Cosy beer gardens surrounded by greenery and courtyards with comfortable chairs — here are ten bars perfect for escaping the chaos of the city.
When work, traffic and life gets to be too much, there's only one answer: a good, old-fashioned beverage. But, if you want a genuine piece of peace with your drink, then you need to know where to go. Some bars are too rowdy. Some are too close to the road. Some play really bad music. To make your life easier, we've tracked down ten of Sydney's most oasis-like spots in partnership with the Hahn Brewers. In these hidden-away havens, you can retreat from the noise and the chaos, surrounded by lots and lots of greenery and maybe some beautiful harbour views. Ah, the serenity.
Step into The Forresters in Surry Hills and you'll feel like you've been transported to a western movie. Once you've unsaddled your horse, slip into the open beer garden, slide onto a stripey banquette and relax among lush ferns and hanging terracotta pots. A pitched glass roof, supported by exposed wooden beams, lets in bucket loads of light. At lunch on week days, you'll be tucking into $12 specials, including steaks and pizzas.
Atop Woollahra's dearly-loved 1920s Art Deco hotel, there's a rooftop bar that's 83 metres above sea level. Think cool Pacific breezes and pretty views of more rooftops, backdropped by Sydney Harbour. Oversized plant pots, yellow-and-white umbrellas and wooden decking add to the casual feel of the Light Brigade. Should you work up a hunger hole, order a wood-fired pizza.
Anytime you want a piece of London, but can't afford the flight, swing by the London Hotel Paddington. The tables are plastered with Union Jacks and you can chow down on great English pub classics, including fish 'n' chips and chicken in a basket. For something posher, pop upstairs to the East London restaurant (opened in June 2016) for Shanghai- and Sichuan-inspired dishes. The London's beer garden is a sweet escape on hot days, thanks to its retractable canopy, comfy banquettes and rambling vines. Dogs are welcome.
SINCE I LEFT YOU
Need a close-by spot to recover from your working day? Drape yourself over a bar stool in Since I Left You's courtyard. This magical space is a slice of Sydney's history: its borders are the walls of three heritage-listed storehouses dating back to the 19th century. This industrial past life is respected in the design, yet softened by splashes of green and The Torch Carrier, an 18-metre tall mural by Fintan Magee. Come evening, the fairy lights switch on and musicians move in.
The most densely populated location in Australia, Darlinghurst offers lots of fun and surprises. But, every now and again, a dose of quiet is of the essence. That's why drinkers have been taking five on the Darlo Bar's rooftop for years. If you're with mates, claim the central communal table; if you're travelling as a solo or duo, flop onto a lounge chair. The beautiful vertical garden brings the outside world in.
If 360-degree views are important to your patch of peace, then make tracks to Henry Deane. This two-part cocktail lounge covers level fours and five of the Hotel Palisade. And, in case you're wondering, it's named after the architect and engineer who designed the building. Sink into a dusky pink couch or wicker chair — wherever you are, you'll be copping an eyeful of harbour and sunshine.
From the outside, you'd never guess what was waiting for you inside The Butler. The door opens to a welcoming foyer, which leads onto a wide, airy room, offering an epic perspective on the city skyline. On cold days, enjoy it while protected by glass doors; on nice days, they're pushed aside, creating an indoor-outdoor effect. Tall bamboo plants in green pots and fairy lights complete the picture.
Ola, chicas and chicos, we're off to Mexico for one hot minute. This delightful, brightly coloured bar is tucked away in the Slip Inn. It's a Merivale adventure, so you can expect lashings of the unexpected. Canary yellow and fire truck red stools crowd around benches wrapped in patterned wall paper. Trees tower over you, potted in 44-gallon drums. There are DJs occasionally. There is tequila and beer always.
EAST VILLAGE HOTEL
The adored, 100-year-old East Village Hotel opened its new rooftop bar in November 2016. Named The Terrace and designed by Alexander & Co., it gives you 100 square metres of purple stools (with, bless, backs, so you can hang around all night long pain-free), lounges, plants and hand-cut terrazzo slabs. There's also a dedicated rooftop kitchen and bar, serving casual, summery dishes, such as gazpacho soup with marinated blue swimmer crab and basil.
Dotted with park benches, palm trees and cable reels-turned-tables, Sweethearts Rooftop is the most laid back oasis on this list. You'll find it atop Sugarmill, one of Kings Cross's best-known nightclubs. Do be warned: there's a five-flight stairwell standing between you and outdoor bliss. That said, sunsets, multi-coloured fairy lights and all-round good times make the climb worthwhile.
Sign up to Hahn Brewers and head out for a drink this weekend.