The Ten Best New Bars and Restaurants in Sydney

Take your pick from our list of the best new places to eat and drink in town.

Trish Roberts
Published on July 11, 2011

It may be cold in Sydney right now but that's no excuse to spend evenings at home. This city is bursting with new places to be and new things to do, eat and drink: from trans-generational delights to delicacies served up by DJs. You don't even need to leave your favourite bits of home at home. We suggest taking your knitting to Grandma's or your favourite novel to the Owl House and sharing the love with the whole community.

Just to make things easy, Concrete Playground has assembled all the best bits for you. Take your pick from our list of the ten best new bars and restaurants in town.

1. Grandma's

Where: Basement, 275 Clarence St, Sydney

There's no place like home. Except Grandma's. Grandma gives you a big hug, sits you down in her best, chintz-covered chair and gives you a treat. And the eponymously titled bar, the latest addition to an innocuous little office building off Clarence Street, will do all that and more. The self-described "retro-sexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and faded granny glamour," Grandma's is truly one of the most delightful bars that Sydney can now call it’s own.

For review and details, click here.

2. Bill and Toni's Pub Life

Where: 42 Wentworth Ave, Surry Hills

Pub Life is the brainchild of Jovan Curic and Daniel Gorgioski, a faithful extension of the Stanley Street la famiglia. There's something new happening here though: the vibe of a younger generation, fresh menu items and the chilled atmosphere of the Mac make Pub Life a sequel worth visiting.

For review and details, click here.

3. The Owl House

Where: 97 Crown Street, Darlinghurst

Say what you will about glorious fit outs, what makes or breaks the vibe of a bar is the barmen. These souls of hospitality, the embodiments of all the best parts of alcohol, have the power to charm, ease, surprise and delight. A case in point: the latest small bar to pop up in Darlinghurst, the Owl House.

For review and details, click here.

4. The Dip

Where: 55 Liverpool Street, Sydney

Let's not start off on the wrong foot here. It's not that I want to label any food as 'bad' ... just different. But 'cuisine' is generally not the first word that comes to mind when I think 'American diner'. Levdawg is changing all that, and turning bad food good. Real good.

For review and details, click here.

5. Timbah

Where: 375 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe

It may not be the cheapest place to go for a tipple, but for a relaxed atmosphere, a guy on the piano in the corner, and a feeling of being very sophisticated for a Sunday afternoon without having to hoof it to the Eastern Suburbs, Timbah is well worth visiting.

For review and details, click here.

6. The Norfolk

Where: 305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills

It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint and some mismatched furniture can do for a courtyard. Just take the Norfolk's beer garden, for example. Since it's decidedly hip transformation, the leafy backyard has become a haven for Surry Hills locals to kick back and have a drink, and you'll be hard pressed to find a seat during the packed lunch and post-work hours. It's the jewel in this redone pub's crown.

For review and details, click here.

7. El Loco

Where: 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

It seems like Merivale have gone a little loco lately. First the insanity of Freaky Tiki, now this: a downtrodden Surry Hills pub transformed into a Mexican cantina. El Loco is a temporary solution to the reinvention of this venue, a prequel to a fully blown Mexican restaurant. But we think the wild mishmash of this whirlwind transition is the best part about it.

For review and details, click here.

8. FBi Social

Where: 248 William Street, Woolloomooloo

FBi Social, the Sydney radio station's first ever pop-up live music venue, has opened its doors, and is set to shake up Sydney's music scene. Housed on the second level of the refurbished Kings Cross Hotel, in stumbling distance of the Coca Cola sign, FBi is hoping to use the space to further their ever evolving mission of helping emerging local bands break through to larger audiences.

For review and details, click here.

9. Sonoma Bondi

Where: R10, 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi

You’d be hard pressed these days to find a name more synonymous with good bread than Sonoma. In the wheat and yeast-sensitive, organic-obsessed age of the millennium, this humble yet rapidly expanding family-run business has found its market.  What started out as a popular bread stall at Paddington Markets has lead to four Sonoma cafe openings around Sydney and, more recently, a newly opened wing on Bondi’s Campbell Parade.

For review and details, click here.

10. Upstairs Beresford

Where: 354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Stepping into the Upstairs Beresford is like stumbling upon a secret disco inferno you weren’t quite ready for. It’s certainly a world apart from the main bar downstairs, which on a Friday night you’ll find jammed up with after-workers and glammed up 'somebodys' kicking off their weekend: a gaping maze of bars, plants, and food. Instead, pitch yourself down the alley to a discrete door. Winding dark stairs and neon orange arrows lead you up to a glowing amber pocket of glitz, the decadence of a bygone era.

For review and details, click here.

Published on July 11, 2011 by Trish Roberts
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