Best Sunday Sessions in Sydney

12 Best Sunday Sessions In Sydney

Interested in discovering the best Sunday sessions in Sydney? If you want to have a great time on your day off, then this post is for you. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite places where you can enjoy live music and delicious food. So get ready for an unforgettable day!

Sunday may already be tainted with the knowledge that you can’t sleep the next day, but it doesn’t have to be such a drag. 

Nobody wants their time off to end, so to squeeze every last drop out of the ever-fleeting weekend, you need a Sunday sesh. And when it comes to finding an epic Sunday sesh, Sydney has got you covered. 

Forget about work tomorrow; get dolled up and spend your night adventuring around the city, from playing games in a vintage arcade to taking on Australia’s fiercest drag queens in an epic lip sync battle. 

Discover the best Sunday sessions happening in Sydney. There are many different types of events to choose from, and each one is curated for your enjoyment. So plan ahead with this list of events on our website! 

This blog post will provide a comprehensive list of all the best Sunday sessions happening in Sydney by providing you with a brief description about each event. So whether you’re looking for something relaxing like yoga or an intense workout session, there’s an event here that will suit your needs. 

There are so many great things going on during the weekend that it can be hard to know where to start when deciding what to do! So we’ve done the work for you and created an extensive guide detailing some of my favourite Sunday sessions across Sydney.

Check out our list of fun events and quirky venues here.

1. The Dolphin Wine Room

Venue definitions have gotten very squiggly. Old watering holes are now fine-dining restaurants that still have a public bar with beers on tap; restaurants have opened great bars inside their venues so that you can pop in for a drink, and bars are installing amazing kitchens so that you’ll stay for dinner. 

One of the best examples of these shifting boundaries was the redux Dolphin Hotel. Under the watchful eye of Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar) transformed from a league’n’lager pub into a casual fashion party with an Italian dining room and an exciting new wine bar all inside its walls.

The Dolphin Wine Room is a long, narrow slice of the venue and once you tuck yourself into one of the tables along the wall or up at the bar, prepare to go home with an empty wallet and packed to bursting with vinous delights. 

This is the kind of place that can turn your complete understanding of wine upside down by pouring you a Chilean skin-contact muscat that’s as savoury as an antipasto board.

Behind the bar is a wall of fridges with small doors so that it resembles a 16-day advent calendar, but instead of shit chocolate, you get a lot of crazy, interesting, fun and smashable wine. 

A glass of the Latta Vino pinot noir looks like mulberry suede and is juicy, fresh and dangerously easy to drink. And you should order the Lucky You French sauv blanc. 

It’s nothing like those acidic, citrusy New Zealand versions – this one is gentle but made with 20 per cent whole bunch grapes to give it just a little grip. The result is soft, elegant and effortless.

At the end of the bar is the salumi cabinet, and no visit is complete without a plate of sweet, nutty salami spiked with black pepper. 

The daily bruschetta on our visit is juicy ripe tomatoes that carry the flavour of the summer sun with them, mixed with an airy goat’s cheese and seaweed sprinkles for a savoury anchor. 

sydney the imperial hotel

2. The Imperial Hotel

The Imperial had first ordained a safe space for the LGBTQIA community when Dawn O’Donnell, the mother of gay Sydney, bought it in the ’80s. 

It has opened and shut with many different faces in the years since then, but at its heart, it has always been a place for queer identities to thrive on the sticky carpet of the much-loved pub.

So it follows that punters who have been sashaying into the Imperial since 1983 might be a little shell shocked at the latest edition: the pool table in the front bar is gone, the gilded Venus statue has been moved to the roof, and downstairs is clean as a whistle. 

But unlike so many refurbished institutions, the team here obviously cares for the building’s storied history.

The first level is like walking into Liberace’s first bachelor pad out of home – it’s opulent but with an accessible warmth and some comforting rough edges. 

The front bar gleams with posh touches, but any night of the week, you’re likely to find a drag queen sassing into a mic, with stilettos stomping among the schooners of New. 

Head through to the back, and you’ll find Priscilla’s, a pub restaurant with a veggie-heavy menu – there’s vegan ceviche made from coconut and cauliflower and broccoli “wings” with ranch dressing – though steaks and roast pork also feature.

