21 Sep 2022

The best new openings in The Rocks

Fancy a cocktail and caviar service in a velvety, glamorous basement bar? How about a wallaby reuben sandwich? Try something new and delicious at The Rocks best new openings.
The best new openings in The Rocks

There’s always something going on in The Rocks but the last few months have been something else. We’ve welcomed six exciting new openings - from a super-sustainable cocktail bar and a sammy spot by a Masterchef contestant, to the realest Mexican restaurant in Sydney. 

Ready to try something new? Check out our guide to the best new openings in The Rocks including some of Sydney’s best restaurants and bars. 

Small. Good.

Jess Hodge, a former MasterChef contestant, knows how to cook a mean sandwich. Seriously, they’re insane. You can try her delicious creations at a new pop-up as part of the Playfair Takeover called Small.Good, an Aussie deli serving handmade sandwiches, snacks and non alcoholic cocktails. 

The succinct menu is designed to make Australian ingredients accessible to all,  as well as being sustainable, socially conscious and absolutely bloody delicious! Do yourself a favour and try the Wallaby ‘Rooben’, featuring wallaby pastrami, pepperberry sauerkraut and bush tomato Russian dressing on rye. Not keen on wallaby? How about a hot smoked barramundi bagel with lemon myrtle cream cheese?

Tacqueria Zepeda

We guarantee that (unless you’ve been to Mexico) Taqueria Zepeda will be the realest Mexican food you’ve ever tasted (and one of the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney). These guys serve serious, uncompromising Mexican food, bursting with traditional Mexican flavours and authentic ingredients. Helmed by recent Iron Chef winner Claudette Zepeda, the menu features simple proteins like pork and beef, cooked over hot coals or stacked in a traditional ‘Trompo Al Pastor’ (essentially a giant ‘trumpet’ of spiced pork cooked on a rotisserie).

Salsas are made from scratch in-house using imported chilli and spices and the menu includes a banging list of spicy margaritas and agua frescas. 

Daintree by The Keel

Created by the same crew who opened The Keel, Daintree is a Sydney cocktail bar with a charitable difference. They have a lofty goal of planting one million trees and donate 50% of their profits to their partners, Half Cut, a not-for-profit dedicated to rewilding Australia’s rainforests.

Their intimate venue is all heritage recycled timbers, lush vines and Australian art with just five tables and max bookings of 5-6. The upcycled bar and shelves are stocked with local beers, wines and spirits, while the team harvest their own herbs and native ingredients. 

And the cocktails? Inspired. Our personal favourite is the macadamia colada with coconut washed white rum, macadamia butter and wattleseed.⁠


The lauded team behind Rockpool, Saké and Spice Temple have opened a new Sydney cocktail bar and it’s a cracker. In a heritage basement below street level, Alice is a glam, vintage inspired space serving serious classic cocktails and caviar alongside regular DJ sets.

The plush, low-lit gold and velvet bar will also regularly host takeovers by distilleries and bartenders, to give drinkers a taste of the best local tipples. If you fancy a bite while you drink there’s caviar service, fried chicken, cured meats, sandwiches and fries. 

Bar Lulu

This intimate, luxurious bar is hiding on the upper level of Luna Lu restaurant in The Rocks, serving crafted cocktails, Chinese spirits, wines and delicious Asian fusion cuisine. Visit and you can expect blue velvet booths, low lighting and top-draw service. 

The sophisticated cocktails here use intriguing Asian ingredients like sake, cherry blossom, and Japanese gin - while the dining menu is a creative combination of the best of East and West. For something truly luxurious we’d suggest the black truffle and duck spring rolls, which feature premium grade Italian truffles and a sweet ginger vinaigrette. 

Or for a memorable tipple try a Chinese yellow wine. These are aged up to 20 years and come in traditional, hand painted wine warming pots, which are yours to take home once you’re done. 

Neighbourhood Delicatessen

The baristas and foodies at The Fine Food Store have done it again! The new pop up as part of the Playfair Takeover promises more of the good stuff that they’re famous for plus a few delicious extras.

We’re talking wine, cheese, home made sammies, charcuterie, freshly baked breads, barista made coffee and a bunch of delicious jams pickles and dips. Keen to stay a while? Grab a seat outside in the sun or get cosy at the counter.

Want to the first to know when new bars, restaurants and pop ups open in The Rocks? Check out our locals guide here or subscribe to our emails below.