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From the daring to the raring, there are a number of cool Sydney bars to get you through the night (or day for that matter). Here are our top four picks for great tipples in niche places…
1. A small bar with a big personality
Shady Pines Saloon - 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
It’s a little hidden but a lot of fun. Don’t be disheartened by the slightly shabby exterior of Darlinghurst’s cute and quirky Shady Pines Saloon. Topping the charts on Sydney’s small bar scene, this saloon style bar may be adorned in mounted fish heads and taxidermy straight outta the Wild, Wild West, but it’s far from gimmicky. Pull up a pew and share your life story with the bartender, while nursing a whiskey on the rocks and resisting the urge to dance – it’s that kind of bar. Come for the bourbon, the wild nights and odd collectables. You won’t leave disappointed, actually you just won’t leave.
2. Rooftop bars needn’t be glitzy to be great
Glenmore Hotel - 96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Unassuming from the outside, a flitting backpacker vibe as you enter and a glorious rooftop terrace to lift your spirits and shroud you in sun, the Glenmore Hotel offers unbelievable harbour views as well as wallet-friendly bevvies and a decent plate of fish and chips. Ditching glitz and glamour in favour of happy punters and comfortable surroundings, this welcoming watering hole boasts 180-degree harbour views and a loud, wonderfully Aussie atmosphere. It may enjoy an address just off The Rocks, but it attracts an equal amount of locals as it does tourists.
3. The basement bar you’ll want to keep a secret
The Baxter Inn - 152-156 Clarence Street, CBD
A not-so-distant cousin of Shady Pines, The Baxter Inn is another good looking bijou bar owned by drinking duo, Anton Forte and Jason Scott. Hidden in a forgettable alleyway off Clarence Street, behind a tatty door and a few rogue vagabonds, this neat little find is home to a low lit interior and a solid wall of liquor. Boasting 360 premium whiskeys, the sheer variety (and obscurities) of this spirit collection is a sight to behold. Looking for the exact whiskey your great aunt drank while lolling on her porch-rocker somewhere in deep Louisiana? Yup, they'll have it. For sure. Plus the handsome bartenders will fetch it for you, via a rolling library style ladder. Quite the experience, the address might be forgettable, but Baxter Inn always leaves a lasting impression.
4. Weekend wind-downs, should be wine-downs
The Wine Library - 18 Oxford Street, Woollahra
Possibly the best library experience you’ll ever have, and definitely the loudest, The Wine Library is a must-do for any wine aficionado. Packed to the rafters with an extensive collection of grape varieties, many have travelled a lot further than the Hunter Valley, or even New Zealand for that matter. Throw in something gutsy from France and a robust little number from the Mendoza and you suddenly have a whole new bag of wine flavours to party with. After a shopping spree in and around Paddington, pop in here for a few hours of relaxation, idle chat and lazy laughs; the bartenders know the exact bottle to complement your laid back afternoon.
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