These are the best rooftop bars in Sydney
While we love a good secret dive bar in a beautiful city like Sydney, it seems a shame to go into the dark for every drink. Our town is filled with high-end watering holes, from a sundowner at the harbour to a sunny rooftop on the Inner West. We’ve found the top spots to enjoy a cold drink under the beautiful open sky. Beware, drinkers: Sydney’s rooftop bars are home to some of the most popular seats in the city. Get there early to get a spot.
The Acre Eatery and Greens are bringing their green thumbs to a Mosman rooftop. The Fernery offers views over the harbour to North Head and has an urban farmer Adrian Baiada as their contractor to create an outdoor kitchen garden.
The Orient Hotel is a Rocks landmark. It has an outdoor courtyard that’s perfect for summer drinking. The first floor also houses a restaurant that serves modern Australian cuisine in elegant surroundings.
The Woollahra Hotel
The Woollahra Hotel hides behind a rather austere stone façade. It is all about abundance. The Woollahra Hotel is a pub. But it’s also a pub. It’s located in Woollahra, just outside Paddington. This little area has beautiful terraces and tree-lined streets and has one of the highest median incomes in the city. The hotel has been in existence since the 1930s. However, it just reopened after a three-month hiatus. You can walk upstairs from the main entrance to find a semi-outdoor terrace with fern fronds that will gently brush your face during dinner.
Rooftop bars are a hit in Sydney. We can’t get enough breweries. It was only a matter of time before Marrickville’s beloved craft beer purveyors finally took the plunge and made this love story complete. Enter Marrickville Springs. This is the ’80s-Tropicana resort-style bar that sits atop Philter Brewing. It’s located in Sydney’s Inner West. The bar’s high ceilings are decorated in pink with wooden benches and tropical plants.
Zanzibar has changed its name and expanded its offerings. You can still enjoy beers on the roof, and the late-night party vibes are still strong on weekends. But, they have revamped their drinks offerings and hosted wine and whisky dinners, giving this multi-storey Newtown bar a little bit of an overhaul.
Fire and Brimstone
The Hillside Hotel’s Rooftop has been transformed into a house of slow and low-fat barbecue and bourbon. Brad Shorten, the pitmaster behind Fire and Brimstone, is a barbecue spot inspired by America’s deep South. Fire and Brimstone are only open three nights per week. They close shop after they have sold out.
Mary’s On Top
A rooftop burger bar is as peak-Sydney-as-it-gets, especially when it’s Mary’s burgers, which are the city’s most famous bun-based export. These famously juicy cheeseburgers, as well as their super-savoury vegan counterparts, can now be enjoyed in the sun on the roof at The Lansdowne Hotel. After climbing up to the Knox Street entrance, you will find liquid refreshment in the form of beers or natty wines.
The Cauliflower, Botany Road, is a Sydney institution. The interiors have been updated, and a rooftop bar with rum has been opened upstairs. All your pub food favourites are available, including Schnitt’s, steaks, and beer-battered barramundi. They also offer a wide range of Asian and Caribbean-inspired dishes, including jerk chicken wings and cauliflower curry, as well as a variety of vegetarian options like jerk chicken wings and spiced Szechuan Calamari. You can get a low-cost counter meal here with daily food specials that won’t break the bank.
The terrace’s alfresco garden offers stunning views of the whole city. This makes it the ideal setting for a night spent navigating the extensive cocktail menu.
Royal Hotel – Paddington
The iconic Eastern Suburbs favourite got a major makeover in 2019. While the ground floor is largely unchanged, the jewel of the venue’s crown jewel – remains the Rooftop. It remains one of the most sought-after spots in the city. You can enjoy the breathtaking city views while sipping a glass of wine or rose from the tap.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel gets crowded on weekends, as Sydneysiders flock to the Sunday Sessions for buckets of tiger shrimps and an Aperol shot or two as it sets. Live music is often played late at night on the Rooftop, which offers spectacular views of sparkling blue waters.
This bank was once a bank. It is now one of Oxford Street’s most historic and revered gay bars. This popular gay bar is lounge-inspired. Designer lamps and mood lighting create a retro-inspired atmosphere. You can also enjoy the amazing rooftop bar and watch the sunset over the city from there. Rotating DJs and top-shelf drag performances make the Colombian an ideal spot for chilling with friends or taking a wild walk.
The Rooftop Sydney
The Rooftop is a Hamptons-inspired watering hole with spectacular views of Darling Harbour. It’s located on the top floor of the Shelbourne Hotel, Sussex Street. Imagine palms, hanging chairs, and rattan lounges against a backdrop of blushing sunsets and brilliant blue skies. You will be fueled for another round of bubbles with pizzas, bar snacks, and salads.
Old Mate’s Place
Old Mate’s Place is a delusion. It combines moody, candle-lit drinking with the unexpected element of a sunny rooftop bar. If you plan, you can get a seat amongst the potted plants, down Negronis, and Jamaican beers at the late-evening lights.
