Six Classy Sydney Bars to go for Sunset Cocktails with Friends

There's still a grand stretch in the evenings to enjoy a sip with your mates at these slick locales.
Orlaith Costello
March 22, 2024

Six Classy Sydney Bars to go for Sunset Cocktails with Friends

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There's still a grand stretch in the evenings to enjoy a sip with your mates at these slick locales.

As the sun starts to dip over the Sydney skyline, the bar scene starts buzzing. In a city with so many watering holes, finding the perfect venue to rendezvous with friends can be tricky. But don't worry, gentle reader, we've got you.

Together with Basil Hayden Bourbon, we've selected six excellent venues when you want to dial up your next golden hour outing with your closest crew and some classic cocktails to boot.

Picture it... You're surrounded by plush furnishings and the gentle clink of glasses as you sip on a Boulevardier cocktail — what could be better?

  • 6

    Part pub, part wine bar and part romantic diner, The Waratah is a jack-of-all-trades venue. Downstairs, you’ll find the walk-in-only public bar — an easy-going spot with approachable eats.  Upstairs, things are a little more serious, with a moody dining room equipped with a semi-al fresco area and breezy outdoor tables on the balcony.

    The balcony is an ideal spot for enjoying a smooth Basil Hayden boulevardier paired with The Waratah’s excellent fairy bread ice cream sandwich or potato scallops topped with raw scallops for a savoury treat. Delightful.

    Image: Jason Loucas

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  • 5

    A little tough to find but well worth the effort, the two-level set-up of Old Mate’s Place makes for a charming hideaway. The bar’s lower floor calls to mind an old library, complete with stately bookshelves, dapper furnishings and family heirlooms throughout. Foliage creeps in and around the bar like it’s been there forever.

    The bar’s secluded and equally green rooftop space is ripe for sipping bourbon cocktails while you catch up with your own old mates. Accompany your drinks with one of the kitchen’s six variations of Philly cheesesteak (including a veggie option) and settle in as the sun sets.

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  • 4

    If you’re feeling particularly extra and are seeking entertainment with your evening beverages, make your way to newcomer The Emerald Room in Darlinghurst for an extravagant dinner and a show with your friends.

    Catch up as you imbibe on oysters and champagne. Spring for the ringside seats — the splash zone, if you will — and feel like you’re part of the performance. Then cap off the night with bourbon cocktails paired with small bites like lobster rolls, strawberry gum jam cream-filled doughnuts and more.

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  • 3

    The sleek cocktail bar, once 13th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list, has officially reopened to the public in Sydney’s CBD. All of the class of the original Eau-de-Vie is on show with moody lighting, a smooth jazz soundtrack and the signature Whisky Room.

    The cocktails are made to impress, with ten pages of cocktails to choose from. But we’re a sucker for the classics like a boulevardier or Eau-de-Vie’s famous Old Fashioned served hot or ice cold. A considered list of snacks, both raw (oysters, tuna tartare) and cooked (lamb croquettes, wagyu beef cheek pastry), are available to fuel you and your pals.

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  • 2

    A bootery, a boarding house and an opium den. These are just a few of the past lives of 77–79 George Street, but The Doss House is the current moniker for this heritage-listed building — and it’s all about whisk(e)y. And we mean a lot of whisk(e)y — 150 bottles to be exact — displayed throughout the venue and spanning international regions from Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the States, including our Kentuckian friend, Basil Hayden.

    Choose to relax in the plush red booths of the room dedicated to its opium den past, lounge on the Chesterfield sofa and leather armchairs by the original fireplaces or chill on the outdoor courtyard. Pair your Basil Hayden cocktails with share platters and good chats.

    Images: Alana Dimou

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  • 1

    Next door to The Doss House is its sister venue, Frank Mac’s, a stylish two-storey heritage cocktail bar. Known for its gin collection, this spot also churns out excellent bourbon cocktails in the wooden booth or high tables by the bar or outside in the sun-speckled courtyard or downstairs in the refined basement lounge.

    With its thoughtfully crafted cocktails and heritage charm, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place for a tipple than Frank Mac’s.

    Image: Steven Woodburn

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You never forget your first sip of Basil Hayden Bourbon, find out more on the website. Enjoy responsibly.

Top image: Old Mate’s Place

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