Paddington is one of Sydney’s trendiest suburbs, packed with all kinds of bars from cosy, underground cocktail hideaways, to sprawling venues with trivia every Tuesday, DJs on Fridays and Saturdays, and traditional English roast lunches every Sunday.
To best experience Paddo nightlife, you might simply want to wander down the main drag of Oxford Street and along the narrow streets that spiderweb from it, following the sound of music and chatter. Or you might want to plant yourself in one pub only for a whole evening, observing the comings and goings of locals
Hospitality group Merivale owns a handful of venues in Paddington. The Paddington is a sprawling space that’s part-pub, part-restaurant, part-cocktail bar, with distinct different areas. Cocktail highlights include Overheard in Paddington, an aperitif made with salted grapefruit and prosecco, and a Jalapeno Margarita, made with mezcal and agave.
Charlie Parker’s is another Merivale venue, located in the dimly-lit basement of the hospitality group’s farm-to-table restaurant Fred’s. Here, you’ll find exposed sandstone, dark wooden features, and a concise food menu featuring oysters, focaccia and, chicken liver parfait that sits along the extensive drinks offering. Charlie Parker’s cocktails mostly all use fresh seasonal produce.
Paddo Inn has a streetside pub at the front and an Italian restaurant, Il Baretto, at its rear. The neighbourhood pub, which opened in 1814, is a popular spot to watch sports games and, given its proximity to Allianz Stadium in Moore Park, is particularly busy before and after games. The pub hosts live music every Sunday afternoon.
Oxford House Pool Bar
Oxford House is a hotel on Oxford Street, with a restaurant called OH Restaurant and two bars, Pool Bar and Busby’s. Pool Bar is set on a Palm Springs bar-style terrace with white umbrellas, teal lounges and a tucked-away pool at one end. Busby’s, which opens this November, is a wine and cocktail bar. Grab a margarita at Pool Bar or a glass of natural wine at Busby’s before dining at OH inside.
El Primo Sanchez
Tequila and cocktail bar and restaurant El Primo Sanchez opened earlier this year and not long after so did La Prima, a speakeasy behind an unassuming spice rack. In the main venue, you’ll find a dining and drinking experience inspired by those from Mexico City, while La Prima is similar to what you might find in the Mexican region of Oaxaca and only fits 10 sitting and 20 standing.
The Unicorn Hotel
The Unicorn Hotel on Oxford Street is one of the suburb’s most known neighbourhood pubs, open since the late 1880s, but in various iterations. The latest revamp was unveiled in 2015, with simple wooden furniture and dark green walls inside and the same art-deco façade outside. The pub has a $20 steak night on Mondays, $20 schnittys on Wednesdays, and $15 burgers and $10 margs on Thursdays.
10 William St
Tucked off the main strip and spread across two storeys in a converted terrace house, 10 William St has a distinct European feel with wines lining its walls, a general moody atmosphere, and a chalkboard with wines and specials listed. While it’s mostly a wine bar, it also serves a limited menu that changes seasonally but is mainly Italian-based in terms of ingredients and technique.
Latin American restaurant Tequila Mockingbird is tucked into a heritage-listed, converted terrace, built in 1898 and located in Five Ways. It has three separate dining spaces, an upstairs, a downstairs and a courtyard, each with its own atmosphere. Dine on dishes like ceviche tacos, pan de queso and market fish, washed down with namesake cocktail Tequila Mockingbird.