The definitive guide to the top rooftop bars around Sydney.
By Amy Bryant
Drink and dine high above the city skyline at one of Sydney’s many sleek rooftop bars. Feel the breeze and take in the views as you relax in style. With a drink in one hand and a fork in the other, you can expect nothing less than the finest experience of sipping creative cocktails, tasting delicious dishes and enjoying friendly Aussie service at high altitude.
Hidden up along the city’s skyline, on level 12 of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, is a swanky rooftop sanctuary. A sophisticated nautical vibe, Zephyr bar is decked out with lounge areas, tables and bar stools with open air panoramic views over Darling Harbour and Barangaroo precincts. The cocktail menu focuses on vermouth and rum creations while the food menu offers divine bar snacks like Sydney rock oysters, sashimi and charcuterie boards.
Another hidden gem, The Rook takes some seeking out. 52 York Street may feel like you’re walking through a foyer into an office elevator, but click level 7 and you’ll be transported to a cool, colourful rooftop hangout. The atmosphere combines the sense of a trendy Brooklyn bar with an old-school American diner, with tunes beating and conversations roaring. There is an extensive wine and cocktail list, with classics and a rotating selection of signature creations. The indulgent food menu boasts lobster, burgers and even deep-fried ice cream.
A Sydney institution, The Glenmore is one of the oldest rooftop establishments, dating back pre-Harbour Bridge days. In the heart of The Rocks, the charming iconic pub has some of the best views over the city, Circular Quay, the harbour and Opera House, making it a perfect destination for long lunches and sunset dining. Enjoy luxury views with reasonably priced food and beverages, with an extensive food menu and cocktails, champagne and beer pouring all day.
On top of Barangaroo House, celebrity chef Mat Moran and the Solotel Group’s impressive, designer three-level dining establishment, is Smoke, a new harbourside rooftop bar. Fitted with luxury interiors and fine textures, you’ll relax in comfort and style with beautiful harbour sunset views. On the menu is more than fifty cocktails combining classics and signatures, a 400-bin wine menu and inventive food dishes like a spiced mushroom toasties (toasted sandwich).
A short walk from Barangaroo House, you’ll find another rooftop venue. Untied, located on level four of 500 Barangaroo Avenue, channels tropical vibes decked out with vibrant colours and greenery. From the menu you can sample a range of fresh, raw and BBQ dishes like crab steam buns, scallop toast and Jerk chicken burgers. Untied is perfect for big groups, catering for up to 260 people across a large indoor and outdoor area.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to sip on champagne cocktails with laidback pool-side vibes on Level Seven. The inner-city oasis on top of the Primus Hotel, is an exclusive destination that transports you to a ritzy rooftop somewhere along New York’s skyline. Enjoy signature spritzes, cocktails (and cocktail popsicles!) and wine, with a shared food menu serving casual eats like shucked oysters, charcuterie platters and tacos.
Found on the third floor of the Republic Hotel, the bar is accessed from Tank Stream Way and up a hefty flight of stairs. The climb is worth it though, as you arrive at Taylor's, an open-air space against a backdrop of a plush vertical garden that feels like a sanctuary from the bustle below. The good news? There's a retractable roof to protect against the sudden downpours.
After an extensive period of renovations, the historic Hotel William -a four storey hotel on the busy William Street, has reopened with a fun new addition. Head upstairs to the rooftop for the dedicated Slim's Rooftop bar, a feast of Slim Aaron's inspired retro decor. The space offers views across Hyde Park, izakaya-style eats and Asian-inspired drinks.
The highest altitude you can drink at in Sydney is at the sophisticated Blue Bar on 36. As the name suggests, you’ll find this New York inspired swanky bar high above the city, on the 36th level of the Shangri La Hotel in The Rocks. Enjoy fine wine and cocktails in pure urban luxury, with sweeping views over the city, Darling Harbour, the Opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Situated on top of historic Hotel Palisade, is the sophisticated and trendy rooftop bar and plush cocktail lounge, Henry Deane. With large floor-to-ceiling windows and comfy dining areas, you can relax and unwind with cocktails and fine food with incredible views over the harbour and neighbouring industrial buildings and architecture. Sample shared food plates like mussels, prawns, scallop and lamb cutlets, and browse the extensive wine, spirits and cocktail lists.
The Hilton’s ritzy Zeta Bar is a luxe cocktail destination, with classic interiors, high ceilings and glass walls, and a stunning rooftop patio that overlooks the Queen Victoria Building. Dine outside among the beautiful architecture of neighbouring buildings, feasting on delicious bar snacks, pizzas and antipasto boards. The unique cocktail list will tempt you with sweet and bitter creations inspired by cities around the world, like Milan, London and New York, plus if you get there between five and seven, you’ll be in time for $15 Aperitivo Hour!
A local’s favourite, you’ll find the heritage Royal Hotel on the corner of Paddington’s Five Ways precinct. Boasting the best rooftop in Paddington, the boutique space is a divine sanctuary on level four, with incredible views over the chic inner-east neighbourhood and city and even the Harbour Bridge peeping out between the high rises. It’s the perfect destination to wind down an afternoon of browsing the stores along Paddington’s much-loved William Street, with a cocktail in hand as you take in the glorious setting sun.
The Coogee Pavilion is one of the best coastal rooftop bars in Sydney. Dining on the large, lush green patio, you’ll take in a breathtaking 270-degree view over the famous Coogee Beach while being served delicious Mediterranean style food, cocktails and ice-cold beers. The Eastern Mediterranean inspired menu spans classics like baby squid, kingfish ceviche and a range of kebabs, while the drinks that are pouring are signature cocktails, sangria jugs, bubbles and beer.
Escape over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, to a spacious plant-filled rooftop bar and eatery in the Lower North Shore. The Fernery is more than a nature-inspired lavish rooftop oasis, it also boasts a gin room showcasing Australian distilleries, a rose bar, and an herb garden for garnishing the signature cocktails. The seasonal modern Australian food menu is extensive and includes everything from light snacks, to salads and hearty mains, all with a focus on delivering the finest seasonal flavours.