As winter closes in, we’re in search of the best winter hideaways that Sydney has to offer. Since the change in licensing laws in NSW in 2008, the small bar scene has flourished – expanding outwards from within city fringe suburbs and into the more culturally stagnant CBD. With so many in the genre to choose from, we’ve made a selection of Sydney’s best small bars for this winter – some new, some timeless classics. Whether you are entertaining your clients or relaxing after a long week at the office, these bars are worth a visit in cooler months.
1. The Golden Age Cinema and Bar, Surry Hills. Located within the basement of the recently refurbished art deco Paramount House, the Golden Age Cinema and Bar is an elegant tip of the cap to times gone by. The stunning 60-seat emerald green theatrette shows recent releases as well as a curated selection of hits from the past. Whether or not you intend to see a film, the bar is a destination in it’s own right. Featuring a vintage atom chandelier by Robert Haussmann, the bar serves serious, film inspired cocktails (Casablanca, Godfather and Wilson!), Australian wines and rotating craft ale on tap.
2. Arcadia Liquors, Redfern. A staple on the small bar scene for sometime, Arcadia is a saloon bar that echoes the more industrial aesthetic of Bushwick bars in Brooklyn. Featuring exposed brickwork, fairy lights and a courtyard adorned with hanging ferns – Arcadia has retained its cozy charm. Along with craft beers, and well priced cocktails – the bar also serves mulled wine during winter.
3. Chester White, Potts Point. This is the second offering from the team behind Buffalo Dining Club in Darlinghurst. Rather than focusing on seriously good cheeses, Chester White highlights quality cured meats. Set in the bottom of a terrace, the space subtly follows the aesthetic of a 1950s American diner, and a concise wine and beer list accompanies smoky salumi, speck and culatello.
4. Kubrick’s, Darlinghurst. This Stanley Street bar features artwork by Gallery 2010 artist Dion Horstmans, as well as a host of biodynamic wines from Australia, France, Germany and Spain – all available by the glass. Cheese plates, panini and charcuterie come courtesy of Salt Meats Cheese in Alexandria, as well as a selection of ales and classic cocktails with a twist.
5. Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern, City. This recently opened basement bar has been set up by some of the Swillhouse team – the bar tenders responsible for other Sydney small bar favourites like The Baxter Inn, Tio’s, Frankie’s, Shady Pines and Earl’s Juke Joint. Cocktails range from gentle mixes to stronger, over-proofed fusions, while wine and craft beer variations are humble and unassuming. Image credit: Luisa Brimble and Broadsheet Sydney.