Let the Night Be-Guinness

As a city with one of the world’s largest Irish immigration populations, there’s a lot of good craic to be had on the streets of Sydney. Especially when St Patrick’s Day celebrations roll around.

While lush cocktail bars and vegan cafes continue to garner much of the attention, you’d be an eejit to dismiss the lively atmosphere of your local Brady’s or Maloney’s.

That being said, with so many jolly drinking holes to choose from, it can get a little tricky picking an Irish pub in Sydney that’s truly bang on.

But come here to us now, because the luck of the Irish is on your side today.

Whether you’re homesick for the great motherland, jumping on the St Patrick’s Day bandwagon or have simply adopted a love for all things Guinness, potatoes and whiskey, we’ve gathered a list of the best Irish pubs to head to in the city.

So put down that cup of Barry’s and get off the phone with your Mammy. It’s time to go out for a few scoops with the lads and lasses…

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The Best Irish Pubs in Sydney

The Wild Rover

We couldn’t possibly imagine Surry Hills without this lively neighbourhood gem. Aptly named after a typical Irish drinking song, The Wild Rover is undoubtedly the life and soul of Sydney’s Campbell Street. A well-executed blend of rustic Irish pub and New York speakeasy characteristics, this cosy low-lit establishment sees Guinness and Martini drinkers sitting side by side. Other Irish classics include Irish Coffee and a hefty list of whiskeys. Adding the pub’s world famous sausage roll to your order comes highly recommended.

75 Campbell StreetMon – Sat, 4pm – 12am

Mercantile Hotel

Nestled beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Mercantile Hotel Irish Pub has been a longtime go-to for both locals and visitors since 1915. The legendary establishment serves up hearty fare alongside cheerful hospitality every day of the week, but Sunday is when the gallivanting really begins. While you order your pints and tuck into Irish cocktail sausages, bangers and mash or the famous Shamrock pie, Irish bands play from afternoon until late into the night. Make sure you also check out The Mercantile’s week of St Patrick’s Day events too, which feature the annual Irish breakfast gathering, Irish dance competitions, live music and good times galore.

25 George StMon – Thurs, 11am – 12amFri, 11am – 12amSat, 10am – 1amSun, 10am – 12am

Book a table at Mercantile Hotel

Norton’s Pub

Recognised as the Little Italy of Sydney, you may be surprised to learn that Leichhardt isn’t all trattorias and pizza joints. Sitting in a charming brick building at the district’s border, you’ll find Norton’s Pub. Norton’s brings traditional features of a classic Irish drinking establishment together with slick modern touches – a risky approach, but one they pull off with absolute ease. Come for the perfect pour of Guinness, $13 daily menu specials, and the burger and fries combos that will make you nostalgic for your local chipper.

1 Norton StMon – Thurs, 9am – 4amFri, 9am – 6amSaturday, 9am – 12amSunday, 10am – 10pm

Doss House

Feck it. Let’s throw in an extra fancy number. Doss House in The Rocks is by no means your quintessential Irish pub. However, their extensive list of around 30 Irish whiskeys is worthy of an honorary mention. Whiskey translates to ‘water of life’ in Gaelic, something Doss House clearly understands and respects. For those wanting the full taste of this life-giving elixir, the Irish whiskey flight is a fine choice. Just as enjoyable as the grand drams is the setting: an 1840s basement bar fitted with a terrace area and original fireplaces.

But even these hip kids aren’t too cool for St Patrick’s Day shenanigans. On Sunday March 15, Doss House will be donning their green hats to host a bunch of festivities, including live music, Irish dancing and more.

77/79 George StTues – Thurs, 4pm – 1amFri – Sat, 4pm – 2amSun, 4pm – 12am

P.J. O’Briens

Shay’s Irish pork saussies and Jameson Irish coffees, a roaring open fire and live Irish music… At P.J. O’Briens, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just walked off King Street and into a cosy cottage in the Emerald Isle. In this case, we’re very happy to play the fool. Alongside classic Irish fare, this CBD pub has a busy live music calendar, hosts a regular ‘Craic Quiz Night’ and streams live sports. Head along at the end of the weekend for traditional Sunday sessions consisting of jigs and reels, ballads, sing-a-longs and the invitation to BYO instrument and join in. Add in a $18 Sunday roast and you’ve got a serious shindig on your hands.

57 King StMon – Wed, 12pm – 12amThurs, 12pm – 1amFri, 12pm – 2amSat, 1pm – 2amSun, 1pm – 12am

P.J. Gallagher’s

On the other side of town is another P.J. good sort. Serving up their own dose of green magic is P.J. Gallagher’s, a lively resident of Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter. Rain or shine, you’ll find boisterous buddies making a beeline for this convivial drinking hole. Inside, the interior is warm with dark wooden panelling and Guinness barrels, while the large leafy outdoor area makes for a great summertime hangout. Not to be bossy or anything, but you should most definitely order the Irish loaded fries if you know what’s good for you.

1 Bent StMon – Wed, 12pm – 7.30pmThurs, 12pm – 8.30pmFri – Sat, 12pm – 12.30amSun, 12pm – 8pm

The Porterhouse Irish Pub

Another mainstay in Sydney’s Irish pub scene is easily Porterhouse in Surry Hills. Firstly, let’s talk about their beef and Guinness pie which weighs in at a whopping 512 grams (top tip – visit on a Tuesday and it’ll only set you back 15 bucks). Other reasons to visit this cosy, brick-walled gem are infinite. Pints of Guinness are a sweet $7.50 all week long, there’s always a live sports game to catch on the array of tellies, and full Irish breakfasts are an all-day affair on the weekend.

233 Riley StMon – Fri, 11am – 11.30pmSat, 11am – 12amSun, 12pm – 10pm

Book a table at Porterhouse

The Trinity

Great things come in threes, which is clearly the case at The Trinity in Surry Hills. This cool and contemporary establishment has been bringing the community together over top grub, live entertainment and friendly hospitality since 1882. However, the Crown Street pub looks anything but a run-down 19th century joint. As part of extensive renovations in 2019, Trinity introduced Tilly May’s to the family – a rather elegant upstairs bar. While they may draw plenty of attention on Instagram feeds, The Trinity is still a down-to-earth Irish bar at heart where you can catch the latest live sports games, drink a Guinness in the shady outdoor courtyard and dive into golden and glistening beef & Guinness pot pies. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

505 Crown StMon – Sat, 10am – 12amSun, 12pm – 10pm

Fortune of War

We’re finishing our round up of Sydney’s best Irish pubs with the ultimate OG. Fortune of War was the city’s first pub to open in 1828 – and has simply never gone out of style. When it comes to Sydney’s top spots for a pint of Guinness, we declare Fortune of War the winner. They’ve had over 188 years to perfect it, after all. Australian and Irish cultures collide at the George Street heritage pub, and you’ll find Guinness and beef pie sitting on the same table as kangaroo sirloin.

For St Patrick’s Day, Fortune of War is going all out on the celebrations with 5 days worth of live music and cracking food specials, from colcannon croquettes to bangers and mash.

137 George StMon – Thurs, 9am – 11pmFri, 9am – 1amSat, 9am – 2amSun, 10am – 12am

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