The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Friday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Sydney's Best New Bars of 2016

Honouring the best new arrivals on Sydney's bar scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 06, 2016

Sydney's Best New Bars of 2016

Honouring the best new arrivals on Sydney's bar scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 06, 2016


Honouring the best new arrivals on Sydney's bar scene this year.

In a year that saw Sydney's cultural ecosystem and the legislative shackling of certain elements of it become a more polarising subject than ever before, the city's most innovative, forward-thinking residents have made outstanding lemonade.

More groundbreaking and imaginative than ever, Sydney bars have been reclaiming the night in the face of prevailing lockout laws, one glass of frosé at a time; from WWII-inspired salons to natural soda factory bars, hip hop and cheese-fuelled wine bars to Sydney's first dedicated vermouth bar.

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented whippersnappers pushing Sydney to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new bars, opened in 2016, have been nominated for Best New Bar in Concrete Playground's Best of 2016 Awards.

Vote for your favourite.

  • 6

    You might remember our piece on vermouth a while back, naming it as the drink to watch this summer. Well, right on time this spring, Sydney’s first vermouth bar and bistro opened in the new Barangaroo dining precinct. Named after botanist Sir Joseph Banks, Banksii comes from the couple behind Asian fusion favourite Bar H in Surry Hills, chef Hamish Ingham and sommelier Rebecca Lines. They’ve brought a slew of aperitifs and a mod Oz bent to the waterfront space — and we’re loving it.

    Vote for Banksii.

  • 5
    Big Poppa's

    Who knew that the three key ingredients to a good night out were hip hop, cheese and wine? Lewis Jaffrey and Jared Merlino, the two masterminds behind Big Poppa’s, definitely did. Unlike most excellent ideas conceived over a few too many, these two hospitality vets (Jaffrey is ex-operations manager at The Baxter InnFrankie’s and Shady Pines while Merlino is behind The Lobo Plantation and Kittyhawk) put their money where their cheese hole — uh, mouth — is. Cue Big Poppa’s, an ode to Biggie Smalls in the old Hello Sailor digs on Oxford Street.

    Vote for Big Poppa’s.

  • 4
    Charlie Parker's

    If anyone knows the recipe for a highly talked-about hospitality venue, it’s the Merivale crew. As always with the Hemmes empire’s new openings, there’s been a whole lot of buzz surrounding the launch of the group’s two latest ventures, opened on Oxford Street this spring. In the exposed sandstone basement space beneath Danielle Alvarez’s provincial masterpiece Fred’s, duo Sam Egerton and Toby Marshall are throwing down an innovative, produce-driven cocktail list, backed by an Alvarez-designed menu of clever bar snacks. The space, like Fred’s, is designed by Justin and Bettina Hemmes, Vince Alafaci and Caroline Chocker of ACME & Co., and styled by Amanda Talbot.

    Vote for Charlie Parker’s.

  • 3
    Jangling Jack's

    It’s clear from the ‘Keep Sydney Open’ sign posted in the doorway — Jangling Jack’s couldn’t care less about lockout laws. This New Orleans-inspired “dream bar” from owners Orlan Erin Raleigh and Jon Ruttan (founder and former owner of Mojo Record Bar) has actualised into Sydney’s own dream venue, boasting a relaxed vibe, a cocktail for every palate and a solid late-night menu that seamlessly serves snacks, share plates and even a full-on steak dinner. It’s dimly lit and moody in all the right ways, while appealing to crowds from suburban dads (self-proclaimed, by the way) to Kings Cross regulars. The narrow space stretches back along the gorgeous bar, lit with speakeasy-style lamp shades and surrounded by 1930s blues posters.

    Vote for Jangling Jack’s.

  • 2

    Kittyhawk, the latest venue from the team behind The Lobo Plantation, is finally bombs away. Located in the CBD, this French military-inspired bar serves up custom cocktails and Parisian street food so good they deserve a freakin’ medal. Taking its name from a US fighter jet, Kittyhawk takes you back to the historic French liberation, when US and French troops celebrated liberté, egalité and fraternité on the streets of Paris. Inside this little time capsule on Phillips Lane, you’ll find walls decorated with original wartime posters and memorabilia, while an impressive 12-metre-long handcrafted American oak bar serves over 900 spirits. Yep, you guessed it — it’s time to party like its 1944.

    Vote for Kittyhawk.

  • 1

    Tired of only having sugary, soulless mixers to pick from in Sydney bars? PS40 might have a solution to that, having opened the newest bar concept by the creators of PS Soda, an all-natural soda line. “Instead of an open cellar door, we have an open soda door,” says co-founder Michael Chiem (ex-SokyoBulletin Place and the Star’s Black by Ezard). Along with business partner Thor Bergquist (ex-Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) and Der Raum) and creative director Livia Lima (ex-Maud), it’s an all-star crew behind this factory’s curtain, well-hidden down Skittle Lane.

    Vote for PS40.

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x