Sydney's Best Small Bars


Where to have Tinder and first dates in Sydney
You've both swiped right and the banter has been good, so you have decided to meet your match in real life. Picking the right venue can smooth the nervous process of meeting your Tinder date for the first time. That's why we have listed the top small bars for your date. And to start, here are some tips for finding the right venue.

  • In your chats, be sure to ask what your Tinder date enjoys and where they like to go out (if you are a guy, be sure to ask this question in a general sense, don't ask her to decide where you should go on your first date).
  • Pick a convenient location that has more than one option in close proximity. There is nothing worse than trekking across Sydney to a single venue only to find it's closed, too crowded or has a private function that evening.
  • Choose a quiet place that is not too busy or noisy. Your best one-liners or stories won't seem so impressive if your Tinder date keeps asking you to repeat them. Plus long bar queues and lack of seating won't help either of you relax and get to know each other.
  • Try to avoid Friday and Saturday nights for Tinder or first dates as many venues can be crowded, this is especially important if you are meeting for the first time. If it has to be a Saturday, go a little earlier before everyone else heads out.
  • Always have a plan – you don't have to stick to it, but having an idea about the evening is the more decisive and relaxing option.
  • Consider visiting two venues as this can provide more energy and variety for the first date. Make sure they are within easy walking distance.
  • Picking a venue with casual bar snacks can also take the pressure of the first date dinner vibe that can keep things too rigid and formal.
  • When choosing a table, pick one where you can sit next to each other (like a couch or at the bar), or adjacent to each other (such as on the corner of a table). Tables where you sit at opposite ends can feel like a job interview or that there is a barrier between you. This also prevents you from having casual physical contact.
  • Each small bar listed on this site has a section called 'Date Tips'. Check them out before choosing the venue for your first date.

    Small bars for Tinder and first dates
  • The Long Goodbye
    A welcomed step away from zany themes to reveal a more sophisticated and fun bar, without the need for pretentiousness. This place was made for dates. If nothing happens after visiting here, it's never going to happen

  • Frankie's Pizza (City)
    Always lively and the subdued lighting can be quite flattering. It can, however, get a bit too noisy and crowded. The best place for your date is seated at the main bar. One thing to watch is that the only food is pizza, so make sure your date isn't on a low carb diet or has trouble with gluten/lactose.

  • Baxter Inn (City)
    If you both like whiskey and a lively venue, this has to be the place for your Tinder date. There are also plenty of nearby small bars that are quieter, so coming here as the second venue of the night can liven things up.

  • Papa Gede's Bar (City)
    This Kent Street hideaway has some odd furnishings but great cocktails and friendly atmosphere - maybe it's just what you need.

  • Uncle Ming's (City)
    Dark and generally not too noisy, with dumpling side dishes and drinks from all over Asia. Grab a couch for your first date rather than a standard table.

  • Mojo Record Bar (City)
    The atmosphere is relaxed, a little nostalgic and fun. It's rock and roll where you can go to chill.

  • Ching-a-lings (Surry Hills)
    The quintessential inner-city small bar decked out with basic brick, dim lighting, random art and graffitied toilets. A great place if your date likes things a little more edgy and urban. Head to the outdoor area at the rear if you are smokers, otherwise hit the couches under the main windows overlooking Oxford St.

  • Low 302 (Surry Hills)
    Decorated with a grand piano, smoky mirrors and red velvet curtains, Low 302 is your best bet for a Tinder date. Behind the bar, the talented staff know their trade, and can offer suggestions if you are having trouble choosing from the concise but interesting menu. There is Jazz on Sundays if you both share this interest, with the option of a bargain $20 roast for two.

  • Absinthe Salon (Surry Hills)
    An art-deco shrine that is dedicated to chasing the green fairy, aka drinking absinthe. Intimate and different, plus you can make bookings. The only downside is that tables are arranged so that you have to sit opposite each other.

  • The Golden Age (Surry Hills)
    Classically romantic venue with the option to catch a film after a few drinks. There are plenty of lively bars nearby for when you want to move on.

  • Shady Pines Saloon (Darlinghurst)
    Very noisy most nights but certainly an experience. An ideal second venue, particularly if you started at somewhere quieter like Low302.

  • Della Hyde
    There is no going past the fact this place has an intimate, low-key feel with the bonus of attentive staff and a good selection of food and cocktail options. Della Hyde was made for first dates.

  • Eau De Vie (Darlinghurst)
    Great decor, cocktails and plenty of couched seating make this a good first date venue. Watch out for Fridays when you will encounter larger after-work corporate groups. Perfect during the week.

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