PARKROYAL Picks offer a compilation of hidden gems and best-kept secrets to help travellers explore the city like a local. The underground bar scene in Sydney is full of wonderful hidden delights guaranteed to surprise and enliven all and sundry. The beauty is in the atmosphere and warmness that only a ‘tucked away’ watering hole can provide. Nothing beats being treated as family and the chance to be privileged enough to sample signature drinks and magical concoctions that are created by skilled bar staff.
1. Papa Gedes Bar
348 Kent Street, Sydney
Winner of the Time Out People’s Choice Award and the Time Out Best Neighbourhood Bar, Papa Gedes can be found at the end of a cobblestone alley and is a secret haven for lovers of mystique. With New Orleans and Voodoo inspired decor, this candle lit den is the home of funk, soul and reggae. It may be small but is warm, welcoming and cosy. Excellent for a date or intimate catch up. The friendly, helpful staff will steer you in the direction of something you are guaranteed to like. Papa Gedes is unpretentious and the comfy touches make you feel at home. The excellently presented cocktails are inventive and above all, excellent!
338 Kent Street, Sydney
A visit to Since I Left You will feel like stepping into the era of the 1920’s! The heritage listed storehouse has been converted into an art deco inspired space oozing with class. Tucked away in the little laneways of Sydney, this gem will have you relaxing under fairy lights in the stone courtyard, sharing a laugh in the Carriageway or soaking up the romantic atmosphere at the inside bar. This is all complimented by the live music and a definite positive ‘buzz’. Since I Left You also specialise in tasty bar snacks and mouth-watering gourmet toasties.
3. Grandma’s Bar
275 Clarence Street, Sydney
As the name suggests, this retro and kitschy themed boho basement is a novelty worthy of a visit. Surrounded by rocking chairs and knitting needles, the bubbly and friendly staff will serve up something fresh and eclectic. Rum is the specialty, however the boutique spirit bar will ensure there is something to tempt you. Winner of the Time Out Sydney Best Small Bar, Grandma’s Bar will invite you in and give you a great big warm hug, just like a Granny should.
4. Baxter Inn
152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney
Housing an extensive selection of scotch and whisky, this basement bar is truly a hidden secret and is a quick 4 minute walk from PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney. The unobtrusive entrance is easy to miss; the descent down a couple of flights of stairs leaves you wondering where it will end, but you emerge into a softly lit cave of sensational atmosphere. The immaculately dressed and highly knowledgeable staff will happily guide you through a plethora of choices, all to the sounds of smooth Blues music. The exposed brick, retro styling and comfy couches make it seductively easy to wile away the time with whisky in hand.
Basement Lot 1, 209 Clarence Street, Sydney
As the name suggests, this Caribbean themed bar has a real plantation feel. Entering down a stunning curved staircase, you can’t help but make an entrance. This is a rum connoisseur’s heaven with over 250 types of rum dating back to 1930. The kitchen serves an excellent array of tasty Caribbean treats and restaurant quality shared meals that are easy to enjoy from your cosy leather booth. The tasting tours, called Flights, are recommended for a guided tasting experience, but bookings are a must.
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