By Brett | May 1st, 2017
So you’ve got a hot date night lined up – congratulations! The hard part is over…right? But finding a venue in Sydney that is classy but not stuffy, fun but not rowdy, and has a vibe which accurately reflects the kind of person you are without ignoring your date’s interests…. that’s a tall order. Don’t stress, we’ve done the hard work for you and found the best date nights spots in the city.
From a mysterious underground speakeasy to the best award winning restaurant, an authentic French bistro, and a fun Mexican cantina, these tried and tested establishments each offer something a little different and are bound to impress.
Here’s our definitive guide to the 10 best locations around Sydney – and if you’re lucky enough to set up another date you’ll know where to go next!
This intimate cocktail bar, tucked in garage on an old cobblestone laneway off Kent St, serves up great drinks with a good dose of voodoo. The New Orleans style saloon is named after the god of death and fertility, and boasts an impressive cocktail menu that features concoctions for every affliction, like “The Bitter Truth”, “The Sherry Springer” and “The Gambling Priest”. If you don’t have to work the next day, indulge in one of their varieties of absinthe from France, Switzerland or America.
If you’re feeling flirty and adventurous, this is the perfect spot. This underground speakeasy, hidden in a basement on Clarence St, has exceptional service, and is a self-proclaimed “retro-sexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and faded granny glamour”. Always buzzing with the afterwork crowd, it can be tough to get a seat but if you don’t mind standing at the tiki bar you’ll be rewarded with fanfare and fire as the bartenders whip up some killer cocktails.
If you’re a fan of Shady Pines Saloon, you’ll be sure to enjoy a single malt whiskey at the Baxter Inn. This boozy dig features a 10-metre long bar (which is almost the length of the whole establishment) filled with over 800 different types of whisky. It has a true New York vibe and plenty of spirits, cocktails, wines and beers to chose from. A word of warning – they don’t serve food but you won’t go hungry as, in true New England style, there are complimentary pretzels.
Cropping up at the end of a dark laneway, located in the CBD between the Hilton Hotel and the Strand Arcade, try the delicious modern Australian-Japanese fusion food and innovative cocktails. Drinks are served in recycled jam jars and the place is decked out in recycled furniture, the Grasshopper is perfect to impress your environmentally conscious date. This intimate haunt has an eclectic feel and warm, candle-lit atmosphere.
If you’ve found a date who is enjoys a beer and a burger as much as you do, head to Australia’s most awarded brewery for delicious modern-Australian pub eats and an impressive selection of stouts, beers and ales. Established in Sydney in 2004, Redoak prides itself on supporting local suppliers and are powered by solar energy. Opt for the ‘beergustation’ and enjoy 5 courses of meal and beer pairings made in heaven. Decorated with velvet curtains and a polished timber bar, you’d never know it was a former shipbuilder’s yard.
Say ‘bonsoir’ to this modern-European bar and bistro sneakily located behind the popular Ivy Hotel. Dressed and decorated in elegant Parisian style, the classic cafe-style chairs and the rustic, wooden decor will help transport your tastebuds to France. The food is heavily influenced by Spanish and Italian flavours, including tapas, charcuterie starters and more. It’s the perfect location to subtly ‘show-off’ your cultured, European side – without looking like you tried to hard.
Go crazy for Mexican eats at El Loco at Slip Inn, conveniently located in Sussex St. El Loco offers a wide range of modern Australian foods with heavily influenced by traditional Mexican flavours. Feast on guacamole, spicy hot dogs, tacos, burgers, chicken schnitzel and salads. It’s the perfect venue for a ‘relaxed after work Corona’ that ends in tequila shots, margarita slushies and dancing all night (yes, they have a DJ). If you’re looking for something a little more low key, there are plenty of quiet corners in the beer garden to get to know your date while you piece together your DIY tacos, perfectly designed for two to share
Located in a heritage-listed house in the heart of the CBD, ‘SILY’ will give you the cool Melbourne bar vibes from the minute you walk in. Decorated in minimalist fashion, you could spend hours in the cozy venue testing all the classic cocktails it has to offer. The wine list is particularly impressive, featuring a wide array of national and international wines. The best part? You can enjoy the cocktails and mouth-watering gourmet food in their fairy-light illuminated courtyard, a true testament to Sydney’s architectural and industrial heritage, perfect for an unforgettable summer date.
The award-winning hatted Rockpool Bar & Grill is housed in the City Mutual Building, a 1936 American art deco style building. Renowned for its selection of wood fire grilled meats and fresh seafood, Rockpool prides itself on sourcing from Australian producers, focusing on organic beef that is humanely treated. And if there’s a lull in conversation, you can entertain yourself by reading the impressive 40 page bar menu! It begins with a list of ‘House Rules,’ including such friendly reminders as “no hooting, no hollering” and “nothing is on the house but the roof”.
Perfect for a night out with your amour, this charming French-style bar and bistro delights with its unparalleled traditional French food and extensive wine list. Located in the CBD’s Ash St Laneway, this brasserie is refreshingly authentic, and decorated with wall paintings imitating Parisian subways tiles, a real French chandeliers, a pewter bar and more. Think confit lamb shoulder, caramelised onion, paris mash, wood-grilled salmon and much more – bon appétit!
So there you have it! The best-of list of Sydney’s great eateries, pubs and bars selected by our Swooners. Whether you’re looking for a killer Negroni in a dimly lit bar, a laid back burger-and-beer combo, or tequila shots and dancing ‘til morning – it’s impossible to have a bad night in any of these tried-and-tested Sydney venues preferred by our very own Swooners.