Shady Pines Saloon Darlinghurst – Sydney Small Bars

The first time you visit Shady Pines Saloon, you’re likely loop around the block looking for a hint, or a sign, give up, then ask Pocket Bar for directions. The second time around is, of course, much simpler even if you need to queue outside in the rain, huddled under the friendly bouncer’s umbrella.

Shady Pines Saloon
Shady Pines Saloon

Like many Sydney small bars, Shady Pines, which opened in 2010, has no signage at the front. Its façade is disguised by a plain, white curtain that the eye dismisses.

Step inside, and your senses are assailed as you’re transported to another world. The atmosphere is pumping with loud and raucous music, and with the odd persons dancing. Among the old American bar feel, taxidermied deers and carved wooden American Indians, you’d expect a fight to break out and the small round tables and chairs to clear. But this isn’t the Wild West, and all the action happens at the bar.

Shady Pines Saloon
Shady Pines Drinks Menu

The drinks menu offers an impressive long list of beers and wine. There are only six cocktails listed but you can chat to the bartenders about your preferences.

Shady Pines Saloon
(L to R) Mint Julep – El Diablo – Gin and Tonic

The Mint Julep, served in a pewter tankard, is made with Bourbon, mint, sugar and crushed ice – a well-balanced drink that kicks hard. El Diablo has tequila, lime, ginger beer and cassis. It delivers a good tequila kick that isn’t dominated by either the lime or ginger beer.

Shady Pines Saloon

Sitting by the bar has its perks if you enjoy watching drinks being poured. The bartenders are very welcoming, even when the energy behind the bar is at a frantic pace. The vibe is very friendly and you can easily strike conversations with other patrons.

Shady Pines Saloon

With the American-style bar, expect to see a lot of whiskey being poured such as the dry and spicy Jim Beam Rye Whiskey.

Shady Pines Saloon

Like the Baxter Inn, the latest CBD venture from its owners, Shady Pines has a good range of whisky and Bourbon. Ask for the Ardbeg Alligator, a smoky and heavily peated single malt which comes with a side serve of alligator – if your bartender spots your camera.

Shady Pines Saloon
Ardbeg Alligator

Shady Pines Saloon has been a Sydney favourite since it opened its doors less than a year ago. On a Sunday night, you could even think this is the bar that bartenders go to on their night off. The ambience is buzzy and loud. This is not the bar for intimate conversations if that’s what you’re after. With a chatty crowd, friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, this is a fun experience you will want to repeat often.

Shady Pines Saloon

Shady Pines Saloon is featured in Sydney’s top whisky bars, Sydney’s Best Winter Bars and Sydney’s Best Bourbon Bars.

Shady Pines Saloon
256 Crown St
(entrance in Kells Lane)
Darlinghurst NSW 2010


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.