21 of the best places for cocktails in the Shire

By Carla Grossetti
27 November, 2020

From cocktail bars with ocean views to neighbourhood favourites, here are 21 of the best places to go for a cocktail in the Shire.

The Sutherland Shire was recently declared the second-most liveable metropolitan area in Australia. We'll drink to that! From Cony's in Cronulla, to Hazelhurst Café in Gymea, the cocktail craze in the Sutherland Shire has taken hold. While this is by no means the definitive list, here are 21 of the best places to toast the end of 2020.

Negronis @ Cony's Cronulla
The dazzling neon-lit sign at Cony's Cronulla signals a changing of the guard at Grind Espresso, the cult café that morphs into a sophisticated bar by night. With Chilean-born Constanza Henriquez at the helm, you can expect a vibe that is Andean-Australian: kick back on a vintage chair with a Negroni in one hand and empanada in the other.  instagram.com/conys.cronulla

Chilli coco margarita @ Johnny Hu Chinese Restaurant
When local power couple Joe Natale and Oriana de Luca let it be known they had taken over the Lucky Dragon, in Cronulla, local residents felt like they'd won the lottery. The pop-up (they have a 12-month lease) is the place to start a cocktail crawl that will become a swagger by the time you wind up at sister venues Giro Osteria (for a salted caramel espresso martini) and Alphabet St in Cronulla and now Sutherland (for an apple martini). johnnyhuchinese.com.au
It's Spritzmas time @ Fratelli Fresh
Merry Spritzmas. Work up an appetite on the escalators at Westfield Miranda before heading to Fratelli Fresh to sample from its selection of 25 new Spritz flavours available everyday this summer. Fizzy flavours include the classic Aperol to apricot and thyme, chilli and blood orange. fratellifresh.com.au

Cosmopolitan @ 1908 Cronulla
Housed in a former church turned community hall next to the 'old library', 1908 Cronulla boasts a see-and-be-seen beach-chic vibe. Converge at the long central bar before or after dinner and settle in for a few cosmopolitans. The restaurant features warm woods and a wall full of ivy-framed floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the street. 1908cronulla.com.au  

The Union Margarita @ Union Place Jannali
Intrepid boozehounds know all about Union Place in Jannali, which has been open for just over a year.  The modern cocktail revival is going strong here and we recommend you order the Union Margarita followed by a Snickers. If you visit the Union Place on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon, cancel your plans for the rest of the afternoon. The hotel is located opposite the train station in Jannali which means nobody has to be designated driver for $12 Cocktail Sundays. unionplacehotel.com.au

Margaritas @ El Camino Cantina
Can't decide which flavour margarita to go for? Order the tasting paddle, which includes four 220 ml serves for $30. Guests can choose which four flavours they would like on the tasting paddle: Christmas punch, peach, raspberry, grape, Pimm’s, pomegranate, cherry, mojito, watermelon and mint, rosé, grapefruit or orange & basil.  elcaminocantina.com.au

Espresso Martini @ Queen Margherita of Savoy
Regulars at Queen Margherita of Savoy might say they go there for the pizza, with its charred puffy crust and pure tomato-flavour. But apart from maintaining fidelity to the Neopolitan-style pizzas being pulled from the oven, those in the know always finish with an espresso martini or two, which nudges the experience into the stratosphere. qmos.com.au

Sunday Session Cocktail @ Next Door Cronulla
An offshoot of the popular Sealevel restaurant, Next Door Cronulla bubbles along with a happy din with a predominantly youthful crowd that includes handsome couples and young women wearing strappy sandals to show off toes that have had a recent shellacking. In summer, the signature Sunday Session is the go. nextdoorcronulla.com.au

Smoked Jalapeno Margarita @ Low & Lofty's
After pausing to look at the artwork and murals, and vibing on the pinball machine, stay for the classic Caribbean-inspired dishes and drinks that are the untucked versions of old favourites. The smoked jalapeno margarita will have you dreaming of St Bart's. Floating above Cronulla mall, the bar is like a lofty rum shack with no sand. Lowandloftys.com

Kir Royal @ Hazelhurst Cafe
Hazelhurst Café got a big jumpstart when James and Lisa Watson took the reins. From the furniture to the gardening tools and upturned paint tins, nearly everything in the café seems faithful to the garden and gallery near where it is housed. And the drinks? Prepared with precision. Take some blackberry liqueur, Champagne, add an orange twist and there you have the Kir Royal.  hazelhurstcafe.com

