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Nine Late-Night Inner West Bars to Kick On to When That First Date Is Going Well

From an eclectic jazz lounge to a Quentin Tarantino-inspired bar, these venues guarantee a good time — and a great date.
By Emma Bishop
December 13, 2021
By Emma Bishop
December 13, 2021


in partnership with

From an eclectic jazz lounge to a Quentin Tarantino-inspired bar, these venues guarantee a good time — and a great date.

When it comes to first dates (or any social gatherings, for that matter) it's hard to beat Sydney's inner west. There's an array of restaurants that serve multicultural cuisine, plenty of dog-friendly courtyards and quintessential Aussie pubs to choose from, plus loads of lively venues to hit up as the sun sets and the night picks up the pace.

Whether you're a music lover, a cocktail connoisseur or simply after an intimate spot for a late-night pash, we've teamed up with Inner West Council to compile the best of the west — especially when you're trying to impress. Wow your date with your local bar knowledge and keep the sparks flying well into the evening.

  • 9
    True Romance

    This newly opened Quentin Tarantino-inspired venue is fast becoming a fixture of Newtown’s eclectic bar scene. The dive bar has a rowdy rock ‘n’ roll vibe that provides the perfect ambiance for a good night out, and the movie references that line the walls — of course — are an entertaining way to discover if your date is a film buff.

    When it comes to booze, True Romance’s expert bartenders serve up an original cocktail selection. This includes the mouthwatering Tiger Tank, made with Moreau apple pie liqueur, Black Tears rum and sweet vermouth. Plus, it’s open until 2am — and it has a courtyard decorated with fairy lights. Need we say more?

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  • 8

    Finished dinner and ready to take things up a notch? Head to Jacoby’s, where the cheeky bartenders serve up seriously tasty tropical cocktails and keep the fun flowing. The award-winning Twin Peaks-themed tiki bar is always cranking on weekends, yet the venue is small enough to offer enough intimacy for a date.

    Take a trip around the world by sampling the signature cocktails (we can’t go past a classic piña colada). Or, order a natty wine and soak up the surroundings. Jacoby’s hosts local DJs on weekends and doesn’t shut up shop until 2am on weekends, so you’ve got plenty of time to find out if your date is the one.

    Image: Katje Ford. 

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  • 7
    The Marlborough Hotel

    There’s a reason why punters pack the pavement outside Marly Bar — AKA The Marlborough Hotel — on a Saturday night. The popular pub has three levels, so you can hit the dance floor and see live DJs, catch a local band, or grab a drink and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.

    Marly Bar is open until 4am every night except Sunday, making it the perfect spot if your date is heading in the party direction. Need to soak up some of the alcohol? Marly’s restaurant, Fat Belly Jack’s, serves up juicy burgers till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Want to spice up the evening? Do the hot wing challenge together for just $20.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan.

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  • 6
    Lazybones Lounge

    Live jazz and cosy decor bring the romance at Marrickville’s Lazybones. The late-night lounge hosts an eclectic mix of gigs every night of the week, from Monday jazz jams to soul roots bands and indie album launches. The whole look of the place is every bit as varied as the music, too, with dramatic chandeliers adorning the ceilings and vintage art covering the walls.

    No matter what kind of date you’re on, Lazybones has the atmosphere for it — and a comprehensive drinks menu to help. Here, you’ll find beers from local breweries, loads of specialty whiskies, classic cocktails and a delicious list of wines.

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  • 5

    Who said kicking on couldn’t be classy? Keep the sophisticated date vibes swinging at Sydenham’s recently reopened General Gordon Hotel. The pub had been closed for three years after a devastating fire, but a multimillion-dollar makeover brought it back — and it’s better than ever.

    Get comfy in the sprawling leafy-green terrace — which features gorgeous metallic murals — and spend the evening chatting to your date in style. On the food menu? Hand-stretched pizzas, delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style dishes, and all the Aussie pub classics. To drink? We suggest sharing a refreshing Lychee Mule cocktail jug.

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  • 4
    The Vic On The Park

    When it comes to inner west bars, The Vic on the Park has it all. You can bring your dogs in the day, play basketball as the sun sets, dine on delicious pub grub on the deck and see live bands in the evenings. The much-loved Marrickville venue is consistently packed with all kinds of people, including hip young families, groups of friends and, of course, those on dates.

    Its relaxed, fun atmosphere and late weekend opening hours make it the perfect place to continue your romantic evening. Still hungry? The Vic’s late-night menu (available from 10pm–1am) features delicious roast porchetta and chilli bean jaffles with chips.

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  • 3

    The Duke of Enmore promises late nights, stiff drinks, and a live and loud rotating music bill. And boy does it deliver. Whether you’ve been to a gig at Enmore Theatre or dinner at one of the street’s many restaurants, a visit here will bring your date over to the wild side.

    Enjoy the much-needed catharsis the venue’s live music delivers as you sip on natty wines, craft beers, classic cocktails or the house specialty — a pickleback, which combines Jameson and pickle brine. Or, take a seat in the boisterous courtyard and let the loud tunes relieve you of your first date nerves.

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  • 2
    The Bank Hotel Beer Garden

    The Bank Hotel has been a staple on Newtown’s King Street for ages. The sizable watering hole has a variety of settings for your date-night kick ons, from a gig venue upstairs to a huge leafy courtyard which is always bustling.

    Whether you catch a live band in the top-level gig space or simply make your way through the list of local beers, The Bank Hotel is a safe bet for a social evening. The Bank is open until 2am Monday–Thursday and till 4am Friday–Saturday, too — so you can enjoy hours of late-night lovin’.

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  • 1
    The Oxford Tavern

    The Oxford Tavern has become somewhat of an institution since its makeover from seedy bar to welcoming neighbourhood pub. The hearty American diner fare and drinks menu with all the classics promises a good time for any bar punter. But what about late-night dates?

    The Oxford Tavern cranks up the music as the sun sets, meaning you and your date can choose between the dance floor, which is typically packed with an interesting mix of locals; an intimate booth; or a seat outside in the leafy beer garden. The pub shuts at 2am on weekends, leaving you ample time to get to know each other.

    Image: Katje Ford.

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To discover more spots in the inner west and businesses to support, head to the Inner West Council website.

Top image: Jacoby’s Tiki Bar, Katje Ford.

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