Circular Quay and The Rocks undeniably boast the best Harbour views in Sydney, and the many bars that line the shores also have fabulous front row seats. Making the most of their enviable locations, these bars offer panoramic views courtesy of their floor-to-ceiling windows, rooftop positions, or in some cases, completely alfresco settings. To help you with your summertime selection, we’ve narrowed down the most coveted spots to nab a table at – with a wine in hand, of course.
This plantation-style bar, with unparalleled vistas stretching over Circular Quay and the Harbour Bridge, offers a select food menu with Caribbean inclinations, a curated cocktail list and ample choices of dark liquors – rum and whiskey being the natural preferences. At Hacienda, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the pastel-heavy palette combined with lush greenery, that's artfully strewn throughout.
61 Macquarie Street, Sydney
Arguably Sydney’s most instagrammed view, when it comes to alfresco dining, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Pair uninterrupted harbour views with the Opera Bar’s Mediterranean eats and a well-stocked bar, and you're pretty much all set. Take any Sydneysider’s advice: come for the sunset and stay for the city lights.
Macquarie Street, Sydney
Overlooking Circular Quay, Rookpool’s Bar Patron is the place to head when you're in the mood for tacos and tequila. The bar, which is fitted out like a retro hacienda, serves up familiar Mexican favourites with a touch of fine dining sophistication. The refined menu pairs perfectly with their top shelf liquor offering.
2 Phillip Street, Sydney
Four Seasons’ very moody, dimly-lit bar known as Grain, is a frequented watering hole near Circular Quay. Based beside the entrance of the hotel, the humble bar boasts bespoke craft beers and an impressive organic and biodynamic wine list. For those desiring a more potent dash of alcohol, there’s a wide range of international whiskies and classic cocktails with contemporary twists.
199 George Street, Sydney
One of Sydney’s favourites, Blu Bar on 36, has dramatic views overlooking Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and the Opera House, is hard to name a more opulent setting for an evening tipple. The drink list is expansive– flush with both house specialities and classics– while the bar food menu succeeds in satiating any late-night cravings.
Shangri-La Hotel, 36, 176 Cumberland St, Sydney
Giving life to its historic digs, this ex-boarding house and opium den is now a cosy underground bar known as The Doss House. With a range of over 150 whiskies, you can decide to pair your drink with a delectable morsel from the share plate menu. This character-filled bar is a must-visit for history buffs, whisky enthusiasts and bar lovers alike.
77 – 79 George Street, The Rocks
Calling the The Orient home, Mrs Jones is a beautiful, open-air oasis. Following on from the paddock-to-plate ethos of the historic pub, Mrs Jones' food offering and well-edited cocktail and wine menu more than delivers on quality. Although on-trend with its botanic-inspired murals and scattered greenery, like The Orient, Mrs Jones retains a sense of its history.
1 Kendall Lane, The Rocks
What better way to spend a Sydney evening, than getting stuck into beer and cheeses against the backdrop of some of the city's finest landmarks? Offering Quayside views (without the Quay price tag), indulge in batch beers, brewed on site in their microbrewery.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay Way, The Rocks