Velvet French @ The Pines
You'll often see crowds of impossibly beautiful people spilling out from this glam new bar and restaurant near to 'the Alley'. Here, the drinks list conjured up by beverage director Chris Hoy (ex-Rockpool) has a touch of cinematic flair. While we love the luxurious Velvet French, our real favourite is The Norfolk, which includes an artfully placed sprig plucked from the evergreen trees embroidered around parks in Cronulla. thepinescronulla.com.au/

Pearls of Wisdom @ Jensens at Kareela
Cross suburbs to Kareela for a Pearls of Wisdom, a concoction containing passionfruit, pineapple and cranberry served with 'popping pearls' and galvanised with vodka. Yes, it packs a powerful punch and it is also reflective of the changing of the seasons. It will transport you, with one sip, to a sunny summer's day. jensensrestaurant.com.au/

Fuzzy Melon @ The Blind Bear
The lads behind the bar at The Blind Bear are partial to face fuzz, so it's only right that they put their hirsute spin on a cocktail they like to call the Fuzzy Melon.  After describing the flavours you lean toward, they will muddle you up an exemplary drink made with premium artisan ingredients. Let's hope it's a Fuzzy Melon. theblindbear.com

The Princess Peach @ Henrys Cronulla
Henrys Cronulla is one of the restaurants that has helped to establish Cronulla's reputation as one of the best places to eat in Sydney. Grab a sidewalk table at henrys Cronulla for market-driven food and cocktails while observing a show of daily life in this hip 'hood. Plump for the Princess Peach, comprising peach-infused bourbon, mescal, peach and watermelon liqueur. henryscronulla.com.au/

Watermelon sour @ CC Babcoq
If you're new to the Sutherland Shire and are trying to figure out how to live like a local head to CC Babcoq.  Like sister venue HAM a block away, the eatery seems to be bathed in permanent luminous sunshine by day. As night falls, the uniform changes, delivering waves of sophisticated diners from different social stratas. The drink of choice in summer is the watermelon sour.  ccbabcoq.co

A line-up of spritzes @ Salt Meats Cheese
You don't have to be bronzed, coiffed and in your 20s to dine here, but it helps. You will be offered a dazzling array of cocktails at this airy restaurant and the suave waiters will be right on hand to guide you through their favourites. Try the wild berry spritz, the cucumber spritz, Aperol spritz, and elderflower spritz. Saltmeatscheese.com/cronulla

Tommy's Margarita @ Baker Lane
Baker Lane 2.0 has reopened its doors as a smaller drinking foxhole within Fusion Nightclub above Cronulla Plaza. Take inspiration from the list of new-era cocktails such as a Tommy's Margarita, muddled up using the best tequila reposado with the freshest seasonal ingredients. And yes the more zesty the better.  bakerlanecocktails.com

Quill @ Croydon Lane Wine + Tapas Bar
Croydon Lane Wine & Tapas Bar is one of Cronulla's original small wine bars. The pocket-sized hard-to-find hangout is tucked away in a corner of Cronulla Plaza and remains all the rage with those who have moved on from sweating it out under a strobe. Enjoy the thrill of the quill: butterfly pea-flower infused ink gin, elderflower and tonic. croydonlane.com

Strawberries and cream @ The Prince   
The Prince hits its stride in party season. The biggest question confronting diners is where to sit as it's a veritable wonderland of spaces defined and designed for all occasions. Time your next excursion to Kirrawee to coincide with happy hour between 6 pm to 8 pm every day. theprincehotel.com.au/

Lesson in lychee @ Highfield
With its range of plush seating, well-heeled clientele, and distant views of downtown Sydney, Highfield is a local standout. The multi-tiered space includes a spacious bistro, lush appealing indoor-outdoor space that gives you a big blast of fresh air and outlook that feels expansive. Shout your friends a lychee cocktail during happy hour (between 7 and 9 pm Thursday-Saturday; 3-6 pm on Sunday). highfieldcaringbah.com.au/

Pretty in Pink @ Northie’s 
It’s worth thumbing through the drinks list at Northie’s as it brims with choice.  The space is huge and a paradise for young professionals and tradies looking for love or at the very least a cold one. We recommend sitting in the cosy plant-filled terrace and ordering a few Pretty in Pinks, which, after a day well spent sunning yourself on the beach across the road should match both your colour and mood. northies.com.au/

Carla Grossetti is an award-winning local journalist. Follow her food and travel adventures at @food.travel.stories on Instagram. To read more of Carla's stories, visit www.carlagrossetti.com. 

Sutherland Shire Council acknowledges the Dharawal speaking people who are the Traditional Custodians of the land of Sutherland Shire.

Carla Grossetti

Carla Grossetti

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