Speed up your Summer countdown by visiting the best Sydney rooftop bars on offer!
Summer is almost here. You can see it in the sky. You can smell it in the breeze. You can feel the warmth on your skin. Why wait two months, when you can prepare to taste summer’s sweetness from now? Rooftop bars are becoming the most trendy, happening outings for Sydneysiders. Following in the footsteps of cosmopolitan cities like New York and Singapore. With the Summer-gods blessing our climate, Sydneysiders gravitate toward open areas with sunshine exposure. We also love getting our drink on. So, we’ve created the ultimate Sydney rooftop bars checklist that should last you from now until the end of summer. We challenge you to attend them all!
The heritage listed Hotel Palisade has been standing since 1912. Though, its newly renovated star-on-top of the Christmas tree, Henry Deane, is a rooftop bar that oozes modern sophistication. It’s a comfortable cocktail lounge, decorated with cosmopolitan charm and provides 360 degree views of the city from the Harbour Bridge to Barangaroo and beyond. Food and drinks are all available in their finest forms from freshly shucked oysters and grilled lamb cutlets to bowls of mussels. We love the cocktails at Hotel Palisade particularly their Spiced Negroni and the Governors Gimlet made with Beefeater gin, celery liqueur, lime juice & bitters. For more info read our full review on Hotel Palisade here.
35 Bettington St, Millers Point NSW 2000, (02) 9018 0123, Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-midnight, Sunday 12pm-10pm
After undergoing lengthy renovations, the Brigade Rooftop is finally open! Sitting 83 metres above sea level, this rooftop bar provides an inner-city oasis, perched above the city’s hustle and bustle, with a stunning view of Sydney’s skylines. You’ll find a mixture of lounge and dining spaces, all around a signature curved bar, whereas the Lounge acts more as a cocktail bar. Similar to a New York style terrace, there is plenty of lush greenery with a casual Australian twist. We predict this place attracting large summer crowds!
As far as Sydney rooftop bars go the Bristol Arms rooftop has one of the most relaxed, homely vibes in the heart of Sydney’s CBD concrete jungle. White picket fencing, timber panelling and casual décor bring a friendly and comforting element to Sydney’s skyline. Whilst twinkling fairy lights shine off King Street Wharf. The pub menu and bar snacks will surely tend to all your home-cooked needs. Sipping on a signature cocktail, wine or craft beer, what could be more perfect? You can also book this space for functions- hello rooftop birthday!
81 Sussex St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9262 5491, Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-late, Closed Sundays
This bar embodies everything good Sydney rooftop bars should need. Lush greenery, open skies, comfortable lounges, live music and a casual yet sophisticated bar. Feel like it’s too much like your backyard? All you need to do is take a look at the incredible skyline, twinkling city lights and reflective skyscrapers. With a gentle summer breeze and refreshing contemporary cocktail, you’ll feel that summer excitement within seconds!
69-73 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9252 6522, Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-late, Closed Sundays
Hotel Sweeney’s is one of a kind. Dot’s Rooftop Bar on the top floor is old-school pub meets intimate small bar and will have feeling right at home in the middle of the CBD. A casual man-cave where sport, beer and the masculine concur of the arduous staircase will be topics of discussion. But not to worry ladies, cocktails, fairy lights and the stunning Sydney skyline definitely won’t have you asking to leave.
236 Clarence Street (Corner of Druitt Street) Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9267 1796, Open Monday-Saturday 9am-3am, Sunday 10am-midnight
Pub-like casualness tends to be a recurring theme amongst Sydney rooftop bars. Though, The Rook adds its own hint of class. That’s if you can find it. This rooftop bar is hidden above an unassuming language school. Enter off York Street and hit ‘R’ in the elevator for Rooftop or Rook. Don’t get off at the wrong floor or you’ll be learning English rather than sipping cocktails. Their specialties are listed as ‘lobsters, burgers and liquor’. Three things that us Sydneysiders know and love. The cocktails are a major draw card for The Rook, especially when gin is involved. They also make delicious lobster rolls worth trying.
56-58 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9262 2505, Open Monday & Saturday 4pm-midnight, Tuesday-Friday 12pm-midnight, Closed Sundays
The Loft is one of the most renowned cocktail bars situated on King Street Wharf. For over a decade they’ve hosted locals and tourists by the water for sunset drinks, raging parties, long boozy lunches and more. The mood here is relaxed yet sophisticated. You will often be treated to live music as the sun sets, and when the moon rises the party animals come out to play. They also offer a beautiful high tea popular amongst the ladies for birthdays, hens and baby showers.
