Sydney CBD’s Best Cafés & Bars: Exploring the Culinary Delights


Toby's Estate: 25 Martin Place

Sydney, the vibrant metropolis nestled on the shores of the Pacific, is a city that boasts a rich tapestry of cultures, each contributing to its diverse culinary landscape. The Central Business District (CBD), at the heart of this bustling city, is a treasure trove of gastronomic delights, with its cafés standing out as havens for coffee enthusiasts and food lovers alike. In this exploration, we delve into the top cafés that Sydney CBD has to offer, each with its unique charm and culinary prowess.

Toby’s Estate: 25 Martin Place (photo above)

Now a global brand with humble beginnings on Cathedral Street in Darlinghurst, now 25 Martin Place showcases the best Toby’s Estate has to offer. Located in the bustling Sydney CBD, Toby’s Estate 25 Martin Place provides new reasons to indulge. The seasonal menu pairs perfectly with their specialty coffees, whether you prefer to try a new single origin, or stick with your favourite espresso blend.

Short on time? There is a delicious selection of pastries and sandwiches, perfect for on-the-go, and available all day (unless sold out). Or if you prefer to linger, dine in with their à la carte menu for a true culinary experience.

Single O: The Coffee Connoisseur’s Oasis

Nestled in the lively streets of Surry Hills, Single O has become synonymous with exceptional coffee in Sydney. Boasting ethically sourced beans and a commitment to sustainability, Single O takes patrons on a journey through the artistry of coffee-making. From single-origin pour-overs to expertly crafted espresso beverages, this café has become a pilgrimage site for coffee connoisseurs seeking the perfect brew.

Devon Café: Where Creativity Meets Cuisine

Devon Café, situated in Surry Hills, is a testament to the fusion of culinary creativity and a commitment to quality. Known for its innovative dishes, such as the famous “Breakfast with the Sakuma’s,” featuring miso-grilled king salmon, and the whimsical “Cereal Killer,” Devon Café elevates the brunch experience to new heights. The café’s eclectic menu and vibrant atmosphere make it a must-visit for those seeking a culinary adventure.

Bourke Street Bakery: A Pastry Paradise

A pilgrimage for pastry enthusiasts, Bourke Street Bakery has become an institution in Sydney’s food scene. With a humble beginning in Surry Hills, this bakery has expanded to multiple locations, each maintaining its commitment to artisanal baking. From the iconic pork and fennel sausage rolls to the delectable ginger brulée tart, Bourke Street Bakery continues to redefine the city’s pastry standards.

The Grounds of the City: A Garden Oasis in the Urban Jungle

Situated in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, The Grounds of the City is a unique café experience that transports patrons to a whimsical garden oasis. The café’s lush interior, complete with a vintage coffee cart and an in-house bakery, provides a welcome escape from the urban hustle. The menu, featuring farm-to-table ingredients, showcases The Grounds’ commitment to quality and sustainability.

Reuben Hills: The Coffee Pioneer

Reuben Hills, located in Surry Hills, has earned its place as a pioneer in Sydney’s specialty coffee scene. With a focus on direct trade and sustainable practices, the café offers a curated selection of beans that are roasted in-house. The industrial-chic setting adds to the allure, making Reuben Hills a haven for coffee aficionados seeking a laid-back atmosphere to savor their favorite brew.

Bulletin Place: A Hidden Gem for Coffee Aficionados

Tucked away in a laneway off George Street, Bulletin Place is a hidden gem for those in search of an intimate coffee experience. This micro-roastery takes pride in its meticulous approach to coffee, with the baristas passionately guiding patrons through the nuances of different blends. The minimalist décor and the aroma of freshly roasted beans create a sensory delight for coffee lovers.

Paramount Coffee Project: Where Art and Coffee Collide

Combining the worlds of art and coffee, Paramount Coffee Project in Surry Hills is a café that doubles as a gallery space. With a rotating selection of artwork adorning its walls, this café offers a dynamic environment for patrons to appreciate both visual and culinary craftsmanship. The menu, featuring specialty coffee and inventive dishes, reflects the café’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional café culture.

Black Star Pastry: Home of the Famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake

Black Star Pastry has become a household name in Sydney, thanks to its iconic Strawberry Watermelon Cake. With a commitment to using high-quality, fresh ingredients, this patisserie has gained a loyal following. While the Strawberry Watermelon Cake remains a star attraction, Black Star Pastry’s diverse range of pastries and cakes ensures there’s something for every palate.

And There’s So Many More!

Sydney’s CBD is a mecca for food enthusiasts, and its cafés stand as testament to the city’s culinary prowess. From the coffee-centric havens like Single O and Reuben Hills to the pastry paradises of Bourke Street Bakery and Black Star Pastry, each café contributes to the rich tapestry of flavors that define Sydney’s food scene. Whether you’re a devoted coffee connoisseur, a brunch enthusiast, or a pastry lover, Sydney CBD’s best cafés offer a diverse array of experiences that cater to every taste and preference. So, embark on a culinary journey through the streets of Sydney’s CBD and savor the delights that await in these gastronomic havens.

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And Sydney’s Small Bars? Here We Go …

Sydney s known for its vibrant nightlife, and small bars have become a prominent feature of the city’s social scene. These intimate spaces offer a break from the traditional pub environment, providing patrons with a more personalized and unique experience. In this guide, we’ll explore six of the best small bars in Sydney, each with its own distinctive charm and character.

