Eat & Drink

Ditch The Dating Awkwardness At These Fun Sydney Bars

You matched with someone on Tinder, they’re cute, they laugh at your jokes and they have a dog – absolute score! Now all you need to do is find the perfect place for your first meet-up. We’ve got your back, boo, with some of the best Sydney bars for a first date.

There’s a fine art to picking a good first date spot: You don’t want to go too fancy right out the gate, but you also don’t want to hit up a random bar. Basically, you don’t want it to be as grand as the Mona Lisa, but you don’t want it to turn out like that botched restoration of the Jesus painting. I know about art.

Thankfully, there are a bunch of bars in the city that hit the sweet spot. From cocktail bars to themed bars and drinking haunts with games, these are the best Sydney bars for a first date:

Golden Age Cinema and Bar

 

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This is a major glow-up of the “dinner and a movie” date. Forget hitting up a dank pub before a Hoyts flick – the Golden Age Bar is a lush ’20s-themed underground bar that serves up cocktails and decently-priced beer, cider and wine.

Head here for an indulgent drink before a movie in the Golden Age Cinema, which is equally as impressive as the bar. Or come here for the night even without a movie ticket – it’s open to anyone and everyone and only takes walk-ins.

The lush vibes will impress your date and make them think you’re in on all the city’s secret hotspots.

Where: 80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills


1989 Arcade Bar

 

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You can’t sit through an awkward silence if you’re playing a Street Fighter arcade game together. The 1989 Arcade Bar is decked out with retro games like Time Crisis 2NBA Jam and Marvel vs Capcom as well as pinball machines and a big collection of board games that you can grab from behind the bar. It’s among the funnest of all Sydney bars.

The drinks list is as fun as the games, with cocktails like the Zooper Dooper Good Time (vodka and Chambord served with a Zooper Dooper), Toasty (Fireball whisky, Sriracha and ginger beer topped with a ginger lolly) and the Fruity Breakfast (Fireball whisky, Baileys and milk topped with Fruit Loops cereal and served with a spoon), and local brews from Young Henrys and Grifter Brewing Co on tap.

Where: 22–24 King Street, Newtown


Kittyhawk

 

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If you’re in the mood for a classy first date and plenty of cocktails, you can’t go past Kittyhawk. Mixing up custom cocktails like the Phillip Lane (gin, Martini Mianco, grape and kiwi syrup and lemon juice) and the Old Grogram (spiced rum, vermouth, lemon juice and a flamed cinnamon stick on top).

The aesthetic is designed around the Liberation of Paris in 1944, so expect classy old-school furnishings and military memorabilia. It tends to the expensive side, but it’s one of the best Sydney bars to start a first date in and will give you plenty to talk about once you leave to check out a second (and maybe third if it’s going well) bar.

Where: 16 Phillip Lane, Sydney


The Bearded Tit

 

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It’s a bit kitschy, a bit outrageous and a lot of fun. The Bearded Tit has taxidermy on the walls, portraits of Jesus hanging in the bathrooms, and plenty of opportunities for ice breakers.

The Bloody Mary comes with three kinds of hot sauce and there’s mulled wine and Hot Toddy cocktails served in winter. Most of the food you’ll order here comes from the nearby Lorentto Pizzeria, so while you may wait longer for your food to get to your table, it’s worth it for pizza, pasta and cheesy garlic bread. The bar hosts lots of live music and queer events, so check the website or socials to figure out the perfect night for your date.

Where: 183 Regent Street, Redfern


Knox Street Bar

 

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Knox Street Bar strikes gold with its blend of bizarre decorations and classy cocktail offerings, but its biggest drawcard is the massive Spin The Wheel-approach to ordering drinks.

Here’s how it works: spin the wheel and the bar staff will make you whichever cocktail it lands on. When a spin costs a flat fee and can score you drinks that normally cost a couple of dollars more than that, it becomes a pretty good deal for an adventurous night out. At the very least, it avoids the awkward moment when you and your date are silently reading the menu trying to decide what to order. Plus it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

So go forth and live your best date life!

Where: 21 Shepherd St, Chippendale

(Lead image: 1989 Arcade Bar / Facebook)