Level 1, 3 Lime Street, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9299 4770, Open Monday-Thursday 4pm-late, Friday-Sunday 12pm-late
Whether you’re looking for a CBD pub lunch, a hearty dinner or a quick beverage on your pub crawl, The Belvedere provides for all. And with the addition of with a killer view. This rustic pub has been on Kent Street since 1823. You may have overlooked it, but they have a beautiful open rooftop terrace that overlooks the heart of Sydney. On the food menu you’ll find all your pub classics with the addition of a new authentic Greek menu. Every Wednesday to Friday they have DJs on the rooftop terrace to keep you entertained.
482 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9264 1688, Open Monday-Saturday 10am-midnight, Sunday 10am-10pm
An obvious favourite amongst Sydney rooftop bars is Ivy Pool Bar. Post-work drinks go down very well beside the refreshing pool and open skies, from Mondays to Fridays. If you’re feeling hungry book a table at Italian restaurant Ucello and dine poolside. The weekend scene embodies the summer essentials…sunshine, drinking and partying! Though, if you don’t own an outfit from Camilla or Polo Ralph Lauren you’ll definitely feel like a minority at their Sunday sessions.
4/320 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9240 3000, Closed Monday, Open Tuesday 4pm-late, Wednesday-Friday 12pm-late, Saturday 6pm-late, Sunday 1pm-late
This stylish gem is situated in the heart of the city, right beside QVB in the Hilton Hotel. Serving a constantly great rotating cocktail menu, they are internationally acclaimed as ‘one of the most cutting edge cocktail bars in the Southern Hemisphere’. With a perfect location and dazzling view to match, there is no doubt this is one of the best Sydney rooftop bars around.
Hilton Sydney, 488 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9265 6070, Closed Monday & Sunday, Open Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-late
This temple of craft beer passes off as a local corner-pub. Though, it is full of hidden gems. Firstly, the rooftop bar and garden is fit for all seasons. Umbrellas and an intimate bar encourage minimal movement on sunny afternoons. Whilst it remains a perfect location for winter beers, with a log fireplace, blankets and heaters to warm you up as the drinks keep flowing. Another aspect that sets them apart from the rest are their beer paddles. You can choose up to 5 x 90ml beers to try on one paddle. Need more convincing? These boards are only $10 on Thursdays! One more thing… their Sunday roast is fabulous!
122 Flinders St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, (02) 9360 0088, Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-10pm, Open Sunday 12pm-9pm
Hola mi amigos! Welcome to Mexico in the heart of Kings Cross. Sweetheart’s Rooftop is a casual bar and eatery where plenty of people go for drinking, dancing and chilling high above all the hustle and bustle. It’s perfect for an afternoon drink in the sunshine with fresh beats to match. Let’s be honest, any place with a ‘Siesta Zone’ is bound to be a good time!
33-35 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point NSW 2011, (02) 9368 7333, Open Monday-Thursday 4pm-midnight, Friday-Sunday 12pm-midnight
Sky Terrace is another landmark rooftop bar that has everything going for it. With dazzling views of the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and sparkling cityscape it’s a reason alone many visit The Star casino. With the infrastructure built with bright lights and the rooftop surrounded by cosy couches, tables and stools everyone can find a spot they’re comfortable in. Sydney rooftop bars are all about taking in an open breeze, sipping a refreshing drink and being mesmerised by a fantastic view. Sky Terrace achieves all these things and more.
Level 3 The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, (02) 9777 9000, Open Friday-Saturday 5pm-midnight, Sunday 3pm-10pm
Merivale have the rooftop bar scene down pat. Heading into more suburban locations, Coogee Pavilion is a favourite rooftop bar in the Eastern Suburbs. Located on the shore of Coogee Beach, the open skies, ocean views, fresh greenery and modern bars make this large space another must-go rooftop bar. The menu is inspired by the Eastern Mediterranean and the ancient techniques of cooking over charcoal. Share a selection of dishes from the charcoal grill paired with accompaniments and Lebanese bread. They also do a good Bloody Mary should you need a pick-me-up. That along with the ocean breeze should sort you right out.
169 Dolphin St, Coogee NSW 2034, (02) 9240 3000, Open Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-midnight, Closed Monday & Tuesday
SoCal brings Southern Californian vibes to Neutral Bay. Expect sun, sangria, tacos, Coronas, fried chicken, margaritas and more. They have several different types of margaritas on offer along with classic cocktails, original creations and shared jug cocktails. You can order light drinking snacks like guacamole, salsa and chips through to more substantial dishes including snapper ceviche, roasted lamb, soft shell crab and pan fried snapper.
