If there's one thing Australian bar and restaurant owners know how to do, it's how to make the best of a vacant roof space. There are over 40 rooftop bars in Sydney, so wherever you're staying in the city, you can pretty much guarantee there'll be a rooftop bar somewhere nearby.
There are rooftop bars with fantastic views of Sydney Harbour and Harbour Bridge, rooftop bars with incredible views of the city skyline, and even rooftop bars from where you can see the Sydney Opera House. The rooftop bars in Sydney are not short on style either, so whichever one you choose to drink in, you'll be in for a classy night.
Not all of the rooftop bars Sydney are super sophisticated drinking holes with views of the Sydney skyline. Some of them, although they're high up, are more down-to-earth. You can even find a rooftop sports bar if you look hard enough. This is ideal when you're not in the mood for a posh night out or just want a quiet drink after you've been shopping in Sydney.
Posh or not, you won't want to be going to any of the Sydney rooftop bars lumbered with luggage. If you need somewhere to store your bags, then you'll find Bounce luggage lockers are a great option. Bounce luggage lockers are always conveniently located for easy access, security tagged for safety, and comprehensively insured for your peace of mind.
The Best Rooftop Bars - Sydney
With so many excellent rooftop bars in Sydney, it's difficult to say one is better than the other. They all have their own individual characteristics, make superb signature cocktails, and many also have great food menus. The only way to truly find out which is the best rooftop bar here is to try each and every one for yourself. Go prepared; it'll be a lengthy job, but to get you started, here are some you shouldn't miss if you get the chance.
Helm Bar and Bistro
What's it like:
When you want to spoil yourself with a swanky day out, then the Helm Bar and Bistro is the ideal rooftop bar to head for. The Helm looks out over Darling Harbour, but that's not its best feature. This two-level rooftop bar also has a swimming pool, so if you want to get some exercise or just chill and catch some rays, then you can.
At the Helm, they serve several special menus, including a $15 dollar lunch and dinner menu two days a week, a bottomless brunch menu on the weekends, and a bar banquet menu that will have you licking your lips. The Helm is a popular spot to frequent in Darling Harbour, so reserve a table before going, or you might not get one.
A tangy Cosmopolitan cocktail and a healthy salmon poke bowl with a side of buffalo wings just for the fun of it.
Wheat Road, 7. Darling Harbour
What's it like:
The Sydney Opera House in Sydney Harbour is, without a doubt, the city's most iconic building. Take a table at The Rocks, the rooftop terrace and beer garden of the Glenmore Hotel, and that's exactly what you'll be looking at.
While The Rock does open during the day, the Sydney skyline you can see from this rooftop terrace is a hundred times more impressive at night. The bar décor here doesn't outshine the views and is bordering on basic, as is the food. When you want somewhere that's friendly, comfortable, and inexpensive, this is the rooftop bar to go to.
For something simple but tasty, The Rocks Burger with a beef patty, cheese, beetroot, and a special Glenmore sauce washed down with a cold beer works a treat.
Cumberland Street, 96
What's it like:
If you're wandering around Darling Harbour, you can go from The Rocks to Zephyr, which is akin to going from bog standard basic to sublime. Zephyr is the rooftop bar of the five-star Hyatt Regency Sydney Hotel. Twelve floors up, this rooftop bar seems to be aiming for the celestial and gets pretty close. It is, without a doubt, one of the best rooftop bars in Sydney.
The bar has a retractable roof and windows, so if it happens to be raining, as it can on rare occasions, you can still sit and sip a sophisticated cocktail without getting your tuxedo damp. Yes, you'll need to dress up to go to this award-winning sky bar, which overlooks Darling Harbour. If you don't, you'll feel totally out of place.
The drinks list at Zephyr is literally as long as your arm as they stock a never-ending variety of beers and spirits and knock up an incredible menu of bespoke cocktails. Food is simpler but expect high quality. Here they serve fresh oysters on a bed of ice, make sliders with wagyu beef, and turn lobster into popcorn. If you like out of the ordinary, you'll love this place.
Go for an Asian-themed meal and try the Peking duck crepe with hoisin sauce, then sacrifice dessert and have a chocolate caramel espresso instead.
Sussex Street, 161, Level 12
What's it like:
Untied Sydney is a unique rooftop bar in the Bangaroo district of the city with a strong ethos to support everything Australian. Almost like a sky-high garden terrace, the décor of this Sydney rooftop bar was inspired by the North Queensland rainforests and boasts several trees scattered among the metal tables and chairs.
At Untied, they honor the great Australian tradition of the barbie and serve plenty of dishes from the grill as well as fresh salads to go with them. The bar is also well-stocked with Australian wine, a good selection of spirits, and lots of Australian-themed cocktails.
Greek-style kebabs accompanied by a bottle of Australian sauvignon blanc.
