7 best soccer bars in Sydney

Great places to watch soccer in Sydney all year round

Where to watch the Lionesses, the Matildas, Nadeshiko and Las Chicas Superpoderosas

With the Women’s World Cup now moving towards crunch time, Sydney will be hosting the lion’s share of matches, including England’s quarter-final with Colombia and the big showdown on August 20.

All these games take place at the national Stadium Australia – for bars way out west in Homebush Bay, see here. For drinking and catching the match action in town, you can choose between a view over the waterfront or the urban bustle of Sydney CBD, the city’s Central Business District.

24/7 Sports Bar/Dave Gee

Weekdays, happy hours are a given and most places offer specials, with dishes in the A$20 range. Cheers operates 24/7, The Flynn, focused on the post-work crowd, doesn’t open Saturdays or Sundays.

Once the World Cup circus leaves town, Aussie rules, rugby and cricket will dominate the screens again, though devotees can still watch the Premier League and European action, not to mention the A-League when it roars back into action from October.

Now with a 22-game season, the A-League Women starts the week before, with Sydney FC the champions. Can the Matildas give the domestic game a huge boost by lifting the World Cup?

1 24/7 sports bar

24/7 Sports Bar/Dave Gee

You can’t move for screens at the 24/7 Sports Bar, where more than 50 LCD TVs fill a huge, gleaming space, along with one with size of a studio flat, 34 square metres. It’s all part of a casino within a twin-hotel and entertainment complex, The Star Sydney, tucked in behind Pyrmont Bay, and with its own stop on the Light Rail network.

The menu doesn’t stray too far from the classic sports-bar offerings of wings, burgers and potato wedges, though look out for the weekday lunchtime specials at A$15, complementing Happy Hours between 4pm-6pm Mondays to Thursdays, featuring A$7 drinks. Open until 4am over the weekend.

24/7 Sports Bar, Level 1, Casino, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street.

2 pj o'brien's

PJ O’Brien’s/Dave Gee

PJ O’Brien’s shows an exhausting schedule of matches in pub surroundings of Irish character, underscored by the range of whiskeys and live music four nights a week. Balter XPA, Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Peroni complement Guinness and Kilkenny among the dozen-plus draught options, while the daily specials (A$27.50) for a large main course and a pint are a steal.

Also for those on a budget, there are house varieties of wine for sparkling, red and white at A$52 a bottle. Closing times enticingly suggested as ‘Late’.

PJ O’Brien’s, 57 King Street.

3 the sporting globe

The Sporting Globe/Dave Gee

The Sporting Globe nationwide franchise is hospitality on an industrial scale – two million-plus customer visits across Australia every year, nearly 1.5 million wings devoured, 240,000 hours of sport broadcast on 50+ screens –  but there’s no denying the pleasure of a pint overlooking Darling Harbour surrounded by match action from every screen. This is what goes on at the King Street Wharf branch, prime choice for many a sports fan in Sydney. The draught beer range is dominated by green-friendly 4 Pines from nearby Manly.

The Sporting Globe, King Street Wharf, 22 The Promenade.

4 york 75

York 75/Dave Gee

Where York Street meets King Street, upstairs at Hotel CBD, York 75 combines sports bar with traditional pub, a style they describe as ‘collegiate’. It must be the tennis rackets. This allows you to sink into a Chesterfield, surrounded by mahogany as you take in the action beamed on 20 screens (two of them 3D) and sip your Hahn Super Dry or Kosciuszko Pale Ale.

You can also book a private booth for up to eight people, ideal for a big match night. Food-wise, York 75 (named after its street address) is a notch above, with a fish-of-the-day option and ocean trout salad.

York 75, 2/75 York Street.

5 criterion hotel

Criterion Hotel/Mitchell Whiley

By the Town Hall on Pitt Street, the Criterion Hotel is known for its street-level bar and The Snug downstairs, awash with big screens. Here, the Irish heritage is genuine, the hotel taken over by the grandson of JJ Gallagher, a third-generation descendant of Limerick newcomers.

The building itself is listed and dates back to 1874, while the guest rooms upstairs have recent enjoyed a contemporary makeover, meaning you can enjoy a few too many and sleep it all off in comfort, right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.

Daily specials (A$18-A$20) are a popular feature, along with the sharing selections on match nights. Happy Hour is 4pm-6pm on weekdays, when local tap beers go for A$6, wines and spirits for A$7. Look out, too, for Beer of the Month, Japanese Asahi a recent choice.

Criterion Hotel, 260 Pitt Street.

6 cheers sports bar

Cheers Sports Bar/Dave Gee

On George Street, the Cheers Sports Bar dates back over 25 years in its current form, a light and lively three-floor hostelry, with a terrace and screens aplenty, overseen by the Harvey family. ‘Where good sports meet’ remains the suitable motto, as introduced with the bar embraced the nation’s favourite pastimes in the run-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Daily specials (A$15-A$20) feature through the week, the kitchen open until 9pm but closed mid-afternoon. The bar, however, is 24/7, meaning you can catch soccer action from Europe whatever time the kick-off, even book a table if need be (Liverpool are particularly popular…). Tables on the footpath are sought after in summer.

Cheers Sports Bar, 561 George Street.

7 the flynn

The Flynn/Dave Gee

Part smart restaurant, part sports bar, The Flynn on Bligh Street is specifically geared to the post-work crowd – it doesn’t even operate on Saturdays and Sundays. Despite that, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to bring a client amid 1940s’-style decor – you might even get away with entertaining them during International Happy Hour, 5pm-7pm, extended for Matildas games during the Women’s World Cup, with pints at A$8 and jugs A$16.

Cocktails might be the way to go, and the wine list, mainly antipodean/New World, is extensive. And wherever you sit, you shouldn’t be too far from a screen.

The Flynn, 2A Bligh Street.