Looking for the best English pubs in Sydney to remind you of home? There’s nothing like spending the weekend at a cosy pub which we know all British expats miss terribly. But where can you find a decent pub in Sydney which isn’t covered in a million TV screens and full pokie machines? We know a classic Australian Hotel just doesn’t compare, but you’ll be pleased to know we’ve searched high and low to bring you this guide.
Sydney has some amazing British pubs serving beer and cask ales in pint glasses and great food including the all important Sunday roast. We’ve put together a list of what we consider to be the best English pubs in Sydney so you can get your fill of that cosy pub feeling.
Be honest, when you first arrive in Sydney, the idea of a Hotel being a pub is beyond confusing. The reason they are called hotels is because until the late 1980’s, a public house had to offer accomodation in order to get their liquor license. Hence why Australia now has an endless amount of ‘hotels’ without any rooms.
Why do we all miss British pubs?
What the British do really well is an old school pub with history, fireplaces, world memorabilia and carpets. And let’s not forget about flowers! We love seeing pubs covered in flowers during Spring and Summer and the fact that pub owners really make the effort with making it cosy.
There is a special cosy feeling being in a British pub with a pint of larger and a scotch egg, playing a board game or having a round on the pool table. From the higher end Gastro pub to a classic old school pub, one thing guaranteed is the sense of community that it brings.
It always blows my mind how many friends I can make in just one evening at the pub in England. It’s the place everyone congregates every night or at least every weekend. Maybe the pubs in Sydney aren’t as fun as they are back home, but we’ve found some that might just cure your homesickness for now.
1. Seek into a deep sofa in The Duke of Clarence, CBD
The Duke of Clarence owners wanted to create an authentic 18th-century English tavern in Sydney, so they sourced and shipped over original furnishings and floorboards from the UK, dating over 100 years. It is like stepping into an old classic pub in London, with fireplaces, floor to ceiling bookcases and deep sofas. The whole menu is British pub-style and you can drink British beer, gin, mulled wine and scotch.
The location is fantastic, so if you’re on a Sydney CBD pub crawl, you can easily pop in here as it’s located next door to some of the most popular bars in the city.
The Lord Dudley is absolutely one of the best British pubs in Sydney. As soon as you step in, you get that London pub vibe, from the open fireplace to the carpeted floors and comfy seats. If we can recommend two of our personal best English pubs in Sydney, it’s the Duke of Clarence and The Lord Dudley.
Their pints are served in an old school dimple beer mug, pair a speckled hen with their delicious scotch egg and stand outside on the street with the locals and you will feel like you have been transported back to London. With a large selection of board games, you will be sure to have a perfect British evening at The Lord Dudley.
3. Get old boozer vibes at The Cricketers arms, Surry Hills
The Cricketers Arms in Surry Hills is that classic English pub feel, no gastro fancy thrills, just a down to earth old boozer with a loyal following as one of the best pubs in Sydney. Grab a seat at their bar or by the fireplace and order from their selection of tap beers, or sit upstairs in their bistro for classic pub food or a Sunday roast. Check out their live music events or spend the night at the pool tables. Let’s not forget the best part, dogs are welcome!
4. Eat, drink and see a play at The Old Fitzroy, Woolloomooloo
The front bar at The Old Fitzroy is exactly like stepping into British pubs, old carpet, exposed brick, bar stools and cask ales on tap or gin cocktails. Taste a menu from an award winning chef in the restaurant with some of the best pub food mains like steak frittes and pork chop with truffle, yum! Book a show at their theatre upstairs and you will be in for an awesome night, no wonder it’s one of the best pubs in Sydney!
5. Taste award winning ales at The Lord Nelson, The Rocks
The Lord Nelson is Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, established in 1841 and has kept its original charm from the floorboards to the old brick walls and fireplaces. They have their own brewery and serve some incredible award winning ales and craft beers on their ground floor and serve pub food classics like a Ploughmans lunch. It’s a classic favourite amongst locals and expats making it one of the best pubs in the city.
6. Get your gastro pub fix at The Glebe Hotel, Chesterfields
If a charming Gastro pub is what you are missing from home then The Glebe Hotel is for you. The menu is a delicious pub food affair serving amazing ‘counter meals’ like Cumberland sausage and beef and Guinness pie. Check out their whats on page for live music, pub trivia and weekly food specials.