1 Young St, Neutral Bay NSW 2089, (02) 9904 5691, Open Monday-Tuesday 5pm-late, Wednesday-Thursday 12pm-late, Friday-Saturday 12pm-2am, Sunday 12pm-midnight
The Ivanhoe Hotel is located, in the heart of The Corso in Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s a popular destination amongst locals with multiple levels and sophisticated seating areas. The Ivanhoe Hotel’s interiors channel a Hamptons-inspired coastal beach vibe while retaining the relaxed atmosphere of a local pub. The rooftop balcony is a great spot to perch for a few drinks after a swim in summer. Grab a casual bite while you’re there or reserve an area for a catch up with friends and make a day of it.
27 The Corso, Manly Beach NSW 2095, (02) 9976 3955, Open 7 days 11.30am-late
Zanzibar was one of the most iconic pubs in Newtown, with its three levels of food, fun and ever flowing drinks. Luckily, we don’t need to use past tense, because they’ve just changed their name, and added even more cool features. Now known as Websters Bar, the same shenanigans are still going down, high up on their rooftop that overlooks the streets of Newtown. Late night cocktails, late night pizzas and late night vinyl DJs under the stars are all on the cards until 4am.
323 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, (02) 9519 1511, Open 7 days 10am-4pm
Watsons Bay’s Beach Club is one of our favourite Sydney rooftop bars. With the twinkling ocean in the foreground and beautiful harbour views, this is the ideal location to sip summer cocktails in the afternoon sun. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel are renowned for their quality food and drink offering and are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the rooftop. SIDE NOTE: They also do crab racing on the beach on Sundays…surely there isn’t a Sunday sesh on Earth with a better form of entertainment.
1 Military Rd, Watsons Bay NSW 2030, (02) 9337 5444, Open Monday-Saturday 10am-midnight, Sunday 10am-10pm
Kings Cross Hotel is a landmark in ‘The Cross’ and almost as iconic as the adjacent Coca Cola sign. This multi level venue caters for a wide variety of clientele. From late night party goers to those just wanting a nice casual drink after work. They also house a number of live entertainment and theatre productions. You’ll find the The rooftop bar at the top of this seven-tiered hotel. When you arrive you’ll be rewarded with a great view high above the hustle and bustle. Kings Cross Hotel have happy hour deals daily, and free entry before 10pm on the weekends.
244-248 William Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011, (02) 9331 9900, Open Sunday-Thursday 12pm-1am, Friday-Saturday 12pm-3am
The Aurora Rooftop Hotel is a hidden, local treasure in Surry Hills. It’s the perfect location for drinks with a beautiful view, great food and function hire. It caters for all crowds, with local residents popping in for an afternoon drink in the sun, work professionals grabbing a beer with a view after work, or party crowds ready for a fun night ahead. The rooftop bar is open Thursdays and Fridays from 12pm-late, due to its weekend demand as a private function space.
324 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, (02) 9211 3462, Open Monday-Thursday 10am-4am, Friday 10am-6am, Saturday 9am-6am, Sunday 9am-4am
Happy hour, fried chicken, fairy lights, and an open rooftop. The Horse has everything a rooftop bar needs, and is located in the heart of Crown Street in Surry Hills. Ever noticed those really pretty fairy lights on the rooftop of the pub across the road from Shannon Reserve? This is the place! They host daily happy hour from 4pm-6pm and fried chicken gods, Chicken and Sons run the kitchen downstairs. Good drinks, good chicken and good vibes? It’s a no brainer addition to our Sydney rooftop bars checklist.
381 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, 1300 976 683, Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-midnight, Sunday 12pm-10pm
Another beachside Manly pub that is perhaps one of the less known but popular Sydney rooftop bars is The New Brighton Hotel. The newly renovated pub includes dining, drinking, dancing and a small rooftop bar as the cherry on top. Look down onto the lively Corso and people watch or stare straight ahead at the beautiful ocean. It isn’t just your average bevs and beach rooftop garden. They have constantly rotating activities like rooftop movie nights, rooftop yoga, rooftop gelato bars and of course rooftop parties, to name just a few.
71 The Corso, Manly NSW 2095, (02) 9977 3305, Open Monday-Thursday 10am-5am, Friday 10am-3am, Saturday 9am-3am, Sunday 9am-midnight
The Glenmore is one of the original Sydney rooftop bars. Since 1921, The Glenmore has stood tall in The Rocks, facing the beauty of The Opera House and Harbour Bridge for years. It still carries its old colonial English tradition, with a recently renovated edge. The Glenmore is the perfect rooftop bar location for a relaxed pub dinner in the open skies, a post-work drink, or a weekend cocktail. The Glenmore are constantly hosting parties, public events and many private events, when the rooftop is available for hire. On the weekends when the sun is out it’s hard to get a table so if you’re heading there with a group of friends we suggest getting in early.