Drag ‘n’ Dine happens every week from Wednesday to Sunday, so your zucchini noodles will be accompanied by one of Sydney’s star drag kings and queens: on Thursdays, your dinner comes with a side of the Aussie Pole Boys, Sydney’s award-winning all-male pole dancing troupe. 

As is customary, the front bar is also a fabulously daggy disco after-hours with Diana, Cher, Madonna, and Whitney on heavy rotation.

Cap off your week with a subterranean boogie in the basement bar. An attendant at the door will happily decant your drink into a plastic cup, heralding the debauched dancefloor you’re about to plunge into. Of course, it’s not that wild, but veterans will be pleased to know it still smells like a lot of people cleaning their VHS tapes. 

It’s got enough sweat, smudged lippy and grind about it to make it feel like it deserves to be underground. And the best part is the music. 

It’s loud and proud and so early ’00s awful that it’s intoxicating. The basement also hosts regular parties from some of Sydney’s best queer collectives: Honcho Disko, Heaps Gay and Girl Thing.

The team behind the Imperial’s latest facelift has done a brilliant job of it. It’s tasteful without being cold, sophisticated without scrimping on fun, and most importantly, it honours the past. Drag is at the forefront, queer culture is celebrated, and the music is Palms-level perfection. Dawn O’Donnell would be proud.

3. PS40

In the middle of 2019, PS40 co-owners Michael Chiem and Thor Bergquist nixed their cocktail list and formulated an entirely new menu inspired by their favourite festivals worldwide. They even gave that menu a name: Festivus. 

If that sounds a little silly to you, remember that no bar commits to reinvention with more conviction than PS40 and that any idea or theme is just an excuse to let these gifted imaginations run free.

Thanksgiving isn’t even a festival; it’s a holiday. It’s also what they’ve called their delicious riff on a Rye Whisky Sour, spiked with sweet potato and sage, because why the hell not? 

Hanami, named after Japan’s cherry blossom festival, takes a slightly more literal approach by drawing deep red and ripe perfume from clarified beetroot juice before layering it with dark rum, vermouth and orange bitters. It’s a winner.

The ride only gets wilder from there. Order the Harvest, and you’ll get a pearly solution of fermented rice served in a metal pan with a chunk of honeycomb, aromatised with peaches and Manzanilla sherry, so it takes on the distinct dairy-sweet tang of a cloudy sake. 

A similarly dizzying degree of complexity unravels in a Lunar New Year, where red beans and pandan leaf lead whisky and Cognac down a path of nutty twists and turns.

Creativity has been the watchword here since they switched on the lights in 2016, but that’s always had as much to do with the soft drinks as the hard ones. 

This also happens to be a soda factory we’re talking about. As non-alcoholic alternatives become a more significant part of the conversation, it’s important to remember that PS40’s been moving the needle from day one. 

The $15 soda flight that lets you sample each one of the housemade creations is one of the most exciting ways to exercise your palate in town. 

For these guys, waking up in the morning is another opportunity to continue redefining our perception of what a drink can be – and you don’t even need to be seated at the bar to appreciate their efforts. 

Walk into Newtown’s P&V Merchants, and you’ll find the aquavit they made in partnership with South Australia’s Never Never Distilling Co for sale on the shelf. Sit down to lunch at Single O in Surry Hills and order a bottle of Smoked Lemonade (made with the help of the mammoth smoker at LP’s Quality Meats) to go with your sanga. 

Heck, you can even pull up a pew at Old Mate’s Place to see what those clever cocktail specialists do with the sodas, which is a tick of approval if ever there was one.

PS40 has managed to leave an indelible stamp on this city’s drinking scene in a mere three years. 

So much so that demand has outweighed supply and forced them to move soda production off-site. That leaves a lot of space for new ideas to take flight on Skittle Lane.

4. The Beresford Hotel

Small bars leaving you claustrophobic? Time to show this big-scale oldie-but-goodie some love. Synonymous with weekend pregaming drinks and birthday get-togethers, Beresford‘s massive beer garden remains one of Sydney’s most reliable bar experiences. 

In a former life, it was a famous gay bar. The gentlemen of Darlinghurst are still well-represented in the crowd (especially on Sunday nights), alongside big groups of blokes guzzling the lager and ladies sipping on jugs of Pimms or mixes of vodka and apple juice (known as the Group Hug jug), St Germain and lychees (called the Secret Garden) or a bottle or two off the bar’s extensive wine list. 

