In Food + Drink

A Luxury Pub Crawl Through Sydney’s Other CBD, Parramatta

Parramatta is often touted as Sydney’s second CBD and if a central business district needs anything, it’s a decent collection of watering holes to accommodate after-work drinks.

Thankfully, as Parramatta grows, so do the quality thirst-quenching options. And long may the growth continue.

Nick & Nora’s

On the 26th floor of V by Crown, Nick & Nora’s is the most glamorous addition to Parramatta’s nightlife. The cocktail and Champagne bar is a nod to the roaring 30s with a lavish art deco-inspired fit-out. The large space can fit 300 and boasts 270-degree skyline views stretching as far as the Blue Mountains as well as the ‘other’ CBD.

And the bar serves drinks as opulent as its décor. Over 900 spirits, including 600 whiskeys, feature on the books, while the cocktail list consists of more than 30 well-considered concoctions.

More than fifty Champagnes from the likes of Veuve Clicquot to a Nebuchadnezzar (15,000ml or the equivalent of 20 bottles) of Mumm Cordon Rouge can also be sipped. If you have a spare $6000, that is.

Level 26, 45 Macquarie Street

Alex & Co.

Cocktail bar at one end, restaurant at the other, Alex & Co. is a sprawling venue that opened in 2017. A locals’ favourite, it’s busiest at Happy Hour (3pm to 6pm, seven days a week) when wines will set you back $5, schooners $7 and spritzes and cocktails $10.

The cocktail menu was designed by award-winning Max Greco – of Eau De Vie and Vasco fame – and the classics provide a solid supporting cast. The food menu includes plenty of bar-friendly dishes for when the inevitable hunger kicks in.

2-4/330 Church Street

Uncle Kurt’s


Image: Uncle Kurt’s / supplied

It was the first small bar in Parramatta and remains the only small bar in Parramatta, but Uncle Kurt’s punches above well above its (tiny) weight with quality cocktails and service.

The team make their own syrups, infusions, tinctures, bitters and perfumes; they dehydrate fruits and vegetables in-house, too. They even carve the ice themselves. And the hands-on approach gives rise to some wonderfully creative (and entirely drinkable) potions.

Oozing East Village appeal, the gritty nightspot is tucked away under the Horwood Place car park and is most definitely worth the search. Inside, you’ll find it plastered with grafitti and, in keeping with the NYC street theme, a small but tasty menu showcasing Jewish deli delights. Think  pastrami on rye and a double-smoked hotdog, and you’ve got the right idea.

Horwood Place

Port Bar

With much of Parramatta’s drinks scene located on the same few inner-city blocks, riverside Port Bar makes for a refreshing change – although it’s still walking distance from the action.

The waterside locale encourages a relaxed atmosphere – the perfect complement for a crisp pinot gris or cleansing ale. The cocktail menu is classic, and 24 beers are on tap. A crowd-pleasing food menu has a pub-grub feel with delicious steaks, pizza, pasta, burgers and a decent seafood showing.

36 Charles Street

The Emporium

Image: The Emporium / supplied

A little slice of Tuscany smack bang in Sydney’s west – it’d be rude not to pop in to The Emporium for a vino or two. As you might expect from a venue that pays aesthetic homage to the picturesque region of Italy, The Emporium has a comprehensive list of local and international wines, and is an inviting space for you to settle in and enjoy a few.

The drinks menu is ably supported by the food offering too. The Emporium is a café by day and restaurant by night with cosy indoor and outdoor seating.

51 Phillip Street

Bar 30 


Image: Bar 30 / supplied

Parramatta’s longest-standing hotel, ParkRoyal Parramatta, is also home to one of the suburb’s top spots for a tipple. Located on the hotel’s ground floor, Bar 30 is a contemporary venue comprising sleek interiors and a relaxed outdoor deck.

The bar was a beneficiary of the hotel’s $25 million refurbishment, completed in late-2016, and the makeover has proven popular. Live music adds to the appeal on Friday and Saturday nights.

30 Phillip Street

(Lead image: Jiwon Kim / Nick & Nora’s) 

Published 19 August, 2019