The best rooftop bars in Sydney

Down an amber ale in the afternoon sun or see the city from on high at Sydney's best rooftop bars

Photograph: Anna Kucera

We're all for a late night hootenanny, but sometimes there's nothing better than bending the elbow with the sun on your back and a cool drink to keep things chill. And we're not alone. Sydney's rooftop bars account for some of the most popular, and hard won, seats in the city, so get in quick for the glory spots with the best views.

For more al fresco drinking try one of Sydney's best beer gardens, or waterfront bars.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best bars in Sydney.

Sydney's best rooftop bars


Coogee Pavilion

The Coogee Pavilion and its spectacular rooftop are making a serious play for our number one summertime hauntGo here for cold-pressed juice highballs, tasty meats cooked over coals and the uninterrupted glory of the Sydney coastline.


East Village Hotel

We don’t need to tell you how much Sydney loves a rooftop bar, and the top floor addition to the East Village Hotel (previously the Darlo Village) is an A-grade, lofty drinking perch. Sure, if cardio isn’t your friend you may even find you have to take a breather at the second floor, but that’s not going to be a problem because that’s where they added the Athletic Club, a vintage sports-themed bar that has a very toffy, “I went to Eton during the Downton Abbey years” vibe about it. 



It’s only once you’re sitting on the beautiful deck of this third-floor cocktail lounge that you realise that it was the missing piece of Sydney’s bar puzzle all along. The Solotel group went and made Opera Bar a suave sister in the form of Smoke – the crowning glory of Barangaroo House. Up here, things are strictly professional. You are greeted at the entranceway, shown to a seat, started a tab and possibly given a time limit until the next booking arrives (they do not follow the finders keepers rules here). 


The Light Brigade

Like Narcissus staring adoringly at his own reflection, Sydney’s a city enamoured with its own good looks, hence our obsession with rooftop bars. Happily there’s a rooftop in town where you can do just that. The open-air, top floor bar is definitely the jewel in the Light Brigade’s rejuvenated crown. The old pub underwent extensive changes since the Bayfield family took ownership a few years back, and adding the top floor bar was a power move that makes the most of the pub’s prime Oxford Street location, with views stretching from Paddington clear across to the Coathanger. 


Glenmore Hotel

There are few views in Sydney that can rival the majesty of the harbour panorama from rooftop of the Glenmore Hotel down in the Rocks. It's always a good bet for when you have visitors from out of town and weekends get crowded, but we're just as keen on heading here on a Monday for a $12 steak and a quiet drink with mates.

The Rocks

Henry Deane

Up on top of the newly renovated Hotel Palisade is a new bar called Henry Deane, which is taking your after work drinks in the Rocks to great new heights, and we're guessing will be a hotly contested space for the New Year's fireworks displays.

Millers Point

Hotel Sweeney's

Getting to the roof of this bar is like an Olympic event, but it's worth it when you get there. Make your way to the top of this tower and be rewarded with tooth-freezingly cold Peronis and great views over the big city canopy.


Level Seven at the Primus Hotel

Spring is getting closer with each day so we're starting to form a bit of a sunshine bucket list. At the top of that list? Drinks on the swankiest rooftop we can find. Luckily for us the CBD has a brand spankin' new alfresco oasis to add to your hit list. Until recently the bar was only available to hotel guests, but now anyone can pop in for oysters and rosé spritzers. Add in striped private cabanas, plenty of greenery and poolside DJs and you've got a serious sunset destination on your hands. 

By: Jordan Kretchmer

Ivy Pool Club

Everyone has an opinion about the Pool Club. But when you get down to it, the fact that you can get your gills wet up high in the heart of the city, cold drink in hand, is undeniably awesome. And there's usually a hot bod or two to gawp at.


The Taphouse

Craft beers are all the rage in Sydney right now and there’s no better place to try a bunch of weird stuff all in one go than the Local Taphouse. Head upstairs to the rooftop bar, sit back in the warm sunshine, order a tasting paddle and really make a day of it.


The Rook

We’re of the opinion that any high-rise in Sydney that could have a cracking cocktail bar on its roof and doesn’t is a tragic waste of lofty boozing opportunities. And one that does lobster and burgers is definitely making it onto the Christmas card list. There’s just something so much better about drinking at altitude and dinner on high.


Supper Club

If you ever want to feel like a celebrity for an evening, the rooftop bar at the InterContinental Hotel is the place to do it. What was originally reserved as a club bar for guests has been opened up to the public after 9pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays, but you will need to book. 

Circular Quay

SoCal Neutral Bay

The people behind Bondi Hardware and The Botanist have opened a Southern Californian-style restaurant and bar with a sunny rooftop for the consumption of quesadillas, ceviche, hot dogs and tacos.

Neutral Bay

The Hotel Steyne

By far our favourite part of the Steyne is the pirate-themed rum and cider bar up on the top floor, with spectacular views out over the breakers from the balcony and a stage at one end for live bands. 


Sweethearts Rooftop

First things first: book. Do not try to just walk up to this place as you will in all likelihood be denied entry by the door girl because the place is at capacity. To be fair, she’s downstairs and does ensure you don’t drag yourself up seven flights of stairs only to be greeted with a packed-out balcony. So that’s a plus. 

Potts Point


A friendly neighbourhood bar that is not much wider than its moniker suggests, they do long necks, local wines, a few craft beers, simple cocktails and a few snacks. Prized real estate is the open rooftop overlooking Newtown's backstreets.


Zeta Bar

You'll get an exceptional cocktail here – the crew behind the bar make all their own syrups. The list can get a bit la-di-da with all kinds of vanilla- infused hooey, but stand out on their deck overlooking the QVB with a Moscow Mule and be happy.


The Bristol Arms

Unless you are desperately afraid of heights, we recommend heading for the fifth floor at this newly refurbed city pub. The rooftop is the crowning glory. You’ll feel like the king of the castle under the ropes of pearl bulbs with a wagyu minute steak sandwich in one hand, a Peroni in the other and a little Florence Welch on the stereo.

Darling Harbour

Strawberry Hills Hotel

Once a wizened watering hole for elderly gents and gig-goers spilling over from the nearby Gaelic Club, the Strawberry Hills has been rebirthed as a hipster hideaway following a snazzy refurbishment and a late-night license that’s as rare as hen’s teeth. All the action is to be found upstairs out on the rooftop terrace that is open to the night sky.

Surry Hills

Metropolitan Hotel

The Metropolitan Hotel has reopened after extensive renovations, which means you can once again enjoy your pulled lamb sliders, fancy fish and chips and sausages and mash on the rooftop terrace that overlooks George and Bridge Streets.


Prefer seaside drinks?