Big, earthy-hued couches crowd the leafy outdoor area, completely closed off from the madness of nearby Taylor Square.

These guys do great Italian-inspired pub grub to help line stomachs for the big weekend push, so get stuck into the menu. 

There are pizza (seafood marinara or just a simple Margherita), a cured meat plate with pickled veggies, fresh pasta and a wagyu steak with polenta chips. 

But we say aim for a Wednesday night when you can get amongst their long table feast – an Italian shared table that is $30 if you are eating, or $45 if you’d like a glass of wine with your meal.

Warning: after a few here, it’s hard to leave – but that’s OK because hey presto, there’s a music venue and dancefloor at the venue too. 

Just climb the stairs to Upstairs Beresford on Friday and Saturday nights to keep the good times rolling. 

At the end of the weekend, the place gets packed out with handsome gentlemen who drop in for Beresford Sundays, a consistently popular drinking session that turns into a giant dance party located, yup, up the stairs once the sun has set and everybody’s feeling lose. 

You may feel dusty on Monday, but it will have been worth it.

sydney the unicorn hotel & restaurant

5. The Unicorn

What can stave off the ol’ Sunday scaries like nothing else? Smooth jazz, a golden chicken schnitzel, a pint and a round of pool. You can get all this at the Unicorn, with the Arthur Washington Quintet hitting the stage from 1 pm.

When the Unicorn changed hands in 2015, the new owners didn’t try too hard. The space isn’t plastered in white tiles or lined with Scandinavian furniture. Nor does it feature copper piping. There’s no cheffy bistro, reinterpreted cuisines or charcuterie board, either. It’s simply a pub, like the old The Unicorn once was, but better.

For this, you can thank the crew at Mary’s, Young Henrys’ Oscar McMahon, and Porteño‘s Elvis Abrahanowicz and Joe Valore.

The décor includes simple wooden furniture, little ornamentation and walls coloured with the kind of dark green that was once ubiquitous in Australian drinking holes. One of the issues they had following the renovation was the smell. It was too new, so they simply poured a beer onto the ground.

Head Chef Richard Learmonth (ex-Porteño, Pendolino) sticks to tradition. There are three kinds of steak; a schnitty, a weekly roast; a corner-store meat pie; and Jatz served with French-onion dip. The cheapest steak is the daily, a 200-gram pope’s eye cut, the “Fancy” steak will set you back more. 

You can also get a Mary’s burger with chips or a chunky vegetarian lasagne. Enjoy in the rowdy public bar (counter service) or in the quieter bistro (table service) managed by Max Walker (ex-MoVida Aqui).

Across the board, there’s Young Henrys and a list of old-school pub beers: XXXX, VB, Resch’s, Coopers. Perhaps the only thing that doesn’t fit the team’s nostalgic pub resurrection is the wine list – all Australian, natural heavy.

6. Bondi Bowling Club

The appeal of your local bowling club used to lie in cheap lager, giant schnitzels and something to do between pours. 

But 2015 is looking set to be the year that the bowlo got its groove back. Petersham Bowling Club has been quietly pouring excellent craft beers, hosting local gigs and even a spot of backyard cricket. 

Former Grounds of Alexandria chefs transformed North Sydney Bowling Club. The Bondi Bowling Club has received the fairy godmother treatment from the team behind Panama House and Corner House.

Bondi’s popularity means getting a big crew seated is no small undertaking, but there’s still plenty of space here. Outside, picnic tables shaded by crimson G.H Mumm umbrellas line the competition green. 

And the terrace behind the social green will be packed on a sunny afternoon, but inside it opens right up. The whole interior has been given vintage spruce up – there are clusters of wicker chairs with banana frond-print cushions and a short-statured forest’s worth of potted houseplants. 

The lights are kept low, the fans are high, and the gold-lettered leader boards are still mounted on the walls.

If you’re ordering the pie of the day, you’re going to need that extra elbow room – they are bloody enormous. Some pack the weighty nourishment required to make it through a British winter, and others manage to be a pastry pocket for all seasons. 

