The Best Rooftop Bars in Sydney

People enjoying food and drink at the Circular Quay in Sydney
People enjoying food and drink at the Circular Quay in Sydney | © martin berry / Alamy
Photo of Tom Smith
16 January 2019

Sydneysiders love a lot of things — beaches, fireworks and exorbitant real estate prices, to name a handful — but few of them rival the city’s passion for rooftop bars. Here are 10 of the best in town.

Whether you’re thirsty for an al fresco craft beer, sweeping views of the suburbs or the skyline, or a seaside schooner just a stroll from the sand, Australia’s biggest city seems to enjoy an endless supply of spectacular rooftop watering holes. So grab yourself a beer or a cocktail and nestle into one of these 10 rooftop bars in Sydney, Australia.

The Glenmore Hotel

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
The view from the Glenmore rooftop © The Glenmore
The view from the Glenmore rooftop | © The Glenmore

If you only visit one rooftop bar in Sydney, make it this one. The Glenmore boasts unrivalled views of Sydney Harbour, with a busy terrace overlooking the nearby Harbour Bridge and the sparkly white Opera House across Circular Quay. This friendly, casual pub is jam-packed on weekends so head there early or during a weekday to snag a table and tuck into some pub grub with a view.

The Rook

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View

From the street, this nondescript high-rise looks just like any other boring building in Sydney’s business district. But once you hop out of the lift on the top floor, you’ll find a very modern rooftop bar brimming with character. The Rook curates a colourful cocktail list, a broad selection of craft beers and a vibrant food menu made up of burgers and fresh whole lobsters.

Coogee Pavilion

Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Map View
The Coastal Walk passing the Coogee Pavilion.
Coogee Pavilion, Sydney | © domonabike / Alamy Stock Photo

The Coogee Pav, as the immaculately tanned and preened locals call it, is where Sydney’s social set comes to see and be seen. The rooftop features four different bars and a sun-drenched balcony that wraps around the huge building, offering panoramic views of the Coogee coastline and the salubrious surrounding suburbs. Join the dolled-up clientele for a summery cocktail and a nibble from the Mediterranean-inspired food menu.

Websters Bar

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
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Websters Bar, 323 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
Websters Bar, Sydney | © Richard Milnes / Alamy Stock Photo

This Newtown venue has a storied history, originally as the site of the New Town Store that gave the neighbourhood its name, then as legendary nightspot Zanzibar, an icon of this bohemian corner of the inner-west. Now named Websters after the owners of that original corner store, this rooftop bar sits above the ground-floor bar and restaurant plus the second-floor bourbon bar and grill, serving a selection of more than 600 different whiskies in a relaxed outdoor space.

Ivy Pool Club

Bar, Nightclub, Contemporary
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Ivy Pool Club © Merivale
Ivy Pool Club | © Merivale

The Ivy is a behemoth of Sydney’s hospitality scene and its rooftop pool is the jewel in the crown. Book a poolside cabana on a sunny Sunday afternoon to see the venue in all its glory. The decor is a bright, flashy blend of Los Angeles, Hawaii and the Italian Riviera. The exotic cocktails are tasty, the music is thumping and the party vibes are the closest Sydney can come to Las Vegas.

The Taphouse

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
The Taphouse rooftop © Taphouse
The Taphouse rooftop | © Taphouse

Craft beer lovers will go weak at the knees for this Darlinghurst favourite, which offers a rotating selection of 20-plus microbrews to sample in old-school pub surroundings. Nab a spot on the cosy rooftop to slurp down a pint in the sunshine or partner a mouth-watering grazing plate with a tasting paddle of different craft beers.

Sweethearts

Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Sweethearts rooftop © Sweethearts
Sweethearts rooftop | © Sweethearts

The balcony of the old Kit and Kaboodle nightclub has enjoyed a sophisticated facelift, kitting out this old Kings Cross favourite with luscious greenery, a chic pastel-themed design, a fresh cocktail menu and a trendy food menu including a generous banquet option to share on one of the long wooden tables. Try to make a reservation in advance so you don’t climb seven flights of stairs only to be denied entry at the door!

Taylor’s Rooftop Bar

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View

The third floor of The Republic Hotel is one of the business district’s most popular balcony bars — just ask the punters who pack it out every Friday evening for knock-off drinks at the end of the working week. Join the suits for a mug of Asahi or a glass of rosé after 5pm during the week, or pop in on the weekend for DJs and a dance floor in the fresh air.

Zeta Bar

Bar, Contemporary, $$$
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Zeta Bar terrace © Zeta Bar
Courtesy of Zeta Bar

The Sydney Hilton’s rooftop terrace exudes sophistication, but the cocktail menu more than matches the views of downtown Sydney and the Queen Victoria Building just across the road. Zeta’s mixologists have picked up award after award for their crafty concoctions — the team creates all their own syrups in-house, experiments with molecular gastronomy and deconstructed classics, and has joined forces with the kitchen downstairs to produce a range of edible ‘culinary cocktails’.

The Royal Hotel

Bar, Pub, Hotel Restaurant, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Sydney by night
Sydney by night | © Hai Linh Truong/Flickr

Paddington is peppered with plenty of historic pubs that have been gussied up for its well-heeled residents, but this one is something special. Ascend through The Royal’s ground-floor sports bar, second-floor gastropub, then third and fourth-floor cocktail bar to reach the intimate rooftop terrace, themed like an English garden. There’s only space for 40 punters and those lucky enough to squeeze in are gifted an unspoiled view of the Sydney skyline.

These recommendations were updated on January 16, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.