Australian beer gardens are more than an outdoor area for drinking beer, they are an essential Aussie summer experience! So best to familiarize yourself with local culture and clink schooners, in the sun-dappled watering holes with friends or family – that’s the way to go!
From amazing live entertainment to the finest craft beers in an outdoor oasis means it will be hard for you to stay indoors and miss out on fun in the sun!
But how to choose when there are dozens of each? Luckily you can ignore the tourist dens and choose from newly opened or well cherished spots to spend time drinking in the open air. Here’s a list of some of our favourites.
- The Oaks Hotel
The giant Oak tree smack bang in the middle of the beer garden, has been a landmark of the North Shore for many generations of drinkers. This majestic tree which is over 70 years old offers much needed shade during the hot summer days. At night it is magically lit up with thousands of sparkling fairy lights spread around its trunk and branches to provide an endearing setting for group get togethers.
After spending time being at one with nature under a majestic constellation of lights, the upstairs bars, pool tables, and dance floor give you plenty of choice to extend the evening and have a great night out. In the winter months if you need warming up after being outside there is a fireplace in the Garden Bar to keep you toasty.
The bar is loaded with craft beers and local wines with more than 100 bottles and cans from a wide range of brewers. The Bar and Grill menu has contemporary favourites offering something for everyone.
2. The Rooftop
If you want drinks served on a rooftop garden that is more Californian style than inner city Sydney, The Rooftop at the top of the Quarryman’s Hotel is perfect for a hot sunny Australian evening.
Embracing Palm Springs as its inspiration, The Rooftop has a homely interior and a sunny verandah. From here you can peak over one of Pyrmont’s impressive wool store buildings to catch views over the CBD. Surrounded by rustic timbers, the pastel shades of dusty pink and clean lines are framed with cacti and succulents with a DJ booth on view from a porthole. The Rooftop has a mix of high and low tables or the choice of mid-century pieces to lounge on. The Old Persian rugs which are scattered give an irresistible setting to settle down on a lazy summer afternoon or at sunset.
Palm Springs vibes are incorporated in the drinks and cocktail list, including the must try, refreshing apple cider slush or Palma Rosa. There are an ever-changing range of craft beers linked to the Quarryman pub quota. The menu injects a Mexican/Californian influence into the modern Australian fare with a few American favourites thrown in. Think salmon poke with ginger and Mentsuyu sauce, hot buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce or chicken tacos with salsa fresca and chunky guacamole or for something more substantial grab the pickle fried chicken burger.
3. Golden Barley Hotel
The charming Golden Barley Hotel is an Art Deco masterpiece and its Beer garden is claimed to be the biggest and the best in Sydney’s Inner West. As you make your way through the interior this traditional Aussie style beer haven leads to a leafy expansive beer garden with long rustic tables, running the entire length of the pub, with lots of space for groups of various sizes.
The thick canopy of native trees offers shade, with a few glorious rays streaming through to give enough light and warmth, if you are settling there for the afternoon. This leafy green oasis has heating in the winter and umbrellas in the summer, to add to the leafy shade. At night the garden is stunningly lit all year round, to bring out the surrounding sky.
The bar has a good selection of local craft and old beer favourites, and in the Bistro you can find on the menu Australian preferences like a thick and juicy lemon herb schnitzel, tender short ribs as well as sticky chicken wings.
It is hard to believe that this family friendly pub with its diversity of clientele is lurking behind the busy streets of the Inner West.
4. The Courthouse Hotel
With one of the finest beer gardens in Sydney, The Courthouse Hotel is known by locals as ‘The Courty’ or ‘Newtown beach in Summer’. People young and old, go to enjoy this wonderfully sunny beer garden throughout most of the year and even in the middle of winter it can be packed wall to wall.
Outside is a wooden veranda which leads into a mixture of long wooden benches surrounded by frangipani trees, leafy trees tropical plants. There are also umbrellas to provide relief from the sun.
Showing no signs of aging this bona-fide Newtown institution is still powering forward with life. This old pub has a true mixture of clientele, pool tables, pinball machines and well-worn vinyl couches in the interior. The bar has a range of tradition and craft beers. The bistro menu is typically heavy on the carbs to soak up the beer. The Courty burger and the Schnitty being popular fillers as well as wedges and nachos. During the AFL season you can find jugs of Young Henry’s craft beer or cider, on nearly all the inside and outside tables!