The mixed seafood pie here is the latter. But, first, an enamel dish arrives crowned with a sheet of golden pastry the size of an atlas, and underneath you’ll find all the bounty of the big blue. 

There are no fewer than six scallops, plus rosy striped prawns and tender pieces of blue eye cod in a gentle clear broth with capsicum, asparagus, broccoli and beans, creating a flavour profile reminiscent of spring. 

On average, they have it on the menu once a week, so time your visit wisely.

Prefer turf to surf? They do a perfect steak here. Their sirloin is medium-rare on the button, and we’re pleased as punch to find somewhere still offering Diane sauce with the side of mash and steamed greens. 

Make sure you check out the specials board before you order, too – on our visit, they have a 400g T-bone for a mere 50c more.

Like most things, cocktails do not taste good in bulk. So they have two on tap: an Aperol Spritz and a BB Summer Cup – a mix of rum, elderflower, Montenegro and ginger beer. 

You can give the Cup a whirl but what sounds refreshing ends up a super sweet glass of alcoholic post-mix. Most tables are stacked with jugs of beer, and we follow suit. 

There’s Carlton Draught and Reschs for the old-timers, Sydney Brewery’s Glamarama summer ale for locavores and Young Henrys, Batch, 4 Pines and Nomad for craft beer enthusiasts.

When you’re not up for rolling on the greens, head inside where there’s a pool table, AC/DC pinball, an original Big Buck Hunter Pro console and Street Fighter. 

They also host DJs on the terrace, and there’s a stage inside for live gigs – this club is more than a fair-weather friend.

The beach may be the jewel in Bondi’s sandy crown, but some of its best features are far enough from the shoreline that you’re expected to wear shoes, even pants. 

So don those loafers and bring your license (it’s a club, so you’ll need to sign in or join) and treat yourself to a monster pie at this bowlo redux that’s making everything old new again.

7. The Newport

We always knew that the grand reopening of the Newport Arms under the Merivale banner would be a huge deal. 

They had already flexed some serious renovator’s muscle when they took over an old coastal pub in Coogee and turned it into a legitimate scene, but that was nothing compared to the makeover that has occurred at the vast watering hole up on Sydney’s northernmost peninsula.

First things first: do you have a crisp white shirt, a designer dog/child and great hair? Excellent. Bring the lot, and you’ll fit right in on a Sunday. 

The new-look Newport (they’ve dropped the arms from the name) is absolutely rammed with a parade of the beautiful people downing a crisp, dry French rosé and stalking a mythical empty table beneath the striped umbrellas and giant cacti now dotted around the venue.

It’s a famously colossal venue, and that hasn’t changed. Still, it’s looking like several million bucks with the new juice cabana, the paddling pool for tiny humans, the raw bar dishing up Sydney rock oysters and buckets of prawns and the mesmerising twirl of the chickens, porchetta and a whole salmon in the rotisserie.

If you, too, are powerless to resist those golden, spinning, fragrant meats, you can order them at the Kiosk, which sits in front of the kids play area fitted out with ten pin bowling, ping pong tables and a mini basketball hoop. 

As you might expect, the wait times for food can back up, especially if you want a whole chicken, so it’s worth seeing what looks ready before you order. 

This way, you minimise your queuing time and maximise the time you spend eating tender, juicy slices of rolled roast pork encircled by the kind of crunchy, sticky crackling that will haunt your dreams. 

A small serve is two thick slices, and it comes with lettuce leaves, fresh mini bap rolls and herb and green chilli spiked coleslaw. Make it a picnic by sitting on the grassy knoll nearby, order up a long Island Iced Tea slushie on the side and live your best life. 

We’re not going to lie. Your first visit here can be a little overwhelming – there is a map in the menu, and you’ll probably need it. 

Our advice is to get in early (especially for seats with water views out over Pittwater), make a base camp and then send smaller acquisition parties to bring back refreshments. But, of course, getting food is a whole other balancing act; seafood and rotisserie you wait to collect, pizzas you get a buzzer, and for pub classics, it’s a separate counter again. 

Sharing is a good strategy if you want everyone eating together.

And there’s no denying that access to this chic coastal living, if only for an afternoon, is no small undertaking either. The L90 from Wynyard will take you just over an hour, but on the other hand, the parking competition is fierce – plus a $2.50 Opal fare on a Sunday is a lot cheaper than a parking ticket. 

