Five new bars to add to your must-try list in Sydney

Tapestries brighten the walls inside Parlar in Potts Point.
Tapestries brighten the walls inside Parlar in Potts Point. Photo: Christopher Pearce

When your DIY cocktail-making skills are no longer cutting it at home, make a break across the city to these top new bars around town.

Parlar

If you're seeking a bar for the ultimate special occasion, look no further than the recently opened Parlar. Sitting pretty next to its French sibling, Franca, restaurateur Andrew Becher's Catalonian fine-dining haven exudes warmth and sophistication.

Parlar means "to talk" in Catalan and its marble bar is the place to be for civilised chit-chat over refined bar snacks such as Iberico jamon or bacalao croquette with sturgeon caviar.


The seafood platter for two at Parlar, Potts Point.
For Good Food, April 5, 2022

Parlar's $240 seafood platter for two. Photo: Jude Cohen

For longer conversation, sink into the honey-toned booths and order more substantial items such as MBS9 Jack's Creek wagyu or a crema Catalana.

Signature cocktails and an extensive wine list showcase the best drops across Spain and the Mediterranean.

81 Macleay Street, Potts Point, parlar.com.au

Patrons enjoy their evening dining at Topikos at Bondi Beach, Sydney. April 21, 2022. Photograph by James Alcock/SMH

Bondi Beach Public Bar has been reborn as a Greek-inspired bar. Photo: James Alcock

Topikos

Tired of your friends Instagramming from Greece? A trip to bar-restaurant Topikos on Bondi Beach might just cure you.

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Bring the whole gang (families are catered for with great kids' options) and go large on the meze menu. All the classics are there, from taramasalata with salmon pearls to saganaki.

Melapita baked Greek cheesecake from Topikos at Bondi Beach, Sydney. April 21, 2022. Photograph by James Alcock/SMH

Melapita baked Greek cheesecake at Topikos. Photo: James Alcock

If you're ready for a feast, take advantage of the woodfire oven, pumping out whole wood-roasted calamari, or chicken with honey and hummus.

Drinks are easy to navigate here, with a curated list of mainly Greek and Australian wines alongside signature cocktails.

For something tropical, bright and tart, try a Sunshine Sour with Ron Zacapa rum, apricot, pineapple, fresh lime and banana. If clean and bracing is more your style, try an All Rhodes Lead to Bondi with Tanqueray gin, pear, fino, fresh lemon and almond.

180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, topikos.com.au

Hickson House main bar.
For Scott Bolles story, Good Food, Dec 1, 2021
Pic credit: Tom Yau

The main bar at Hickson House. Photo: Tom Yau

Hickson House

The reputable gin distillery and bar Hickson House are now open in the heritage-listed Metcalfe Bond Stores down in The Rocks.

Gin lovers can visit the main bar, as well as the more intimate "high and dry bar" perched above, and taste top gins alongside whiskies and other spirits.


Pearl martinis, salt-roasted split prawns with charred lime and chilli, and oysters with gin, apple and river mint vinaigrette at Hickson House.
For Scott Bolles story, Good Food, Dec 1, 2021
Pic credit: Tom Yau

Pearl martinis, salt-roasted split prawns and oysters at Hickson House. Photo: Tom Yau

With more than 19 gin cocktails to choose from, getting the full Hickson House experience will certainly take more than one visit.

The food menu elevates classics with Australian ingredients and the occasional touch of juniper, such as a kangaroo tartare with horseradish and Vegemite on toast, or a slow-roast lamb shoulder with juniper jus and mint gremolata.

6 Hickson Road, Dawes Point, hicksonhouse.com.au

The Rover in Surry Hills. 29th April 2022. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SH Food.

The comfortably genteel surrounds at The Rover. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The Rover

Coming off Campbell Street in Surry Hills and into the buzz of The Rover (previously The Wild Rover) feels like stepping into a Manhattan bar.

The exposed brick walls and moody lighting is all part of the facelift given to the space by the Liquid and Larder group (Bistecca, Grandma's).

The Rover in Surry Hills. Standover Man cocktail & No-Groni. 29th April 2022. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SH Food.

Standover Man and No-Groni cocktails at The Rover. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The menu hints at old-world New York, with Irish-leaning cocktails featuring Irish coffee, or an apple crumble cocktail that includes Jameson whiskey, cloudy apple juice and lemon, with a cute little shortbread biscuit on the side.

Those who knew Rover in its past life won't be disappointed, with perfectly formed sausage rolls still gracing the menu.

Executive chef Pipp Pratt has devoted some of the new, grown-up menu to a revolving selection of oysters, and other seafood delights such as raw scallops and caviar.

75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, liquidandlarder.com.au

A martini bar, Bar Planet in Newtown. 12th May 2022. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SMH

Sydney's first concept martini bar Bar Planet opened in April. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Bar Planet

The Mucho Group – responsible for acclaimed mezcal and tequila bars such as the award-winning Cantina OK! and Tio's Cerveceria – is bringing its creativity (and famous popcorn) to the martini.

Come for the psychedelic terrazzo counter made by the king of mosaic himself, David Humpheries, setting the tone with comets and stars gleaming in the candle light.

A martini bar, Bar Planet in Newtown. (Olive) Dirty martini, (lemon) wet gin martini and bar planet martini. . 12th May 2022. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SMH

Dirty martinis are the drink of choice across Sydney. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Stay for the martinis, ordered on their nifty "how you like it!" card. Vodka or gin? Wet or dry? With a twist or an olive? Tick your preferred box.

Martinis are also created with their exclusive "mother spirit", made in collaboration with local Distiller Poor Tom's from heritage apples. .

Beyond martinis, it's worth visiting for their weekly Scorpino – a refreshing Italian invention combining sorbet (house-made, of course), vodka and prosecco. Revolving sorbet flavours such as mandarin and basil, spiced plum, and watermelon and lime leaf will have you coming back for more.

16 Enmore Road, Newtown, barplanet.com.au

Bar La Salut in Redfern.

La Salut completes a European triumvirate for the Love Tilly Group. Photo: Wolter Peeters

ICYMI …

The Love Tilly Group has nailed the recipe for opening wine bars time and time again. Their most recent project is Bar La Salut, which opened in Redfern last year.

Savvy sommeliers share their passion for vermouth and Spanish wine varieties, all paired with a small but perfectly formed tapas selection.

Don't skimp on ordering a dessert wine with their signature cheesecake topped with blood orange, and soaked with vermouth and olive oil.

305 Cleveland Street, Redfern, barlasalut.com