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FOOD & DRINK

Five Great Sydney Pubs Where You Can Catch a Live Gig

Cosy pub vibes are that much better when there's live music — here's where to get your fix of both in Sydney.
By Nik Addams
June 25, 2021
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By Nik Addams
June 25, 2021
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in partnership with

Greater Sydney is currently under stay at home orders so, while you can't visit these pubs in person, you can still show your support with takeaway and online orders. You can stay up to date with the developing COVID-19 situation in Sydney, as well as current restrictions, at NSW Health.

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Whether you're there for an honest, heartwarming meal or a pint next to a cosy fireplace, there's nothing quite like the great Aussie tradition of spending an evening (or afternoon) at the pub. And those relaxed, homely vibes are even more pronounced when there's live music playing. Thankfully, there's no shortage of Sydney pubs with excellent gig lineups.

We've teamed up with Guinness to showcase five cosy Sydney pubs where you can get a perfectly poured pint — once pubs reopen, of course — soundtracked by great live tunes.

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Arvin Prem Kumar

HERO OF WATERLOO

Live tunes, an award-winning steak sandwich and a ghost tour, anyone? All three are on offer at this historic Millers Point pub, which also boasts toasty log fires and hand-chiselled sandstone walls. Musically speaking, things get funky on Friday and Saturday nights with the in-house band playing a range of styles, from blues and funk to rock and reggae. Saturday and Sunday afternoons, meanwhile, are a swingin' good time thanks to The Old Time Band and their interpretations of traditional Irish folk and swing classics.

Find the Hero of Waterloo at 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point.

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Arvin Prem Kumar

COACH AND HORSES

Open until 4am on weeknights (and 6am on Friday night), this Avoca Street watering hole has been serving Randwick locals for nearly 150 years. Age hasn't slowed this corner spot, with a regular series of gigs and things to do from weekly poker nights, sports, and live music. There are gigs every Thursday and Saturday night, as well as Sunday arvos. Feeling inspired? Swing by on a Friday from 9pm, when the Coach hosts weekly karaoke jams.

Find Coach and Horses at 147 Avoca Street, Randwick.

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THE MERCANTILE

To be sure, this pub in The Rocks has been serving up perfect pints of Guinness with warm Irish hospitality for over a century. In fact, The Mercantile is believed to be the oldest Irish pub in Australia. As well as a solid menu of old and new pub classics, including dishes from the Emerald Isle like a hearty Irish stew and bangers and champ, this lively pub also hosts regular live gigs, and lots of them — music kicks off on Thursday night, continues from Friday afternoon and starts on weekends from 1pm. It's the perfect pub soundtrack, too, with tunes ranging from traditional Irish to classic Aussie rock. 

Find The Mercantile at 25 George Street, The Rocks.

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THE RIVERVIEW

This Balmain boozer might not have the vista its name would suggest, but it has a lot going for it regardless. The excellent food menu includes daily menu specials, while weekends bring a popular bottomless lunch and a charming high tea. There's also live music every Thursday to Sunday — the regularly rotating lineup sees everything from reggae and country, to disco and Irish folk. On Friday nights and Sunday arvos, you can enjoy the tunes with $30 cocktail jugs.

Find The Riverview at 29 Birchgrove Road, Balmain.

Food is available to order online here, from 5–8:30pm, Monday–Saturday.

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FORTUNE OF WAR

This heritage-listed Rocks watering hole is Sydney's longest continuously licenced pub (it's been slinging schooners since 1828), and remains a favourite for Sydneysiders and visitors alike. While the inside retains a stately sense of old-world charm and is always a good idea for a pitstop, the real action takes place out the front in the George Street beer garden. The spacious outdoor area hosts acoustic gigs five nights a week (from Wednesday to Sunday), which you can enjoy in the historic surrounds of The Rocks while sampling one of the 15 beers on tap.

Find Fortune of War at 137 George Street, The Rocks.

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Thirsty? Find your closest place for a pint over at the Guinness Pub Finder.

Published on June 25, 2021 by Nik Addams

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