Beauty and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Opera Bar is a glam exception to the rule. It manages to be both one of the most enviably located bars in the city as well as its most advantageous spot for a pre-show drink.
On the day you snag a seat facing the Harbour Bridge up on the raised promenade you should go buy a lottery ticket, because lady luck has smiled on you. The tables up there are prized for scenic boozing the way a hilltop fortress and a cellar full of potatoes are coveted during a siege.
If you want to complete the perfect Sydney Instagram pic with a cocktail they have about a dozen concoctions that favour sweet, fruity, brightly coloured ingredients designed to pop with the right filter. We recommend ordering a classic instead – a Negroni is never a bad idea – but there is no fault to be found with a round of tall, crisp glasses of Peroni, either. In fact, your cash dollars and good times will go a lot further if you stick to the taps that offer Endeavour’s Grower’s pale ale, Little Creatures Pilsner, James Squire 150 Lashes, and the house organic pale ale.
You can order high-end pub staples that hover around the $30 mark if you’re stinging for a hot meal, but a night at the Opera House is still a treat worth savouring. Grazing is the optimal snack pace here. There’s a set cheese and meat board on the menu, but it’s worth wandering over to the dedicated small goods counter if you want to pick’n’mix. Given you’re already sipping sparkling by the harbour you may as well go full toff and order half a dozen oysters or four fat, rosy king prawns and enjoy the brief dalliance with the finer things.
Recent renovations added a swathe of golden timber to warm up the concrete concourse and there are plenty of tower flame heaters to ensure winter doesn’t dissuade anyone from an alfresco drink. But strip it all away and Opera Bar remains much the same. We’re all for the addition of daily live music and a more expansive menu that even has a café component for early risers. But peerless views and pre-show sparkling – that's what Opera Bar has always been about. And thankfully, still is.