If you’re already based on the Northern Beaches, there’s also a courtesy bus on weekends that oscillates between Manly, Warriewood, Dee Why, Mona Vale and Avalon.

Is Newport a big deal? Absolutely. It’s a beautifully designed social hub that is making all your Hamptons dreams come true. 

The food is delicious, the drinks are fun, and people are really, really into it. Sure, a large venue can get a little unwieldy, but they haven’t skimped on staff who are all working at top speed. If it means another round of beers in the sunshine until snack time, that’s a price we will happily pay.

sydney the oxford tavern

8. The Oxford Tavern

There may be a lot less jelly and nudity all-around at the Oxford Tavern, but the spirit of the former topless bar lingers in the poles built into the bar, and the Jelly Wrestle shared dessert of jelly, ice cream, waffles and sundae trimmings that you eat with gloved hands.

During the week, it’s tacos, burgers, hot dogs and mains with a side of chips, but our favourite time to visit is on weekends when the backyard smoker has been fired up in the leafy, undercover beer garden and you can order brisket, chicken, pulled pork and ribs by weight.

Make it a Sunday, and $10 Bloody Marys increase the excellent time factor by 12 points, though a midweek schooner of Monteith’s smooth cashew nut lager or a Kosciuszko pale ale doesn’t hurt either. 

On a Friday night, unwind with ten buck Margaritas until 8 pm, and then hang tight because the Friday night party here provides a boogie opportunity that’s lockout free.

The Oxford Tavern might have put its shirt back on, but it’s still a loose collar kind of joint where good times are the whole point.

9. The Carrington

It’d be a rare occurrence to find yourself at this Bourke Street pub not in the company of at least one floof, pupper or doggo. 

The Carrington doesn’t just have a dog-friendly policy; they actively encourage you to pop in even if you’ve only got your pet for the company – you only need six bucks to buy a dog bowl of meat and veg or canine-suitable ‘beef tartare’. 

If you don’t have a dog but do have a child under 12, there’s the option of a ten-dollar cheeseburger or schnitzel, and for fully grown humans after a bargain, they rock a $12 lunch menu Monday through Friday.

But why limit yourself to an everyday rump when you can graduate to dining classes with their steak menu that has a tenderloin steak Diane and a petite filet mignon? 

They also have classics up on a specials board that rotates with the seasons. If there is a pie, order it. We know some people have strong feelings about pot pies versus pies entirely encased in pastry, but this is a one-pot winter warmer that’s leading the pack.

The tap beer list isn’t anything to write home about – this is an easy refreshment line-up of brews like James Squire One Fifty Lashes pale ale, Super Dry, Little Creatures and 5 Seeds cider, plus Rocks Brewing Co’s lager and Stone and Wood’s sessionable Pacific ale for something a little bit fruitier. Want a beer that’s letting the hops off the leash? 

In the fridges are Feral’s Hop Hog and Karma Citra brews.

Surry Hills has many pubs on the roster, so it pays to be kind to your locals, which is why they have locals happy hour, badge draw and a Monday special that costs residents of 2010 only $15 for a bowl of pasta and a glass of pinot. 

Add that to regular sports screenings for footy fans and an Instagram account with a dog game that’s on point, and you have a pub that wants to make a routine out of you and your four-legged best friend.  

10. The Royal Bondi

Merivale now owns this long-standing Bondi Rd corner pub, The Royal Bondi. But, rather than gutting and reducing it entirely, they’ve kept some of the venue’s scuzzy charm that’s kept locals returning to the pub since it first opened way back in 1907. 

To this end, there’s retro maroon patterned carpets, big red communal pool tables and band posters splayed across the walls. 

The Merivale edge comes into effect via the drinks – the list has been refreshed, complete with Daiquiris, Boilermakers, bottled Negronis and Espresso Martinis on tap. 

There’s even a vending machine packed out with cold tins. Wine wise, they are focusing on Australian producers doing rosés and low intervention wines. 

For now, it’s just drinks on offer, but come summer, they’ll be hosting a pop-up restaurant out in the courtyard.

sydney the lord dudley

11. The Lord Dudley

There’s no shortage of pubs in Paddington and Woollahra, but few possess the old-world charms of Lord Dudley

This vast, red-brick hotel looks more like a British country manor than an Inner East establishment, and the vibe is similarly relaxed. Out on Quarry Street, locals and their faithful hounds get a solid lean on with a pint of Old Speckled Hen in hand.