7. Take a cellar tour at The Hero of Waterloo, The Rocks
For over 170 years, The Hero of Waterloo has been a place expats and locals can go to drink beer and listen to live music. If that isn’t already a good reason to visit, then be sure to check out their historic cellar and ghost tours with a complimentary drink. The haunted cellar has a rich history and the staff are ready to tell you it’s stories!
8. Get a Beer Passport at The Australian Hotel, The Rocks
The Australian Hotel has a steep history in The Rocks and is one of the oldest pubs in Sydney. The quirky interior with original floorboards, Persian rugs, wine cabinets and gallery walls gives it a British pub feel. They have a wine emporium, alcovers and a Ladies Parlour, serving cocktails.
The pub supports 100% Australian owned beer and you can get yourself a beer passport to try their entire huge selection of craft beer, a British vibe with an Aussie taste.
9. Drink in Sydney’s oldest pub at The Fortune of War, The Rocks
The undisputed oldest pub in Sydney, The Fortune of War was built by former British convict Samuel Terry. Stepping into the front bar is like walking into a classic old boozer, carpets, live music and the bar at centre stage serving a huge selection of beers. You can peruse their historic pictures and even a list of convicts sent over from England and see if you spot your surname in the list.
10. Drink at North Sydney’s oldest pub at Rag & Famish
Owned by former British soldier Charles Bullivant, The Rag & Famish was the first pub on the North Shore and originally even had a thatched roof. Even though the interior has been redesigned, the exterior has a lot of the original nineteenth century charm. Grab a pie and a pint and head to their beer garden or join them for their weekly pub trivia.
11. Drink with British flair at The London Hotel, Paddington
The owners of The London Hotel aim to do everything with a British flair and they really hit the London bougie gastropub theme on the head! Join them for their steak night and you won’t be disappointed. Sports fans can feel at home with their live sport weekly screenings.
12. Tick off Australia’s oldest pub at Macquarie Arms, Hawkesbury
Can you really live in a country and not visit the oldest pub? The Macquarie Arms was the first pub built in Australia by the order of British Governor Macquarie who wanted an Inn and Public bar in the historic village of Windsor. Check out their history inside and sit by the original fireplace and enjoy a beer or two. Their bistro is open on weekends and serves classic pub food like surf & turf, yum!
13. Stay at the historic sandstone Settlers Inn, Wisemans Ferry
Walking through the tiny village of St. Albans and stopping at this sandstone Inn really gives you British countryside vibes. The Settlers Arms was built as a stopover for stagecoaches travelling from Sydney to Newcastle in the eighteenth century and has not changed much since. With the cobblestone flooring, open wood fires and candles, you will get all your Country English pub feels. They even have a huge beer garden, accomodation and bistro serving delicious hearty pub meals.
14. Sit at a carved cedar bar at The Surveyor General, Berrima
The Surveyor General is the oldest continually licensed Inn in Australia and it is like stepping into a bit of history. Think stone walls, open fireplaces, timber ceilings and an 80 year old carved cedar bar, grab a bag of crisps and a pint of beer with the locals. It’s one of the best English pubs in Sydney, even the town will make you feel like you’re walking around a little English village. Come for sunset drinks like we did and you’ll feel so nostalgic here in a good way.
Whether you lounge out on one of their chesterfield sofas or play on the pool tables, you will be sure to feel at home in The Harp & Fiddle. I enjoyed a pint of stout here and the pies look like an incredible English pub standard. If you visit in winter, they do mulled wine and it feel so cosy to escape the cold in here.
Have we missed your favourite pubs? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out our guide for the Best Sunday Roast in Sydney!
Best English Pubs in Sydney
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This article is written by Londoner In Sydney team member, Amii Freeman.
Hi I’m Amii! I’m from Darlington in the North East of England. I moved from London to Sydney in 2019 for a slower pace and to be by the coast, without having to give up my love of cities. My passion is in film and TV, I screen-write and act as much as I can. In my spare time I love trying new food, exploring new places, kayaking, hiking and cycling.Follow me on Instagram @amiifreeman!