Eat & Drink

15 of the Illawarra’s boutique bars to get sippin’ at

Get your sip on in one of these charming watering holes

There’s no shortage of fantastic bars and pubs in the Illawarra that’s for sure!

But atm we’re real suckers for sipping away at one of the Illawarra’s wonderfully intimate little cocktail bars, wine bars or spirit joints.

Artisanal creations, fancy-looking glasses and soft mellow tunes serenading us in the background, living our best Manhattan-vibe lifestyles.

Check out our list of fun boutique bars across the Illawarra and then make sure to whip out your best little black dress or most suave blue blazer.

And for even more wonderful watering holes check out our drinks directory here.


This cocktail bar, record store and live music venue in Thirroul is an excellent spot to sip on something tasty whilst listening to something wonderful.

It’s got a cosy neighbourhood vibe and an excellent selection of snacking plates to add to your drink of choice. Keep an eye on their socials for upcoming live music events.

Part wine bar, part cafe and part deli this is another beauty in Thirroul.

With live music every weekend we love whiling away a lazy Saturday or Sunday here.

They also often run some cracking food and drink specials too.

You can find the Fitz in Bulli inside a heritage-listed building. The interior is friendly and welcoming but it’s the rooftop that really makes this place shine.

Loads of specialty cocktails, Aussie wines and local craft beers plus that inner city Melbs feeling right here in the Illawarra, nice!

Okay so technically a distillery, Wolf and Woman in Bellambi still makes the cut because of its WONDERFUL cocktail menu and fun and fab atmosphere.

We love that they put out games to play to keep the arvo going and the free video game machine upstairs has definitely snagged a bunch of our time, and honestly, we’re happy to hand it over.

A small bar on Kiera St in Wollongong is all about gin – hence the name.

But it’s not only gin that’s on show, they’ve also got a great choice of spirits, wine, cider and craft beer. We love the laid-back yet intimate feel of this one.

Wine + Italian snacks = sorted.

This wine bar in Wollongong has a miiiiiiiighty long list of vino choices as well as a good selection of aperitifs, beer and cider.

We also adore all the finishings here, both inside and outside. Very modern and cool.

You better believe we’ve got ourselves a [sort of] secret bar in the Illawarra.

Hidden through the back of a coffee shop on Kembla Street this bar is low-key, dimly lit and just oh-so cool.

Open Wednesdays through to Sundays we always have a good time here.

This lively little bar on Keira st brings in a well mixed crowd of sippers. 

There’s a mighty selection of wines as well as an interesting cocktail menu. Mojitos on tap anyone?

The food menu here is also inviting with big and little bites, perfect for sharing.

This is an Indian-inspired cocktail bar – how flippin’ cool is that?

It’s also just an awesomely fun spot to hang out! The cocktail menu is huge and soooo exciting, think jamun-tinis and elderflower watermelon mai tais – lush!

They’re also constantly running loads of fun events, amaze-balls drinks specials AND have delish tapas plates.

Right on Crown Street in Wollongong sits this cosy and chic bar. With a strong focus on wine, they also have a good selection of cockys as well as other drinky-poos.

This is a fab spot for a good pre- or post-drink after visiting an event in town.

Port Kembla’s newest neighbourhood bar is welcoming and wonderful. The inside pays homage to the rich and interesting history of the area and the cocktails are worth a sip… or three.

They’ve also got a great bistro with plenty of your foodie faves to make a whole night of it.

Part of the Groundz Showground this whisky bar is a hidden gem worth discovering. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm it’s got TWO fireplaces, a rustic bar and loads of space to stretch out and get your sip on.

If you’re a Whiskey or Whisky lover this is a must-visit with a huuuuuge selection and even whisky flights for sampling. Cocktail lovers will be stoked with their fantastic cocktail menu, offering both whisky-based and non-whisky drinks.

On sunny days the outdoor bar is also the place to be.

In charming Shellharbour Village, you’ll find this second-story bar and restaurant.

They serve classy and classic cocktails and Italian bites.

The balcony at the front is a superb place for hanging out on balmy summer nights listening to the ocean roll in and people watching the street below.

A cafe in Kiama that also serves up excellent drinkies with a cracker view – count us in!

Open 7 days a week for brekkie and lunch and late nights on Thurs – Sat for dinner and sips, it’s worth a stop in no matter what time of the day.

Another excellent drinking den in Kiama, offering up craft cocktails, beers, wines and fresh local produce for munching.

They run some fun specials throughout the week too and we’re bursting to try their Sunday Lobster Frites…nom nom nom.

Cheers peeps! 

Hannah Castelli Author Bio

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