Bulletin Place

Location: 10-14 Bulletin Pl, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Nestled in the heart of Sydney’s central business district, Bulletin Place is a hidden gem for cocktail enthusiasts. This small bar takes pride in its commitment to using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. The bar’s interior is unassuming, with exposed brick walls and dim lighting, creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere.

One of Bulletin Place’s standout features is its daily-changing cocktail menu. The skilled bartenders craft each drink with precision and creativity, often incorporating seasonal fruits and herbs. Patrons can engage in conversation with the friendly staff, who are passionate about mixology and happy to recommend a cocktail tailored to individual preferences.

The bar’s signature drink, the “Bulletin Martini,” is a must-try. Made with locally sourced gin and vermouth, it reflects the bar’s dedication to supporting Australian producers. The ever-evolving menu ensures that each visit to Bulletin Place is a unique and delightful experience.

Shady Pines Saloon

Location: 4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

Transport yourself to the Wild West at Shady Pines Saloon, a small bar with a distinct cowboy flair. Located in the eclectic neighborhood of Darlinghurst, this establishment is known for its laid-back ambiance, country music, and a wide selection of whiskies.

The décor at Shady Pines Saloon is reminiscent of an old American saloon, complete with taxidermy animals adorning the walls. The bar exudes character, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The staff, dressed in plaid shirts and suspenders, contribute to the authentic Western experience.

The drink menu is extensive, featuring an impressive array of bourbons, ryes, and unique cocktails. The “Bourbon and Apple Pie” cocktail is a crowd-pleaser, combining the rich, smoky notes of bourbon with the sweetness of homemade apple pie syrup. For those seeking a more traditional experience, the bartenders excel at crafting classic cocktails with a Shady Pines twist.

Eau de Vie

Location: 229 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia

Eau de Vie, French for “water of life,” lives up to its name by offering a sophisticated and opulent drinking experience. Tucked away in Darlinghurst, this small bar is celebrated for its extensive and meticulously curated cocktail menu. The dimly lit space exudes a timeless elegance, with plush leather seating and an impressive backlit bar showcasing an extensive collection of spirits.

The cocktail menu at Eau de Vie is a journey through time, featuring drinks inspired by different eras and cultures. The skilled mixologists use innovative techniques, such as smoking and infusing, to create one-of-a-kind concoctions. The “Vintage Fashioned,” a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, is a standout choice, aged in oak barrels for a uniquely smooth flavor profile.

In addition to its exceptional cocktails, Eau de Vie offers a selection of rare and vintage spirits for the true connoisseur. The attentive and knowledgeable staff are more than happy to guide patrons through the diverse menu, ensuring a memorable and refined drinking experience.

The Baxter Inn

Location: 152-156 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Descending a staircase into the subterranean world of The Baxter Inn feels like stepping back in time. This underground whiskey bar, located in the central business district, boasts an extensive selection of whiskies from around the world. The dimly lit space is adorned with vintage memorabilia and rows of whiskey bottles, creating an intimate and nostalgic atmosphere.

The star of the show at The Baxter Inn is undoubtedly the whiskey collection. Whether you’re a seasoned whiskey aficionado or a novice looking to explore, the knowledgeable staff is on hand to offer recommendations based on individual preferences. The bar also features a rotating selection of craft beers on tap for those looking to diversify their drink choices.

The “Baxter’s Old Fashioned” is a popular choice among patrons, showcasing the bar’s commitment to the art of mixology. The bartenders take pride in their craft, and the meticulous preparation of each cocktail is a testament to their dedication. With its vintage charm and unparalleled whiskey selection, The Baxter Inn remains a top destination for those seeking a refined and nostalgic drinking experience.

The Lobo Plantation

Location: 209 Clarence St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Escape to the tropics without leaving the city at The Lobo Plantation, a Cuban-inspired rum bar located in the heart of Sydney. This small bar is a celebration of all things rum, with an extensive menu featuring an impressive selection of rum-based cocktails and rare spirits. The lush and vibrant décor, complete with hanging plants and colonial-style furnishings, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The cocktail menu at The Lobo Plantation is a journey through the flavors of the Caribbean, with a focus on expertly crafted rum concoctions. The bartenders, adorned in Panama hats and suspenders, bring a touch of Havana to Sydney as they mix, shake, and stir each drink with precision. The “Pineapple Express,” a tropical and refreshing rum cocktail, is a standout choice for those looking to embrace the bar’s island-inspired theme.

For true rum enthusiasts, The Lobo Plantation offers rum flights, allowing patrons to sample a curated selection of rare and aged rums. The knowledgeable staff is always eager to share their expertise and guide guests through the diverse world of rum.

In addition to its exceptional drinks, The Lobo Plantation often hosts live music events, adding to the lively and convivial atmosphere. Whether you’re a rum aficionado or simply looking to escape to a tropical paradise, The Lobo Plantation offers a unique and immersive small bar experience in the heart of Sydney.

In conclusion, Sydney’s small bar scene offers a diverse range of experiences, from the opulent and sophisticated to the gritty and rock-inspired. Each of the bars mentioned above has its own unique charm, ensuring that whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur, a whiskey enthusiast, or a lover of live music, Sydney has a small bar to suit your taste. So, embark on a journey through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, and discover the hidden gems that make Sydney’s small bars a integral part of its lively nightlife.

Welcome Aboard!

Sydney is respected globally for its vibrant cafe and bar culture, and there are many excellent cafes in the central business district. Keep in mind that the popularity and quality of cafes can change, so it’s always a good idea to check for the latest reviews and recommendations.