Does the hour call for cocktails? The genuinely produce-driven list at Bulletin Place (Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Pl, Sydney), the spritzes made with finesse at This Must Be The Place (239 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, 02 9331 8063), and rockin' New Orleans-vibes at Newtown's Earl's Juke Joint (407 King St, Newtown) are a fine place to start.
For one of Sydney's best whisky collections look no further than The Baxter Inn (Basement, 152-156 Clarence St, Sydney), but if Cognac and a hootenanny is more your thing, head to Ramblin' Rascal Tavern (Basement, 60 Park St, Sydney; enter via Elizabeth St).
Opt for a night of rum exploration at The Lobo Plantation (Basement, 209 Clarence St, Sydney, 0437 233 009) or expand your rye knowledge over at sister bar Kittyhawk (16 Phillip La, Sydney, 0437 233 009).
For something a little different, try the full range of spirits distilled on site at Archie Rose (85 Dunning Ave, Rosebury, 02 8458 2300), or the rollicking selection of in-house sodas and tonics at PS40 (2/40 King St, Sydney). Revellers seeking a night of tequila and mezcal should venture to Tio's Cerveceria (4-14 Foster St, Surry Hills).
Those who like their drinks with a side of pizza and live music flock to rock 'n' roll hotspot, Frankie's Pizza (50 Hunter St, Sydney). Aperitifs and good snacks are go at Dead Ringer (413 Bourke St, Surry Hills, 02 9331 3560), or hunt out the gin on tap at The Barber Shop (89 York St, Sydney, 02 9299 9699). For more extensive gin journeys, you'll be in good hands at Moya's Juniper Lounge (101 Regent St, Redfern).
There's bourbon with a side of taxidermy at Shady Pines Saloon (4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst), while at the equally dimly lit, Bar Normandy (inside Restaurant Hubert, 15 Bigh St, Sydney, 02 9232 0881) you'll find bottled cocktails alongside fine French fare. Around the corner, Rockpool Bar & Grill (66 Hunter St, Sydney, 02 8078 1900) fields an epic cellar alongside cocktails that are as sharp as anything in town. Meanwhile the Clare bar at The Old Clare Hotel (1 Kensington St, Chippendale, 02 8277 8277) serves a sharp array of cocktails in a reformed pub setting in central CBD boutique-hotel digs.
Want to take things a bit beachier? Visit Icebergs Dining Room & Bar (1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach, 02 9365 9000) for views that are almost as tasty as the natural-leaning wines and Italian-flavoured apertivi.