Barangaroo Avenue, 400, Level 4
Nick and Nora's
What's it like:
In Sydney, Rooftop bars don't get much higher than Nick and Nora's in the city's Parramatta district. This rooftop bar is located on the 26th floor of the Skye Suites Hotel and has a décor inspired by a 1930s detective novel. Go to this killer rooftop bar, and you can forget about drinking at a sunny rooftop bar. It's a dark and plush speakeasy-style joint perfect for a night out where you're inside but still have views of the city skyline.
The 1930s theme of the bar is continued with the food and drink too. Here, decadence is the order of the day so think champagne, creative cocktails, and nibbles elevated to a high level. Canapes, caviar, oysters, and gin-soaked olives are just a few of the things you can have to go with your champagne cocktail. They also do a good range of sharing plates too.
For a light snack, try the crispy prawns or the kingfish sashimi, either of which goes well with an Asa Akira cocktail made from Plymouth gin, sake, and melon brine.
Macquarie Street, 45, Level 26
What's it like:
If you have a hankering to sit on a sunny terrace under a frilly pink parasol when you're in Sydney, then you should go to Slims Rooftop. This rooftop bar is even higher than Nick and Nora's and occupies the 47th floor of a residential building called Hyde Park House in the city's Darlinghurst district.
While Slims Rooftop might not be one of the best rooftop bars in Sydney, the one thing you'll be guaranteed if you go to Slim's, apart from service that's on the slow side, is uninterrupted views of the city skyline, in particular, Sydney CBD and, if you're there at the right time, the sunset.
Views of Sydney CBD might not seem like a huge crowd magnet, but Slim's is a roof terrace with a capacity for 300 people, and it gets full most days. It's so popular, in fact, you need to book online to make sure of getting a table. That could be down to the fact that workers in the Sydney CBD like to look at their office from afar when they've finished work.
The favorite days for dropping by Slim's are Saturday and Sunday, when they serve a bottomless brunch from midday onwards. You only get your table for two hours, so don't consider dawdling over your brunch, or you'll be sent home hungry.
Weekend brunches aren't all they dish out at Slims. They also serve lunch and dinner on weekdays as well as drinks all day every day. Stay here from ten in the morning until it closes at three the next morning, and you could find yourself considering getting a bank loan to cover the cost.
At this Sydney rooftop bar, our recommendation has to be the English-style roast beef dinner, complete with Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Pair that with a beer or glass of red wine, and if it wasn't so sunny, you could imagine you were in the UK.
William Street, 49, Level 47
What's it like:
When you want to spice up a night out in Sydney, you need to go to the Babylon Rooftop. This rooftop restaurant has an outdoor terrace that was reputedly inspired by one of the old wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
This rooftop restaurant is located at the top of the Westfield Sydney Shopping Center, so it's an ideal place to drop into if you've worked up an appetite while shopping in Sydney. The shopping center may close at seven in the evening, but the rooftop restaurant stays open a lot longer.
The food on offer here isn't Asian or Indian but more Turkish-inspired. It's a place that likes to go all out to keep their customers content, too, so you can expect weekend bottomless brunches, early evening happy hours during the week, and live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Unless you're traveling alone, go for the tasting menu, which consists of eight different dishes. If you're vegetarian, you'll appreciate their Flora menu, which has a great variety of vegetarian dishes.
Corner of Pitt Street Mall and Market Street, Level 7
What's it like:
The Zeta Bar is the rooftop bar of the Hilton Sydney Hotel. While the bar's interior has the upmarket, leather-clad sophistication of a vintage club for men, its outdoor patio area is more basic but does have superb views of the Queen Victoria Building to make up for its mundanity.
This rooftop bar offers sophistication on a grand scale and high-level mixology as far as cocktails are concerned. If you want a Tom Cruise-style show while waiting to get your drink, then you'll get it here. What you won't get is dinner, as this rooftop bar serves bar snacks only.
Once the weekend arrives, the Zeta Bar turns into a nightclub from nine o'clock onwards. Nightclub night or not, if you're into smoking coconuts or 50 different types of whiskey, including Japanese whiskey, you'll enjoy stopping by here for drinks.
Our recommendation would have to be a plate of Hell's Chicken Wings or, if you're not in a spicy mood, the duck terrine. For drinks, take your time deciding, but the Coconut Grenade is a real attention grabber. If you're not into tropical flavors, go for a Pink Haze made from rhubarb-infused gin instead.
George Street, 488, Level 4
There truly are so many rooftop bars in Sydney that the only way to decide which are the best rooftop bars out of the bunch is to go to as many as you can. That, in all honesty, won't be too much of a hardship as the best rooftop bars in Sydney are world-class.
Whether you prefer a rooftop bar with a retractable roof, a rooftop bar inspired by a rainforest, or a rooftop terrace that's been turned into a proverbial garden, you'll find it in this Aussie city. There are rooftop bars in Sydney that will feed you gin-soaked olives and others where you can partake of innovative dishes cooked with flair or, if you prefer, on the barbecue. Which rooftop bar is best for you is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but make sure you have fun doing it. Remember, not all your drinking and dining needs to be done on the ground floor!