Beer gardens are meeting places – somewhere you can pull up stumps after a long day at work, sip on a freshly-poured schooner, and proceed to vent to about your job and love life to a few good friends, in the shade of some lush foliage (even if it’s artificial greenery).

Beer gardens are more than just synonymous with Sydney’s drinking culture, they’re one of its best features.

The quality, variety and geographical spread of Sydney’s beer gardens are proof of that. It’s also a reflection of the near-perfect weather we enjoy for more than half the year. From leafy little grottos to rooftops with million dollar views, these are the best beer gardens in the city.

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The Oaks Hotel

This Neutral bay destination had a major revamp in 2019 to include a new public bar and restaurant. But the best seats in the house are still reliably found in the courtyard, under the pub’s 70-year-old namesake – a towering fairy-lit oak tree.

118 Military Road, Neutral Bay

The Henson

A community classic filled with citrus trees and Newtown Jets fans. On a heaving weekend night, the high-tops and picnic tables are crowded with frosty schooners and Asian-inspired pub fare. And in very Marrickville fashion, the publicans have flipped the old garage into a kids play area. It’s dog-friendly, too. Bring the whole fam.

91 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville

Coogee Bay Hotel

Coogee’s other gargantuan boozer sports has stepped up in recent years. A flash Mediterranean inspired eatery with a seafood focus joins the downstairs Garden Bar – one of Sydney's most impressive beer gardens, and the best spot in the house for seaside pub grub and schooners.

253 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee

The Golden Barley

“Oasis” is a descriptor that’s oft bandied about for beer gardens, but in the Barley’s case it’s justified. Ferns, hibiscus and wisteria grow thick around its edges – it’s a lush, idyllic setting to imbibe within. To enter this secret garden, walk past the chic family friendly bistro or access from Edgeware road.

165-169 Edgeware Road, Enmore

The Vic on the Park

When Merivale’s restauranteurs bought this pub in 2017, they didn’t mess with a winning formula. They did, however, jazz the beer garden right up. An outdoor bar and grandstand looks onto the basketball court, which has gone from drab concrete slab to being painted in eye-popping colours. The deck remains ever-popular – especially when there’s footy on the giant projector screen.

2 Addison Road, Marrickville

The Newport

The courtyard of this sprawling establishment has the energy of a seafood festival in the Hamptons. If you’ve been to Merivale’s other huge seaside pub, The Coogee Pav, then you’ll know what you’re in store for here. Multiple storeys, eateries and beverages to choose from.

2 Kalinya Street, Newport

The Golden Sheaf Hotel

A slice of eastern suburbs history, with a beer garden to rival any on this list. Hordes flock to it every day of the week but the Wednesday student night and the Sunday roast are particularly popular. The main attraction is the fairy-lit fig tree overlooking the courtyard bar and restaurant.

429 New South Head Road, Double Bay

Mary's On Top

This astro-turfed bar atop The Lansdowne is a venue unto itself, with views across Sydney’s inner west. It’s based on the classic Mary’s template of beer, burgers, fried chicken and a relaxed, irreverent vibe. Throw in a glass of skinsy vino from Newtown purveyors P&V, and you’ve snagged yourself a classy evening. The festoon lights are a perfect addition.

2-6 City Road, Chippendale

Courthouse Hotel

Neighbourhood lifers and Newtown newbies alike tuck into whopping bowls of nachos – the pub’s most popular menu item – in this leafy wraparound courtyard. This is Newtown’s ultimate meet-up spot – if you live in the inner west you’ll almost certainly run into someone you know when you come here.

202 Australia St, Newtown

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel

Of all the eastern suburbs’ landmark establishments, there’s none with a view quite like this. A waterfront session here is met with postcard views of the CBD skyline and there’ll be plenty of nautical ephemera around your table. A spectacular ferry ride to and from the city make this a true weekend destination.

1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
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Harbord Hotel

This oasis by the sea had a revamp in 2020. Now, it combines heritage charm with all the modern ritz you’d expect from a standout seaside boozer. Elevated food and drinks, luxe design and one of Sydney’s best beaches down the street.

29 Moore Road, Freshwater

The Glenmore Hotel

The Glenmore’s famous rooftop has one of the city’s most stunning views, hands down. Punters clamour for unobstructed panoramas during summer, and in winter it’s an excellent perch for the Vivid festival light works. It’s unfussy, well-shaded and – combined with that view – doesn’t want for much else.

96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
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The Rose Hotel

This gastropub goes above and beyond on all fronts, not least of all in the beer garden stakes. It’s one of those inside-outside affairs (it’s fully covered), where throngs of students from nearby Sydney uni pull up for forward-thinking pub grub, well-priced cocktails and rolling games of pool.

52-54 Cleveland Street, Chippendale

Sauce Brewing Co

The only inner-west brewery with an outdoor space worthy of beer garden status. Past the giant steel fermenters, a canary-yellow shipping container punctuates a sprawling space littered with umbrellas and picnic benches. It’s got enough real-estate, astroturf and shade to fit a Saturday’s worth of taproom crawlers.

1a Mitchell Street, Marrickville

The Beresford Hotel

This art deco pub and its cobblestoned beer garden copped the Merivale treatment a few years back. Today, it’s lantern-clad and draped with Japanese maples; the perfect place to be at come Bero’clock (otherwise known as happy hour). It’s just as well the modern-Italian trattoria-style menu is primed for al-fresco dining.

354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

The Welcome Hotel

The leafy, sandstoned terrace out back is the best place to enjoy this 130-year-old boozer’s exceptional pub grub (it’s some of Balmain’s best). At golden hour, a glass of Italian bubbles from The Welcome’s formidable wine list doesn’t go astray, either.

91 Evans St, Rozelle

Coogee Pavilion

This sprawling mega-venue is Merivale’s most ambitious. Here you’ll find a family-friendly bistro, a tapas bar, a cocktail den and a fine diner that spiritually succeeds the now closed Est. Plus, there’s a killer rooftop bar on top of it all. Regardless of where you are, you're likely to have great views out over Coogee Beach.

169 Dolphin Street, Coogee

Opera Bar

Tied with the Glenmore rooftop for best harbour views. Aside from the nearby botanic gardens, there’s not much greenery here – just plates of freshly-shucked oysters, dizzying amounts of champagne, and a view so good you won’t even notice the tourists.

Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House Macquarie Street, Sydney

The Duck Inn Pub and Kitchen

The leafy, intimate beer garden at the back of this Chippendale boozer seems custom-built for a quiet catch-up with friends. Sure, you can stick to local craft brews out here. But we say, embrace the British-pub ambiance with hand-pumped pints of Fuller’s London pride.

74 Rose Street, Chippendale
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Public House Petersham

A raucous undercover beer garden wraps around half of this inner-west boozer. On public holidays, the action sprawls out into the carpark, as the public bar goes pour for pour with the wild and wonderful craft taps at nearby microbrewery, Small Batch.

292 Stanmore Road, Petersham

The Oxford Tavern

The moody, festooned beer garden is the Bonnie to the wooden-clad public bar’s Clyde. It’s also home to the Tav’s Black Betty smoker, which pumps out plates of low-and-slow brisket, Texas-style hotlinks and pork belly. Plus, there’s plant-based barbeque on the last Thursday of each month.

1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham, Petersham

Balmain Hotel

The biggest and cheeriest beer garden in Balmain. Pastel-coloured walls surround the tiered courtyard, with a shady tiki hut sitting up the back. The holiday vibe informs the list of fun, cocktails – definitely grab one of those for the full experience.

74 Mullens Street, Balmain