The Courthouse Hotel is Dog friendly, so yet another excuse to drop into the beer garden when walking the dog!
5. The Newport
A little way out of the city, but if you are in the Northern suburbs this beer garden is an epic place and for any lover of good food, drinks and views in the sunshine!
Located on a ridge amongst the treetops. The Newport is well placed to look at the shimmering water vista of sleepy Pittwater. With space enough for large gatherings of friends and family the Pittwater establishment offers a Disneyland of picturesque beer gardens as well as the stunning water views.
The schooners of ice-cold beer and basking from a sunchair is idyllic. You can indulge from an enormous alfresco marketplace which offers a variety of freshly caught seafood to wood fired pizzas and burgers as well. Indulging in a moment to relax as the daylight decreases with a sunset view, is a huge drawcard for an evening visit.
6. The Beresford
The serene outdoor setting of the beer garden is a great place to enjoy a long lunch on a lazy summer afternoon. Reminiscent of a Japanese garden more than an Aussie pub, this pretty beer garden courtyard is surrounded by paper lanterns, maple trees and an overgrown green wall.
During the night enjoy a buzzing atmosphere with a jam-packed courtyard full of glamourous young people and post work crowds. This lush outdoor garden area is an ideal start to a weekend, with a turn up early and stay late rule. The signature house cocktails, wood fired pizzas and exceptional Italian bar food give a great venue for spending time with friends. Venturing upstairs means you can see where the evening takes you by having a groove to the band too!
7. Manly Greenhouse roof top
Opened in September 2018, this enriching addition at the top of a three storey venue is the perfect escape to while away your day.
With a backdrop of greenery, panoramic ocean views and the deep sound of rumbling waves, the Manly Greenhouse Rooftop is a very different beer garden.
This outside garden features an ultra-sophisticated cloud tree. To resemble a set of clouds, the tree’s leaves have been pruned into a cloud shape, leaving the stems exposed. This super lush setting also overlooks Manly’s signature pines for added garden effect.
The bar offers modern and classic cocktails, a large selection of Aussie wines, Italian wines and craft beers. The bar menu is designed to be enjoyed by the sea, including chili and salt school prawns, a selection of cured meats, and polenta bites with soured cream and chives.
Even on bad weather days this roof top garden has a retractable roof to keep you dry yet keep the space light and airy. There is even a live DJ to add to the fun.
8. The Ivanhoe Hotel
In the heart of The Corso in Manly, The Ivanhoe Hotel had a complete face lift in 2014 to make it an up to date Hamptons-chic style pub. The staghorn ferns lend themselves to give a refreshing take on a beach house rather than a beer garden. Near to the beach the breeze in this outdoor greenhouse, lets you know that you are still near the ocean too.
There are 16 indoor and outdoor all-weather spaces over three stores. The grand staircase leads to open air courtyards which are perfect for casual lunches and afternoon drinks in the sun. Food comes either from a bistro style menu burger bar, pizza bar, chicken, sides and sharing plates as well as a takeaway menu which includes fish and chips.
9. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Perched on the harbor this seaside beer garden is the place to have the ultimate Australian experience. This stylish beer garden is overflowing with music, sunshine, serene waters and happy people. With the sweeping views of the harbour and city, there are few locations more picturesque to spend a day. And just wait until you see the sunset, an experience you won’t ever forget!
Chic and classic maritime décor of the parasols give a signature blue and white colour to the wooden picnic tables. At weekends there is a live DJ and the rooftop bar is open until late at night. From the open kitchen you can choose from a wide variety of European and seafood dishes and outdoor island bars serve jugs of cocktails, Aperol sprits and beer.
10. The Henson
With a perfect blend of old and new The Henson has a true local flavour! Although from the outside it looks like a grungy local haunt, on entering the shining taps and range of craft beers as well as the historic sporting memorabilia revive your spirits.
The Henson’s rustic beer garden is dotted with herbs and citrus plants. There is a popular children’s area with a small climbing wall, ball pit, Big Buck Hunter and Pacman machines and a Mr Men mural. This family friendly pub has a large leafy beer garden giving parents plenty of space to regain sanity and relax.
The menu is full of pub classics and a kid’s menu which is more investitive than most. The food embraces American and Asian flavours in the food. The tacos and nibbles offered are ideal for an afternoon of grazing in a welcoming community atmosphere.
As one of the better dog friendly pubs, with doggie bowls always at your puppy ’s disposal as well as a friendly pat from pet lovers.