour-que-to-get-a-single-bloody-drink bars because you have either (a) ‘had a few' and decided not to wear covered shoes; (b) left your passport securely locked away back at the hostel (where it belongs!); (c) don't understand or agree with the concept of a cover charge to get into a venue to buy drinks; or maybe just prefer great live music instead of thumping chart toppers, and cheap schooners as appose to just your girlfriend getting a free flute of bubbly on arrival; here are our top ten recommendations where you can get that authentic Sydney pub experience that the guide books always seem to miss:
1.) Lansdowne Hotel, Chippendale
This famous Sydney establishment has been providing Sydneysiders with some of the best free and slurrily unsophisticated live entertainment for over a century, a success platform for many new up-and-coming bands. A popular landmark establishment, this pub pulls crowds from all walks of life; from arty-farty students at the University of Sydney across the road to colourful (and sometimes a little insane) locals and artists from the inner city area. Whatever your taste, style or dress sense, trust us: no one will blink an eyelid!
Cnr City Road and Broadway (opposite Broadway Shops, down from Central Station).
2.) Cricketer's Arms, Surry Hills
Often referred to as an ‘indie-fag' hangout by people who are simply jealous they aren't abstractly cool enough to blend with the crowd here, the Cricketer's Arms is undoubtedly one of Sydney's best kept secrets. Nestled away in secluded Fitzroy Street, this small pub is renowned for its authentic feel and classically rude staff. Great courtyard and upstairs lounge with Scrabble! Many a different beer is on offer with a huge tap and bottle selection. Come for the grunge, stay for the gourmet pub-grub (except the tapas). Don't forget your Skinny Jeans!
Fitzroy St, Surry Hills (between Bourke & South Dowling Sts).
3.) Green Park Hotel, Darlinghurst
A very cool place just minutes away from the Jolly Swagman, straight down Victoria St. Fantastic selection of local Australian ales and imported beers, great billiard room with retro video games. The outdoor area is a personal favourite of mine; the heaters and stylish fleur-de-lys wall panelling make it a very appealing place for drinks on a cold winter night; great place to mingle with its vibrant and eclectic clientele that reflect Sydney's cosmopolitan character.
Cnr Victoria and Liverpool Sts, Darlinghurst (block before St Vincent's Hospital).
4.) Royal Sovereign Hotel (Darlo Bar), Darlinghurst
What is there not to love about Darlo-Bar? It's colourful, arty, funky and kitschy. Often referred to as "the community lounge room", its amazing selection of food (aorta-clogging burgers, awesome Thai) and drink. The variety of bars is like stepping into a picture book- upstairs the "Garden Wonderland" patio screens free cult classic movies every Tuesday at 8pm (free popcorn!); whilst the outside areas are sealed off with white picket fences so Kings Cross men can pretend just for a night to have two gorgeous blonde children, a Stepford lemonade making wife and a golden retriever. The real feature is the arty retro atmosphere in the main bar that boasts eccentric couches, games and furnishings from the psycadelic period.
Cnr Liverpool St and Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst.
5.) Courthouse Hotel, Newtown
No one quite knows how this once respectable house of justice became a pub; and no one really wants to find out for fear it would be re-instated! The Courthouse Hotel has been quenching the thirst of all Newtown residents for over 150 years; the young, the old, lefties, scruffies, footy-lovers, the spaced-out as well as families (well, at least before NSW harsh licencing laws were exectued!). Very popular for its large beer garden with frangiapanni trees, the colonial interior and genuine, warm ambiance makes this venue another Sydney classic. Hint: whilst it has a tendancy to close early; King St is packed with other pubs and bars such as Zanzibar, Marly Bar, the Towny and Kelly's so you can kick on till the wee hours.
202 Australia St Newtown (turn off King St at the Newtown Town Hall)
6.) Beresford Hotel, Darlinghurst
Blink and you'll miss it: the Beresford used to be a seedy lurking hole for junkies and alcoholics masquerading as goon connoisseurs; whilst the exterior retains this modest air so it remains a thoroughly ‘in the know' venue, the inside has been gentrified like you've never seen before (wait till you see the bathrooms!).
A Sydney favourite for the sexy, sophisticated without the superficially trashy pretence of other venues in its similar league (that's right, Ivy!), this is the perfect place for an evening aperitif (get here early to avoid cover charge and dress code) or Sunday morning Bloody Mary. Whilst it's not really the sort of venue where you'd order your wet pussies or jam donuts, the sublime courtyard is shaded with luscious trees and vines that serenade its guests chilling out on the trampoline-style seating. An amazing beer selection served on tap in real glasses (those big Bavarian styled ones) and quite reasonable priced. But whilst I am sure they are worth every cent, the same unfortunately can't be said for the food. Free cult classic movie screenings on Wednesday night.
385 Bourke St, Darlinghurst (30 seconds down from Taylor Square).
7.) Forrester's Hotel, Surry Hills
The things this author would do for cheap beer and beef! Home to Sydney's signature dish, the "$5 steak" (it's now $7 due to inflation, and only available on Monday and Tuesday nights, but god its worth it!), Foresters is a tried and true local; recently gentrified on the inside, it is now a swanky establishment flaunting cool lounges and jazzy outdoor decks. Great live bands frequent this venue.
Foveaux St, Surry Hills.
8.) Unicorn Hotel (Fringe Bar), Paddington
Monday night comedy, Tuesday night trivia, intimate drinking seven days a week. Eclectic chandeliers, framed mirrors, and photos of the great and greater provide a chilled yet very suave atmosphere in which to enjoy an extensive range of cocktails and beverages to satisfies all who enter this elite venue for a night out.
Located in the heart of Paddington, one of Sydney's strongest culture tanks, we're sure you'll feel right at home at Fringe bar with its plush armchairs and retro-rocking ambiance.
Oxford St, Paddington
9.) The Light Brigade, Paddington
Award winning bistro food (one ‘hat'in the latest Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide- probably the Aussie equivalent of the Michelin Star?) served in this kooky art-deco hotel is the drawcard that compels food nuts to wine and dine; its greater appeal however is its eclectic sense of fun provided in its sports bar, polo parties, award winning bistro as well as the usual. Great place for a couple of quiet (or noisy) ones on the way to Bondi, Centennial Park or the Paddington area.
Oxford St, Paddington (opposite St Francis of Assisi Church).
10.) Coogee Bay Hotel, Coogee
Last, but by no means least, comes the beloved Coogee Bay Hotel; of whom it is un- Australian to exclude from the top ten of anything. This fantastic watering hole is a true suburban local and an ideal place to watch the sunset with a drink after a day at the beach (across the road). Home to the ‘chocolate ice cream scandal of 2008' (don't ask), was proudly labelled the second most dangerous pub in New South Wales, a title it received with much enthusiasm (and occasionally still lives up to). Be it a St Patrick's, Australia, Bastille or Independence Day; any excuse to go off in raunchy celebration is exercised here. To make a night of it in Coogee, head over to the much more taccily-clubby-Palace Hotel at the north head. Don't go near the water after, no matter how confidently drunk you are in your midnight skinny-dipping abilities!
Cnr Arden St & Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee Beach.