Sydney Bar Crawl - Tried and Tested

It's that time of day, you've mentally clocked out and you're ready to refuel the tank with some serious socialising.  Whether you're catching up with a few friends or want to show someone a good time, it pays to start off a little prepared.

Even though I'm a believer in the old 'spontaneous nights are the best nights' you can't ignore how good it is when you go out with someone who has the evening sorted.

Me being the self-confessed over-planner that I am, I put this bar crawl together and tested it (with a friend).  I found it very easy on the feet (even in heels) all the venues are reasonably close, just enough of a stroll to work up a thirst between each.  It also offers a bit of variety in the setting with underground, rooftop, street level and lane way locations. 

When you're ready to give it a crack, jump aboard this pre-planned pub crawl through Sydney / Circular Quay.  Upload the Google Maps link in your App (find it below) and you've got it all sorted.

There are two options for dinner and both Google Maps versions are linked below.

Warning; you will be required to make one booking to ensure dinner, the rest is pre-planned and you just have to turn up.

1. Start Here - The Doss House in The Rocks  (4pm, or earlier if you can, and take full advantage of happy hours at the next venues)

This place offers history to boot!  Nestled in The Rocks in an old underground sandstone house that has quite a past, you will find tasty cocktails and a very comfy drinking zone.  I personally love the library lounge area. 

To be honest this really does have more of an after dinner feel to it but I think starting here early is the key as it does get busy and to really enjoy the spaces provided you should try an early pre-dinner beverage instead.  You will be able to get a seat and maybe even a lounge or armchair! 

(read my blog here about my Doss House visit)

2. Rooftop Happy Hour - Bar Ombre (4 - 6 pm)

From underground historical bar straight to the new rooftop bar on Sydney's Gateway building.  A complete contrast to the prior venue and the first of two happy hour stops.  If you were able to start early then take full advantage of the 2 hour session, if not aim to be here by 6 pm so you can enjoy at least one cheap drink - $5 wines and beer and $20 share cocktail jugs were on the menu when I was there.  I arrived here around 5.15 pm and like any good happy hour bar it was pretty busy already.  It's only a short walk from the starting point and you can take the scenic walk past the harbour to get there.  An easy transition!

(read my blog here about Bar Ombre)

3. Extended Happy Hour - The Morisson Bar & Oyster Room (5 - 7 pm)

If you're a serious planner (like me) and want to take full advantage of the happy hour session then you need to make sure you get to The Morisson Bar & Oyster Room before 7 pm to really maximise the cheap drinks before dinner.  Not far from the rooftop and again a very popular bar with $6 drinks (not sure about the cocktails, I had moved to bubbles by this time).  This is an oldie but a goodie and worth a visit. Now just remember to leave in time for dinner booking at 8 pm!

4. One Must Eat - Take your pick (the dinner venue) (8 pm dinner booking)

Now this is where you need to make an earlier decision and take action - book dinner.  Which venue floats your boat?  I've popped in two of my favourites and they're very different so it's worth checking them out.  Kid Kyoto is Japanese food and Ash St Cellar serves up European dishes.  Both are close to the previous venue and easy to walk to.  Make your choice and book a table!!

Kid Kyoto

If you like Japanese and are partial to a relaxed setting with an edgy vibe then this is definitely one to try.  I recommend the taster menu so you can stick to the 'no thinking' theme and just go with a per head cost and let the chefs serve out the dishes one after the other.  We went overboard, the food was so delicious and it was such a fun place to be that we stayed longer than originally planned.

(read my blog here about Kid Kyoto)


Ash St Cellar

If you prefer something more sophisticated for your dining experience then Ash St Cellar is the place for you (or if you just don't like Japanese food!).  They have a small menu that is designed to be shared, the dishes are small but rich and they have the best cheese and pate (if you're that way inclined).  Their wine menu is astonishing and the laneway that it is tucked away in is very close to the next venue.  I really love this place for smaller groups, it is rather small and I find the dishes are easier to share with less people but you have to try it to find out!

(read my blog here about Ash St Cellar)

5. The Finisher & After Dinner Drink - Uncle Mings

Uncle Ming’s is a very cool place.  It's inspired by Shanghai's Uncle Ming who was apparently a rather notorious fellow, leading a life of crime before heading to Sydney in the 1920's.

You can expect all things Uncle Ming here with exciting cocktails, japanese whisky and dumpling bar (not that you will be needing food after the feast you just had).  Depending on how well you paced yourself throughout the crawl you might like to try a couple of after-dinner beverages, there is plenty to tempt you.

6. Notes

Remember this is a bar crawl, the point of the bar crawl is to actually move from one venue to the next in a reasonably timely manner.  All too often we get comfy and decide to just order from the menu at the second bar and ditch the crawl early.  Be bold, finish the crawl!! If you don't make it to the after-dinner drink then it should be due to overindulging at happy hour (and that is acceptable as it is easily done).

Also remember, all you have to do to prepare is get your friend(s), choose a date and then book one of the dinner venues - easy.  On the evening, pop the link in to your Google Maps and Voila! get started, follow the directions to each venue and maximise your happy hour time.

Here are the maps below - enjoy it and let me know how you go, did you finish it or not?  

Which was your favourite venue?

Google Maps - The Kid Kyoto Crawl

Google Maps - Ash St Cellar Crawl


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