Best Beer Gardens in Sydney

Updated 2 weeks ago

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • If you pretend for a moment that your rich mate has thrown a massive party in his backyard, that’s the energy you’ll find at this revamped 150-year-old boozer. It’s fun and festoon-lit, with a basketball court and food trucks parked up each weekend. There’s also a rotating menu of Merivale’s greatest hits – including Dan Hong’s famous El Loco hot-dog.

  • 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.

  • 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 is particularly popular. The main attraction? The fairy-lit fig tree overlooking the courtyard bar and restaurant.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The 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.

  • When Merivale’s restaurateurs 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.

  • The Lord Wolseley’s footpath courtyard is the subject of much speculation. Can you call it a beer garden? Is it even legal to drink schooners out here? When the weather’s right, and there’s a live jazz band playing old standards into the evening, it doesn’t even matter. Pure magic, this one.

  • “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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • One Drop’s petite beer garden gives it a sun-soaked edge among Sydney's craft beer millieu. Grab one of the brewery’s fun, fruit-forward sour beers and make for the outdoor picnic tables when the weather permits – you couldn’t ask for a better combination.

  • 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.

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