Last updated: August 2, 2023
A guide with the ten best pubs in The Rocks near Circular Quay, where you’ll find the tastiest craft beers and the most delicious pub meals.
Sydney’s historic district, The Rocks, is more than just a cobblestone trip down memory lane. Nestled amidst the heritage buildings and winding alleyways, you’ll find a tapestry of pubs that not only serve fantastic brews but also echo the city’s rich past.
From colonial charm to cutting-edge craft beer, these unique watering holes offer the perfect pit stop for both seasoned pub-goers and curious wanderers.
So, let’s lace up our walking shoes and wet our whistles as we embark on this pub crawl through The Rocks!
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Map of 10 best pubs in The Rocks:
Below is a map with a logical walking route along the following ten best pubs in The Rocks, all within walking distance from Circular Quay:
- Fortune of War
- Orient Hotel
- The Argyle
- Mercantile Hotel
- Harbour View Hotel
- The Hero of Waterloo
- The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
- The Glenmore Hotel
- The Australian Heritage Hotel
- Harts Pub
Keep reading for more details about each of these pubs.
1. Fortune of War
Let’s kick off this list of best pubs in The Rocks with Sydney’s oldest pub, the Fortune of War Hotel at 137 George Street in The Rocks.
This small and characteristic public house was originally built in 1828 by former convict Samuel Terry who later earned fame as the Botany Bay Rothschild.
Today, Fortune of War is a cosy, wood-accented pub with indoor and outdoor seating, offering bar and bistro food, plus regular live bands and solo acts.
It is conveniently located across the road from First Fleet Park and only a short stroll away from Circular Quay train station and ferries.
|137 George Street, The Rocks (map)
|Fortune of War
2. Orient Hotel
The Orient Hotel is a large 1840s public house with two floors and various outdoor seating arrangements.
On the ground floor, you will find the public bar, the beer garden at the back, and the alfresco area on Argyle Street with distant Harbour views.
Upstairs, on the first floor, is the popular dining area and terrace bar called Mrs Jones, named after one of the hotel’s earliest licensees. It is the perfect spot to wind back and relax with a delicious cocktail, cold beer, or pub meal.
|89 George Street, The Rocks (map)
3. The Argyle
The Argyle is a well-known nightlife and dining spot on Argyle Street in The Rocks. It is housed in one of Australia’s oldest buildings and offers a unique mix of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs across its multi-level premise.
This establishment includes different themed bars and offers a variety of entertainment options, from DJs to live music. It is known for its outdoor courtyard, comfortable lounge areas, and its blend of modern and historic architectural features.
The Argyle Stores, the name of the building The Argyle is housed in, is a heritage-listed former custom house and bond store built in the 19th century.
|18 Argyle Street, The Rocks (map)
4. Mercantile Hotel
The Mercantile Hotel is one of Sydney’s oldest Irish pubs. Opened in 1915, the Mercantile has grown into an iconic pub in The Rocks where guests are welcome for hearty meals, refreshing drinks, and Irish hospitality.
Located almost at the northern end of George Street and right next to the Harbour Bridge, the Mercantile Hotel is a welcoming destination to catch up with friends after work or enjoy a casual night of live music.
For genuine hospitality, quality pub food with Irish classics, and lots of space to sit and move around, head to the Mercantile in The Rocks.
|25 George Street, The Rocks (map)
5. Harbour View Hotel
Just around the corner from the Mercantile, on the other side of the bridge, is the Harbour View Hotel, an icon in the suburb of Dawes Point.
This lively 3-storey venue offers upscale indoor and outdoor pub dining and a rooftop cocktail bar with Harbour Bridge views.
The current Harbour View Hotel opened in 1922 and has since made a name for itself as one of Sydney’s oldest and most beloved pubs.
|18 Lower Fort Street, Dawes Point (map)
|Harbour View Hotel
6. The Hero of Waterloo
In operation since the 1840s, The Hero of Waterloo is a classic Sydney pub offering modern Australian food in a cosy setting with fireplaces, indoor and outdoor seating, and live bands.
A quality pub meal with a refreshing drink at the Hero of Waterloo is a unique Sydney pub experience, and the heritage landmark classification certainly helps with that.
And what makes the Hero of Waterloo even more unique is that they offer a tour of the cellar where visitors can experience rich stories with a dark side.
|81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point (map)
|The Hero of Waterloo
7. The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
Established in 1841, the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel is Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel. It’s also the home of Australia’s oldest pub brewery.
The Lord Nelson is housed in a large and recognisable sandstone block building at the northern end of Kent Street, between Observatory Hill Park and Barangaroo Reserve.
Their restaurant on the first floor is called “Upstairs” and offers modern Australian cuisine using the best local and seasonal produce, complemented by an award-winning wine list.
The bar on the ground level is where you go to enjoy one of their natural award-winning ales, with unique pub meals to go with it.
|19 Kent Street, The Rocks (map)
|The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel
8. The Glenmore Hotel
The Glenmore Hotel at 96 Cumberland Street has been an Aussie icon since 1921, offering a classic Sydney pub experience and a brilliant rooftop bar with great views of Sydney Harbour.
The public bar on the ground level has comfortable inside and outdoor seating, and on the middle level, you will find a classic 1920s Hollywood-inspired cocktail bar, perfect for intimate after-work drinks.
If you’re looking for a welcoming and trusted pub experience in The Rocks with great food, The Glenmore Hotel is never going to disappoint.
|96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks (map)
|The Glenmore Hotel
9. The Australian Heritage Hotel
Another iconic pub in The Rocks housed in a recognisable building is the Australian Heritage Hotel at 100 Cumberland Street.
The Australian offers more than 130 Australian craft beers, alongside traditional pub food with an Aussie twist, including delicious kangaroo pizzas and tasty gourmet crocodile.
The pub is home to several different spaces to dine and drink, including a popular rooftop setting with stunning views of The Rocks and beyond.
|100 Cumberland Street, The Rocks (map)
|The Australian Heritage Hotel
10. Harts Pub
If you’re looking for a casual, old-style pub that offers a range of local artisan beers plus gourmet burgers and classic pub meals, Harts Pub is where you need to go.
The pub is the home of Pickled Monkey Brewing Co and proudly serves independent Australian-owned beer through 12 rotating taps.
Harts Pub is housed in what used to be three private two-storey terraces named the “Hart’s Terraces”. These were built in 1905 and designed in a restrained Federation Arts and Crafts style.
After several years of being unoccupied, the terraces were used as the site office for the construction of the ANA Hotel Sydney (now the Shangri-La Hotel). They were then restored for use as a single building while preserving the original design.
|14 Essex Street, The Rocks (map)