96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9247 4794, Open Monday-Thursday 11am-midnight, Friday-Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11am-midnight
One of the highest Sydney rooftop bars, with uninterrupted views, is the Rooftop Supper Club located on Level 31 of the Intercontinental Hotel. Sydney is great at hiding incredible locations in all its nooks and cranny’s, and apparently its skies too! Yet another of the incredibly classy and sophisticated locations in Sydney with an indescribable view and great food and drinks. This great bar does come with some restrictions however. Being a hotel they are open exclusively to guests until 8pm Thurs- Sat so you can only access it after that time. But with daylight savings you can still manage to catch the sunset if you hurry.
117 Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000 Australia, (02) 9240 1260, Open Thursday-Saturday 8pm-2am, Closed Sunday-Wednesday
The most recent addition to the rooftop bar scene is the rooftop bar and pool at the Intercontinental Double Bay. Previously open exclusively to guests it is now open to all as of 1st of October, 2016. Experience lavish living yourself without the price tag of staying the night.
33 Cross St, Sydney NSW 2028, (02) 8388 8388, Open Daily 12pm-7pm
Another one to add to the list of Sydney rooftop bars is Cafe Del Mar, the Mediterranean summer inspired bar at Cockle Bay Wharf. This rooftop bar pays tribute to Ibiza’s original Café del Mar, a temple that worships spectacular sunsets, a chill out atmosphere, ambient music compilations and relaxation. Sydney’s Cafe del Mar embodies these same attributes, adding its own splash of Australian, French and Italian flavours to its food, drink and overall ambience. This stylish setting brings a sense of sophisticated glamour to Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
35 Wheat Rd, Rooftop Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9267 6700, Open Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-midnight, Closed Monday & Sunday
These Sydney rooftop bars didn’t make our cut for various reasons but are still worth mentioning.
The Rooftop Bar and Pool at the Old Clare Hotel, is anything but old. In fact, it is one of the most sought after Sydney rooftop bars. Located in Broadway, seconds from Central station, city workers, uni students and practically anyone in the area would kill to get into this lavish open space for a dip and a drink. It is usually open to the public, though unfortunately the rooftop is CLOSED FOR THIS SEASON. Watch this space, we’ll update you when we know more about when it’s reopening.
1 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008, (02) 8277 8277
Ching-a-lings in Darlinghurst describe themselves as a space for ‘unpretentious fun’. This grungy rooftop bar is known for its great beats and cramming as many people as possible onto the open deck. It’s the kind of no-frills venue where you can drink long necks in the sun and chat away for hours. It definitely doesn’t have the views of many other Sydney rooftop bars but they have endless happy hour deals and encourage genuine, down-to-earth fun.
1/133 Oxford St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, (02) 9360 3333
The rooftop bar of the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel is the ideal location for a private event. The space is specifically segregated for private events, with a 120-150 person capacity. It is located high above Darling Harbour, overlooking all the hustle and bustle of Cockle Bay Wharf. With stunning views, a gorgeous setting and fine food and drink to match, it’s a no brainer for your next event!
Note: Contact our sister company Secret Foodies, to help organise a special event anywhere is Sydney.
96 Union St, Pyrmont NSW 2009, (02) 9660 6996
Cruise Bar at Circular Quay had a makeover last year and is a great spot to grab drinks and dinner. We really like their restaurant on the second floor, Junk Lounge. Their rooftop bar is in an iconic location, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Cruise Ship terminal, to watch all the ships sail into the sunset. This location is specifically for private events and hosts up to 400 guests. With day beds, ottomans, high tables, as well as all the technical stuff like DJ booths, microphones and projectors…this one of the most WOW private locations in the whole of Sydney! Check out pics from the recent Vino n Vinyasa event we supported in the space.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay W, Sydney NSW 2000, (02) 9251 1188
Matt Moran will be opening a new masterpiece in the developing Barangaroo complex. This 3-tiered dining extravaganza will be topped with, you guessed it, an incredible rooftop bar! The end of Cockle Bay Wharf will be decorated with another rooftop bar, oozing with class and comfort. The food, drinks and atmosphere will no doubt be of the standard of his other masterpieces ARIA, CHISWICK and Opera Bar. This next iconic dining landmark is set to open in spring 2017.