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The Wild Rover, Surry Hills

Author: Posted on: April 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The Wild Rover may go down in the history of the Sydney small bar scene as taking the longest time to open, but after nine months, the baby is delivered… and how.

Enter through the inconspicuous green door and you’ll find a vibrant drinking den with exposed bricks, jungle animals on green wallpaper peering from behind the bar and Irish folk songs that give the new bar an inviting and classy Irish pub vibe.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
The Wild Rover, Surry Hills

The two-level venue has a capacity for 120 persons. Downstairs, cosy booths sit alongside small tables and chairs. The best seats in the house are along the copper top bar with handbag hooks and easy to hop on/off bar stools. Upstairs, you’ll find another bar with banquette seating and a space with its own vibe.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills

Owners Warren Burns and James Bradey (also of Grandma’s Bar) with manager Kim McDiarmid have attracted a team of experienced bartenders to their latest venue with a focus on accessibility and good times.

The drinks menu is designed to take the guess work out of choosing a beverage. Feel like something light, medium or heavy? You’ll find them grouped under these headings.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
The Bar

The range of whisk(e)y leans towards Irish whiskey with some top shelf brands and expressions such as Bushmills 21 yo Madeira Finish and Connemara 12 yo. There’s also a sizeable collection of whiskies from Scotland, Australia, Japan and the USA.

Almost 40 wines feature on the list with craft beers on the old train destination board menus. On tap you’ll find Guinness, Vale Ale and cider served in silver tankards.


Cocktails also follow the three strength listings, with some very tempting Bloody Mary’s made with housemade tomato consommé with garlic and horseradish, each increasing in intensity.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
L-R: Weeski, Hell;s Kitchen Martini

Hell’s Kitchen Martini ($16) gives a nod to the former working class Manhattan neighbourhood that was once home to Irish mobsters.  Made of Bushmills Irish Whiskey with a touch of citrus, fresh peach and homemade Manhattan syrup, the cocktail has a dominant peach flavour at first which settles into more balanced flavours with an easy drinking style.

If you like to taste the base spirit, try the Weeski ($16), a playful interpretation of what whiskey would taste like if it were French. This is a superb drink, perfectly balanced and made with Irish whiskey, Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur with orange bitters.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
Old train destination board

If you’re feeling peckish, choose from pasties, homemade sausage rolls ($7) or freshly-shucked oysters ($18 for 6, $32 for 12) from a supplier who provides the best of what is available on the day.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
Gibbo on the Rocks with Pambula Oysters

The oysters are served in their own liquor and are a hit with Gibbo on the Rocks ($16), a sensational savoury cocktail made with Tanqueray Gin, Pedro Ximenez sherry and brine, served over hand-chipped ice with a pickle. The Gibbo delivers a good kick while retaining the flavour of the base spirit.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
Upstairs Bar

There’s much to like at The Wild Rover. From the warm welcome on arrival to the highly knowledgeable team of bartenders, the experience is one that will bring you back and tempt you on a Sunday afternoon with the range of Bloody Mary’s. The accessible bar is without pomp and invites you to linger over more drinks with fiends. And should you find yourself there at closing time, you’ll hear The Wild Rover by the Dubliners, an Irish song about a man who spent his money on whiskey and wine.

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills
Upstairs seating

The Wild Rover is finally here, bringing craic and good times to the Sydney bar scene.

The Wild Rover is featured in Sydney’s top whisky bars, Sydney’s Best Winter Bars.

The Wild Rover
75 Campbell Street
Surry Hills 2010
Monday to Saturday: 4pm to midnight
Sunday: 12 pm to 10 pm

The Wild Rover on Urbanspoon


Corinne is the founder and editor of Gourmantic. An avid scribe, she has taken pen to paper since the age of five. Her repertoire includes long works of fiction, short stories and travelogues.

She is a winner of the GT travel writing competition, has judged the Australasian Whisky Awards for 2013 and several cocktail competitions. She is also named in the Australian Bartender Most Influential List for 2013.

