Soak up the sun from some of Sydney’s best rooftop bars. Bring on the cocktails!
Rooftop bars continue to pave the way as the most trendy, happening outings for Sydneysiders. With the weather gods blessing our climate, it’s no wonder we gravitate toward open areas with plenty of sunshine. Here is the ultimate Sydney rooftop bars checklist that should last you from now until the end of summer. We challenge you to attend them all!
Set on the top level of Barangaroo House and led by restaurateur Matt Moran, Smoke Bar is one of the chicest rooftop bars in Sydney. The innovative cocktail menu provides from the Aussie heat with drinks like the Season V+T with Grey Goose watermelon & basil, Aperol, De Kuyper watermelon and Fever-Tree elderflower tonic and the Geisha Negroni with green tea infused Bombay Sapphire gin, jasmine, Martini Bianco and Suze Gentian. What’s better than drinking alfresco with a side of waterfront views? Find out more here
Barangaroo is the hip place to be and this rooftop bar is no exception. United welcomes the flavours and ambience of the tropics to the CBD. With the dim thud of tropical tunes, pick your way through a menu devoted to modern Australian cuisine. The slick urban outlook is almost as cool as the drinks menu which consists of classic and inventive cocktails. Find out more here.
Perch yourself in the heart of the city at Babylon, one of the CBD’s best rooftop bars. Taking inspiration from the ancient region of Levant, this bar-meets-restaurant delivers exceptional Middle Eastern flavours and hospitality. Expect an authentic menu of traditional dishes taking influence from Turkish and traditional Levantine cuisine. Make sure to nab a seat on the terrace for your choice of indoor or outdoor bar seating.
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.
Sitting 83 metres above sea level, this rooftop bar provides an inner-city oasis, with a stunning view of the Sydney skyline. You’ll find a mixture of lounge and dining spaces, with a signature curved bar. Similar to a New York-style terrace, there is plenty of lush greenery with a casual Australian twist.
A little decadence never killed anybody! Located at the top of the Hyatt Regency Sydney, Zephyr offers city-slickers a sensational view of the CBD and Darling Harbour that is almost unmatched. Choose your own adventure with refreshing made to order cocktails. Then sit back on the padded couches and watch as day turns to night, with the city buzzing brilliantly below. Share plates of seafood as you lose yourself in the distant swell of the ocean. Freshen up your evening with a taste of Sydney’s own rock lobsters, or just wander off with the view. Find out more here.
The East Village Hotel was renovated back in late 2016, and the décor now harpers back to by-gone days across its three-tiered bar. As you head to the terrace, escape to the American coast in the 1950s. Bathed in white with planter boxes and pops of green vegetation surrounding you, gaze at the city skyline in amazement. At 100sqm you have enough space to relax as you sip on a Mango Margarita ($19) and soak up the sun splintering through the retractable roof above. Find out more here.
Pub-like casualness tends to be a reoccurring 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’. The cocktails are a major drawcard for The Rook, especially when gin is involved. They also make delicious lobster rolls worth a try.
Primus Hotel Sydney has transformed its exclusive pool area into the city’s most anticipated rooftop bar, Level Seven. This New York-inspired rooftop, once only available to hotel guests, has now opened its doors to the general public, giving everyone a slice of inner-city luxury. The cocktail menu features Level Seven’s signature drink, a Rosé Spritz, along with cocktail popsicles to enjoy poolside at all hours of the day. A casual food menu created by Executive Chef Daniel Menzies features everything from freshly shucked oysters to burgers and charcuterie platters. Find out more here.
Taking inspiration from the relaxed and lavish Hamptons, The Rooftop in Sydney’s CBD is a luxury garden terrace situated by the glorious harbour. As you relax in one of the plush hanging chairs, gaze through the retractable roof at the boats passing by on the Harbour. Brought to life by the pops of tropical plants, graze on delicate share plates of seafood, premium meats, salads and skewers.
An obvious favourite amongst Sydney rooftop bars is Ivy Pool Club. 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.
This stylish gem is situated in the heart of the city, right beside the 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 views to match, there is no doubt this is one of the best Sydney rooftop bars around.
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.
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. You’ll find it located above the Potts Point Hotel. 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!
Merivale has 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. Find out more here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 has happy hour deals daily, and free entry before 10pm on the weekends.
Old Mate’s Place is smack bang in the heart of the city, snapping up prized real estate. The 40 person space is enticingly light and breezy, decked out with plenty of vibrant plants and a inviting bookshelves. Offering anything from vodka to beer, any drinker will be pleased. For snacking, be surprised by the roaring menu that includes Philly cheesesteaks. Find out more here.
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.
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.
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, a post-work drink, or a weekend cocktail. 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.
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, so experience lavish living yourself without the price tag of staying the night.
Slims Rooftop makes the promise of being unlike any other rooftop bar in Sydney. Offering one of the only uninterrupted views of the glorious Hyde Park, Slims is a rush of vibrant pink and cacti. Fitted with sleek timber flooring, contrasting the pops of white furniture, Slims is a funky hideaway on the city fringe.
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. You can also book this space for functions- hello rooftop birthday!
This bar embodies everything good about Sydney’s rooftop bars. 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!
A Paddington favourite, The Royal Hotel rooftop welcomes young and old for a traditional pub experience and a classic nod to the frivolity of the eastern suburbs. Enjoy a cocktail in the glorious afternoon sun on the fourth floor of this local icon. Offering a $12 Cocktail Happy every Saturday from 6pm to 8pm, The Royal is the ideal place to kick start your evening.
Situated at the top of the Quarryman’s Hotel in Pyrmont, The Rooftop emits uber cool Palm Springs vibes. Contrasting the craft beer institutions in the bar below, The Rooftop is all about the Californian cool with the chic venue providing a relaxed atmosphere of a pool-side lounge. The signature cocktail menu offers a selection of funky twists on shaken and stirred classics. Chomp away on a food menu nodding to modern American with poke bowls and tacos. Find out more here.
Cruise Bar at Circular Quay is a great spot to grab drinks and dinner. We really like their restaurant on the second floor, Junk Lounge. The rooftop bar is in an iconic location, overlooking the Sydney Opera House and Cruise Ship terminal. 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 is one of the most WOW private locations in the whole of Sydney! Check out pics from the Vino n Vinyasa event we supported in the space.