There’s something enticing about a hidden bar don’t you think? The mystery, the hunt, the satisfaction in knowing a small secret that remains unbeknown to others… Now, we realise the irony in publishing these hidden bars for all to see, but best believe these joints are home to some of the best whisky cocktails we’ve come across, so it would be sacrilegious not to share.
Address: 152/156 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000
The Baxter Inn is a whisky bar inspired by old school Boston. Dimly lit and cosy with dark wooden features, the bar is hidden down the back of an alleyway in central Sydney that can prove quite difficult to find for newcomers. But as regulars would know, Baxter’s is recognised as not only one of Sydney’s, but the world’s best stocked bars, boasting an impressive array of whisky's from throughout the globe which totals over a whopping 800. The whiskey selection is organised according to regions that are then put into alphabetical order to bring some sort of structure into the madness. Now down to the good stuff… when it comes to ordering a cocktail here, you can’t really go wrong, but a crowd favourite is the classic whisky and freshly squeezed apple juice. So simple and so good you’ll have had five before you even realise it.
75 Campbell St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
The Wild Rover is a quaint little Irish bar with appropriately themed ‘wild’ wallpaper and decor that’s located in the midst of Surry Hills. The two-story bar features a wonderfully curated cocktail menu which includes the much talked about ‘Apple Crumble’. This cocktail is simultaneously decadent and refreshing and is made from vanilla Jameson, cloudy apple juice, orgeat and lemon with a toasty little piece of shortbread perched on top. You’ll feel instantly warm and comfortable at this joint. The friendly hospitality of the staff and the rustic feel of the place is perfect for a mid-week afternoon delight.
4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Shady Pines walked so that The Baxter Inn could run. Sister venue to Baxter Inn and known as one of the best “hidden” bars in all of Sydney, the founders of Shady Pines opened up this unpretentious joint to bring quality whiskey and western charm to the patrons of the city. You can find old-school dark wood and leather decor dimly lit by yellow lighting with walls featuring wild taxidermy and vintage signage. With a number of cocktails on the menu, we suggest you try the Irish coffee to really put a pep in your step. Consisting of Irish whisky, filter coffee, flamed lemon and macadamia cream you won’t want to put this one down.
407 King Street, Newtown, 2042 NSW
Don’t be fooled by the shop sign that reads ‘Betta Meats Butcher’ along the frontside of this hidden little gem. You may be wondering, why is there a security guard standing outside a butcher at 10pm on a Friday night? Step inside and you’ll see why. Chic and classy yet wonderfully understated, Earl’s Juke Joint is a bar with a great feel and even better drinks. With an extensive cocktail list to choose from, you’ll have a fantastic night trying your hand at a few of these bad boys. Our favourite whisky-based cocktail here would have to be the classic Old Fashioned- they even do delivery!
Get out your maps and see if you can locate these hidden gems. There are a whole bunch of different bars hidden away for you to try, these are just a few of our favourites. Keep your eye out for secret menu items too… Hidden bars tend to be swift in the best of ways.