This article is posted on Gourmantic.com. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2014

The Wild Rover, Surry Hills was last modified: August 1st, 2014 by Corinne

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16 Comments to “The Wild Rover, Surry Hills”

  1. [...] Walters from Grandma’s mixed a healthy 1976 Martini with beetroot juice, Jonothan Carr from the Wild Rover had the Polynesian Punch, and Harriet Leigh from the Hazy Rose was serving up DIY Bloody Mary’s [...]

  2. [...] Jones (Cherry Bar), Michael Chiem (Black by Ezard), Marcellus Heleta (Pocket Bar), Jonothan Carr (The Wild Rover), Luke Hanzlicek (Victoria Room), Natalie Ng (Mojo), Luke Redington (Eau de Vie), Stuart Morrow [...]

  3. [...] you’re in need of sustenance after indulging in a few drinks at the Wild Rover, Madame Nhu in Surry Hills hits the right [...]

  4. [...] whiskey and good craic come together at The Wild Rover in Surry Hills. The recently-opened bar has a “whisky bible” with over 80 whiskies from [...]

  5. [...] The Wild Rover serves three variations on the Bloody Mary. The Consommé Mary may look misleading as a clear cocktail but the flavours are all there. Made with vodka and a tomato consommé, the the tomatoes along with other ingredients are put in a muslin cloth to create the clear liquid. As an entry-level Bloody Mary, it has the flavour of tomato, garlic and horseradish but comes with a gentle kick. It is delicious nonetheless. Suitable for drinking any time of the day or for those with a mild hangover. [...]

  6. […] Rook took out the first prize with Michael Nouri from Vasco in second place and Jonathon Carr from The Wild Rover in the third spot. Other contestants were Evan Brown from Embers Bar, Aaron Edmonds ex Rabbit Hole […]

  7. […] at the Roosevelt Bar and Diner, Malts of Scotland at Eau de Vie Bar and Miss Peaches Julep Night. The Wild Rover hold a popular Get Shucked event with an attempt at a Guinness World Record for most oysters […]

  8. […] for the title over two consecutive days with Luke Redington of Hello Sailor (NSW), Mike Tomasic of The Wild Rover (NSW), Evan Stanley of Black Pearl (VIC), Sean Chow of the Gresham (QLD), Dave Meadows of Eden bar […]

  9. […] statues. The fit out is mainly the work of owners Lara Dignam (ex Toko, Red Lantern), Joshua Ng (The Wild Rover) and Michael Dhinse (Grandma’s & Grasshopper) who used recycled materials such as old church […]

  10. […] whisky masterclass with Ian MacMillan was held on Monday 17 February 2014 at The Wild Rover in Surry […]

  11. […] Campbell Corner Whisk(e)y Co-operative (CCWC) launched last week at The Wild Rover with a masterclass on GlenDronach Distillery presented by visiting international guest Douglas […]

  12. […] Manager, Mike Tomasic, formerly of Zeta Bar and The Wild Rover and recent winner of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge has devised a new cocktail list in […]

  13. […] they taught me a lot. Whilst having bucket loads of fun! I’ve worked at Goldfish, 360 Bar, LoFi, The Wild Rover and then some. But my most prized possession would have to be my current employer, Zeta Bar. These […]

  14. […] Hot Talent: Jonothan Carr of The Wild Rover […]

  15. […] nothing like getting your craic on at this popular Sydney bar. The Wild Rover makes good times happen every day whether it’s Irish whiskey, craft beer or freshly-shucked […]

  16. […] The Wild Rover in Surry Hills has made its own brew and it’s now available on tap. Rover Brew RPA is a collaboration between the Three Rovers – Mikey Lowe, Mitch Oldfield and Cian Stafford – and Batch Brewing Company in Marrickville. The RPA is their first beer and you can expect to see more collaborative brews in the future. […]

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