There’s something so typically Sydney about dining on a rooftop, with a panoramic scene in view and a glass of wine in your hand. Here's where the best rooftop bars have been hiding.
Alcohol just seems to taste better at certain altitudes. The higher, the better. (We reckon, anyway.)
And if there’s a picturesque cityscape and waning sun present, then who are we to deny clinking our glasses to its beauty? We’ve set the scene. Now it’s your turn to do the legwork. Up those stairs and into one of the best rooftop bars in the city...
- Where: Level 3, Harbourside, The Star, Pyrmont
- Opening Hours: Fridays(from 5pm), Saturdays(from 3pm), Sundays(from 2pm)
- For more info: The Star
Fresh on the scene as of December 2013, Sky Terrace is a multi-million-dollar casino blowout. Trying to show off before Packer’s Barangaroo casino launches into competition-mode? It’s working. We’ve fallen for it. Sydney never looked so dazzling. Pop in Friday and Saturday nights for live music/DJs and pop-up food stations.
- Where: Level 7, 56-58 York Street, Sydney
- Opening Hours: Mondays-Tuesdays (4pm-midnight), Wednesdays-Fridays (noon-midnight), Saturdays (6pm-midnight)
- Facebook: The Rook
Lobsters, burgers, liqueur. Keep this order and you’re doing it right. Don’t keep this order and as long as you’re properly wasted by the evening’s end, then you’re still doing it right. The Rook is all graffiti walls, damn good greasy burgers and late nights. A winning combination in our books.
Dots Rooftop @ Hotel Sweeneys
- Where: 236 Clarence Street, Sydney
- Opening Hours: Mondays-Thursdays (9am-3am), Fridays (9am-6am), Saturdays (10am-6am), Sundays (10am-12pm)
- Facebook: Dots Rooftop @ Hotel Sweeneys
Sweeney Todd doesn’t live here, but Dot does. And that’s probably for the best because Dot, she knows her drinks. This late night/early morning rooftop hangout is one of the most loved in Sydney—and it’s easy to see why. The crowd is loud, young, brash, over-exuberant and inhibitionless. That might be how they were born. Then again, it might just be the alcohol talking. She does pour a mean craft beer, that Dot.
Upstairs at the Bank
- Where: 324 King Street, Newtown
- Opening Hours: Wednesdays-Saturdays (6pm-late)
- Facebook: The Bank
Upstairs at the Bank may be a new addition to the rooftop scene, but it’s a damn pretty one. Sure, the views might not be of the city, but when you’ve a hearty cocktail in your hand and fried chicken and shoestring fries on your table you’re sittin’ mighty pretty. When the drinks run dry and the long walk down the stairs seems daunting, a late night pizza munchie will get you back to street level. Available until 2am, because The Bank cares.
ivy Pool Club
- Where: Level 4,ivy,320 George Street,Sydney
- Opening Hours: Mondays (4pm-late), Tuesdays-Fridays (12pm-late), Saturdays 6.30pm-late), Sunday (1pm-2am)
- Facebook: ivy Pool Club
Hollywood Palm Springs meets Ibizan clubbing hub in one of the most exclusive rooftop bars this side of the pond. Think palm trees, poolside cabanas, cocktails, DJs mixing it up in the background and the night sky painting the canvas to your evening and you’ve got this one down pat.
Sweethearts Rooftop Barbeque
- Where: 33-37 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point
- Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday(4pm-midnight), Friday to Sunday(noon-midnight)
- Facebook: Sweethearts Rooftop Barbeque
Too often overlooked, this enchanting rooftop sits high above Potts Point. The smell of the smoke off the barbeque will hit you first. The slice of vodka watermelon will hit you second. And everything else from there is a bonus—including that saltbush-infused margarita that’s miraculously made it into your hand... Strange magic is at hand here. Drink it in.
- Where: 323 King Street, Newtown
- Opening Hours: Mondays-Thursdays(10am-4am), Fridays(10am-6am), Saturdays(10am-5am), Sundays(10am-midnight)
- Facebook: Zanzibar
When Newtown’s young-guns come out to play they make an uninterrupted beeline to Zanzibar. It’s three storeys of craziness amidst a kooky Zanzibar-inspired backdrop. The crowd gets rowdy (you can tell from the ever-increasing number of bouncers at the door) and the rooftops get packed, but really, what would you expect from one of the few bars that keeps kickin’ on King into the wee hours of the morning?
- Where: Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney
- Opening Hours: Sundays and Mondays (closed), Tuesdays-Thursdays(5pm-midnight), Fridays (5pm-2am), Saturdays (5pm-3am)
- Facebook: Zeta Bar
THIS is what you came for. Progressive, inspired, modern, award-winning cocktails. Never mind the fact that Zeta Bar’s rooftop holds majestic views of the Queen Victoria Building, or that its A-list clientele (e.g. Jennifer Hawkins, Megan Gale, etc.) may be on the invite-list tonight. Tonight, it’s all about that deliciously fantastic thing we like to call: happiness (erm, we mean, cocktails). We’ll cheers to that.
The Local Taphouse
- Where: 122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
- Opening Hours: Mondays-Thursdays(11am-midnight),Fridays(11am-1am),Saturdays(midday-1am),Sunday(12pm-11pm)
- Facebook: The Local Taphouse
Cement-decorated walls, high wooden stools, clear skies and balmy air. Got the picture? The Local Taphouse spirits you to the Mediterranean, where kicking the breeze includes hanging out with mates and family at your local taverna.
Cashing in BFF time? The Darlo is the place to do it at. Sweet, whimsical furnishings reminiscent of something you might find in the Brady Bunch homestead (only now, they’re retro-cool, oh la la) litter the floor while vertical hanging gardens overtake the walls in this delicate little escape from all those city-life worries.
An honorable mention and one to look out for in 2016 goes to The Stables’ rooftop.
Originally anticipating a launch date of December 2013—in time for summer—the boys behind The Stables have just announced their rooftop bar is open for event hire. In tune with their ethos, The Stables rooftop is a charming blend of rustic furnishings and sweet, subtle touches. The Eastern Suburbs never looked so good.