Only once you sit on the deck of this third-floor cocktail bar do you realize that it is the missing piece to Sydney’s bar puzzle. Solotel made Opera Bar a sophisticated sister with Smoke, the crowning glory at Barangaroo House. Here, everything is strictly professional. At the entrance, you are welcomed and shown to your seat. You may also be given a time limit for the next booking.
The Burdekin, a narrow corner pub, has guarded the entrance to Oxford Streets since 1847. Recently, it added a rooftop bar. This casual-chic watering hole, which is five stories high, is the only one on Oxford Street. As you sip original cocktails such as the Back Ally and the Slutty Mermaid, take in the stunning views of Sydney’s main drag, which is where queer partying takes place.
East Village Hotel
You don’t have to tell Sydney how much she loves rooftop bars. The East Village Hotel’s top floor (previously known as the Darlo Village) is a high-end, sophisticated drinking spot. You might find that cardio is not your friend. However, you won’t have to stop at the second level because they’ve added the Athletic Club. This bar has a retro sports theme and has an “I went to Eton during Downton Abbey years” feel.
Estate Coogee Beach
The Coogee Pavillion is a three-in-one venue that occupies the ground floor at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Estate. It is similar to its neighbour but has been designed differently to cater for different audiences. The alfresco terrace makes the most of the beachside location. It is aimed at younger clients who want to relax with their friends while enjoying a glass of vodka and watching the evening move in over the Coogee sands. The leafy courtyard is home to its bar. It’s housed in an Airstream-style trailer made of stainless steel. This trailer has laidback Coachella vibes that seamlessly transition into a party atmosphere with DJ sets, live music, and a projector showing beachy flicks. There are also twinkling bistro lights overhead.
The Glenmore Hotel’s rooftop view of Sydney harbour is one of Sydney’s most spectacular views. This is a great place to go if you have guests far away and weekends can get busy. However, we love going here on Mondays for a $12 steak and quiet drinks with our friends.
Henry Deane is a bar that is located on top of the recently renovated Hotel Palisade. It is expected to be a hotly-contested spot for the New Year’s fireworks displays.
With its stunning Rooftop, the Coogee Pavilion is making serious plays for the number one spot in the summertime. You can enjoy cold-pressed juice highballs, delicious meats over coals, and uninterrupted views of Sydney’s coastline.
The Light Brigade
As Narcissus stared adoringly at himself, Sydney is a city obsessed with its good looks. This is why we love rooftop bars. There’s a rooftop where you can do exactly that. The Light Brigade’s crown jewel is the open-air bar on the top floor. Since the Bayfield family purchased the pub in 2011, the pub has undergone extensive renovations. The addition of the top-floor bar made the most of its prime Oxford Street location. It offers views that stretch from Paddington to the Coathanger.
SoCal Neutral Bay
Bondi Hardware and Botanist created this Southern Californian-style bar and restaurant with a sunny roof for quesadillas and ceviche, as well as hot dogs and tacos.
Hyde Park House
Slim’s Rooftop is named after American socialite photographer Slim Aarons. However, it could equally refer to the narrow stairs leading to the Rooftop — there’s a good amount of side-sashaying and waiting-on-the-landing as staff and patrons patiently wait to climb up or down the stairs. It’s a staircase to heaven, so don’t be discouraged. Slim’s is an outdoor oasis with succulent plants, low walls and stunning views of William Street and the glittering skyscrapers in the CBD.
The Imperial Hotel
It has everything you love about the Imperial, including camp, glitz and glamour, pop art, and Queerdom in all of its fantasticness. But, there’s a new level with an Italian-leaning menu and a shiny golden pizza oven. We vote yes.
Nick & Nora’s
Nick and Nora’s is all numbers. It’s 26 feet up, can hold 300 people, and has 270-degree views of the Blue Mountains and the tiny Harbour Bridge.
Taphouse is the best place in Sydney to sample a variety of craft beers. You can enjoy a relaxing day by heading up to the rooftop bar and ordering a tasting paddle.
It doesn’t matter if it’s located on the top of a Westfield. This huge Middle Eastern restaurant, bar, and lounge is located right in the middle of the city. It’s a great option for those who want to relax after a long day shopping or just need a spot to enjoy a drink al fresco. The cocktails are cleverly infused with Levantine flavours (baklava caramel, Turkish coffee, cumin seeds). There is a solid selection of modern mezes to keep you satisfied, including a delicious duck gozleme.
Royal Hotel – Paddington
Five Ways is a legendary boozer that has been a favourite Paddo spot for more than a decade. However, the roof remains a mystery. The views from the top are just as breathtaking as the climb up. A 2019 renovation saw the installation of a retractable roof, wine taps, and the ability to rise all day, even in the worst weather.
We believe that any Sydney high-rise that doesn’t have a great cocktail bar on the roof is a waste of good boozing opportunities. One that serves lobster and burgers will be on the Christmas card list. It’s so much more enjoyable to drink at a high altitude than to eat dinner at a high elevation.