Start your night out right with the best happy hours in inner-city Sydney

If you thought Sydney bars were too exxy, think again. You can find fabulous drinks and nibbles at prices that won't break the bank around the city, if you know where (and when) to go.

Fairy lights illuminate the courtyard of Since I Left You
  • Alex Carlton
  • September 2019

What’s better than a drink after a long day? A half-price drink after a long day! Add a round of wallet-friendly snacks and you’ve got a great night out in the harbour city’s inner suburbs for a bargain price.

Banksii

For an upscale twist on happy hour, this slick waterfront bar and restaurant opens in new window at Barangaroo presents Martini Sunset Sessions on weekdays from 3-6pm, curated by sommelier Rebecca Lines. Settle in surrounded by greenhouse-inspired interiors and enjoy AUD $5 house beer, wine and vermouth or choose from a selection of top-shelf cocktails priced between AUD $5 and AUD $15, including a Wet Martini made with Martini Riserva and Star of Bombay Gin.

Sip on a glass of Vermouth while enjoying the water views at Banksii.
Sip on a glass of Vermouth while enjoying the water views at Banksii.

Dove & Olive

This tucked-away pub in Surry Hills opens in new window offers punters a solid line-up of specials on almost every hour of every day. Time your visits right and you could have a AUD $12.50 cheeseburger for lunch, followed by a AUD $4.50 house wine in the late afternoon, or a AUD $12 parmy for dinner and a AUD $7 top-shelf spirit chaser. But if you don’t have the will or the time to plan things with this level of precision, just rock up between 5-7pm Monday through Saturday for house beer, wine and spirits for a teeny tiny AUD $4.50 – easily one of the best-value happy hours in town. If you are in the mood for something a bit fancier, the D&O takes its craft beer seriously, with over 25 on offer at any time. A tasting paddle of weekly specials is a great way to try the best.

Whirly Bird

At this inviting Pyrmont venue opens in new window, aperitivo hour is celebrated from 5-7pm Sunday to Thursday. You can get house wine and beer for AUD $5 and it’s just AUD $10 for classic Italian cocktails like Negronis and Aperol Spritzes. But it’s the snack savings that step things up a notch because the food here is seriously good. For AUD $10, order up big on share plates including chicken and chorizo croquettes, jalapeno poppers and chicken wings. If you can get there on a Thursday, the kitchen serves AUD $12 burgers all day (yes, there’s more than chicken on offer).

Pyrmont establishment Whirly Bird is known for its great happy hour deals.
Pyrmont establishment Whirly Bird is known for its great happy hour deals.

Restaurant Hubert

Run by the folks behind Shady Pines Saloon and The Baxter Inn, this offbeat French restaurant opens in new window in the CBD has “bar” in its DNA and nothing proves that more than its aperitivo hour. From 4-6pm Monday to Saturday, expect a neat selection of eats and drinks for just AUD $5, including Dubonnet highballs, Genmaishu sake, croque monsieurs or plates of cabanossi. Still hungry? A spare AUD $10 will bag you a burger. And stick around on Wednesdays and Thursdays for live jazz from 8pm.

Beerhaus

Two words: free snacks. That’s what you’ll see coming out of the kitchen during Royal Snack Hour at this rowdy German-style beer hall opens in new window, also in the CBD. From 4-6pm every weekday, when you order a AUD $5 happy hour beer, wine or spirit, you can soak them up with a sausage roll, Texan sloppy fries or Cajun popcorn chicken. Weekly specials include two-for-one schnitzels on Tuesdays from 5pm.

Get a taste of Germany in Sydney's CBD at Beerhaus - and don't forget to say 'Prost!'
Get a taste of Germany in Sydney's CBD at Beerhaus - and don't forget to say 'Prost!'

SILY (Since I Left You)

Mark your diaries: Thursday is Tunes N’ Tins night at this snug city bar opens in new window. That means there’s live music from 6.30pm and AUD $6 tinnies like Furphy and Kosciuszko Pale Ale. (If you like what you hear, the bar has a Soundcloud account you can follow.) Once you’ve limbered up, AUD $12 classic cocktails – you’ll almost always find a Cosmo or a Margarita on the menu – kick off from 8pm. Order a round of cheeseburger toasties for everyone and you’ve got yourself an evening.