If it’s a bit nippy for out boozing, it’s time to battle for seats as close to the proper wood fire as you can get. This is also the spot to play Scrabble, Jenga, and Connect 4 while you wait for one of their pies that take 25 minutes to bake to a golden brown. 

If a serve of juicy, slow-cooked beef in a pastry hat doesn’t move you, go for the classics – steak and chips, burgers, bangers and mash.

For the sake of this review, the cozy, wood-panelled room that we will call the living room is great for settling into for the long haul, but we’re also big fans of claiming a bar stool and bending the elbow with a Guinness. 

This may look like an old-fashioned watering hole inspired by the best of the Motherland, but its attitude to beer embraces the new with half a dozen craft taps offering Stone and Wood, Badlands, Murray’s, Young Henrys, Lord Nelson and Yulli’s brews.

Downstairs, the restaurant is still strung with hanging plants, and the private dining room’s most outstanding feature is unequivocally the fish tank built into the wall, and upon the first floor, it’s like the land of lost, comfy couches. 

But for convivial good times, sink some beers beneath the twinkle of the beer mugs hanging from the bar and keep your other hand busy with salty snacks kept in swing-top jars behind the counter.

There’s nothing new or particularly shiny about the Dudley. Instead, it boasts the more gentle gleam of light hitting novelty tankards and framed Guinness cartoons. The dark timber bar is sturdy and reassuring; the carpet is forgiving of shaky hands, there’s plenty of dark corners for canoodling or plotting, and the soundtrack can go from the Spice Girls to Paul Simon in a single bound. 

How could anyone not have a soft spot for this old boozer?

12. Rocker

Bondi is a suburb of two budgetary extremes. 

There are the backpackers who fill dorm rooms like sardines and know where every happy hour in 2026 is located, and then there are the people whose names are on the leases, and they are the people that this new North Bondi eatery is aimed at. 

Rocker is a little bit fancy. Not Sean’s Panorama penny, but you’d wear proper shoes to come here for dinner. 

It would also make a great date spot because you can roll up to the bar, perch around the huge communal table and order from their short but compelling list of wines by the glass. 

A fresh and fruity Canberran Fiano from Sassafras is a smashable pour; the Rieslingfreak is always a good idea. If you like a bit of skin with some riper tropical vibes, go to the Smokestack Lightning sauv blanc from the Yarra.  

The surprising thing about the food here is how rich it is. In a suburb famous for their low carb, smoothie bowl fanatics, we’re surprised at the liberal hand on the butter, oil and cream. 

Even an innocent order of grains and greens provides no reprieve – the kale, black rice, lentils, quinoa, pistachios, and currants are sitting in a knuckle’s worth of olive oil.

Given head chef Stuart Toon has clocked a decade in the Jamie Oliver empire, it’s hardly surprising that we can’t stop thinking about the al dente orecchiette, dressed to impress in a buttery veil of capers, fresh red chilli, beach bananas and tender, meaty clams. 

The rich, Italian seaside flavours are almost precisely mirrored in the John Dory dish, so choosing one or the other – both is probably too much of a good thing.

Maybe their love of indulgent snacks is a reaction to Bondi’s clean-eating reputation. The Welsh rarebit lives in the crosshairs of arancini and inside-out toast, with a yeasty ale-infused cheese filling inside a crumbed shell. 

They’re also frying up chicken skins until they’re firm enough to scoop through the loose chicken liver parfait. The sweet plum in the bowl base is a win, but the skins themselves would have been better served warm. 

Craving crunchy fried textures? The school prawns are all the better for being served simply with a squeeze of lemon instead of aioli.

Service is warm, and if their excitement at people ordering their personal favourite items is anything less than genuine, you can’t tell. It really is a lovely spot for a nicer-than-average mid-week dinner. 

The room ticks all the modern design boxes: fresh timber, copper planters and indoor plants. And there are outdoor tables with vintage-style beach umbrellas to keep the sun off if you prefer to drop by for coffee and a bacon butty on white bread first thing. 

But for the money, good wine and a plate of pasta is the winning trick for Rocker.

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