There was a time when hotel bars set the standard for high class drinking – and when it comes to luxe boozing, Sydney’s upmarket hotels still know how to do it right. Right now there is no buzzier spot than the new-look Cuban-inspired cocktail lounge at the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. The glassed in box jutting out over the concourse was always a bar, but a beautifully executed refurb has made this a destination for Sydney high flyers. Look out over the Harbour and order up a Campfire Espresso Martini – it’s made with Patrón XO Café and toasted marshmallow syrup. Winter never tasted, or looked, so good.
Darling Harbour is home to its very own version of the legendary Ibiza bar, and the view is pure sea and skyline. Kick back on the huge balcony with a selection of tapas and an Espresso Del Mar, made with Patrón XO Café, hazelnut syrup and butterscotch. Take it all in while enjoying the chilled-out tunes that have made Café del Mar famous the world over. If you pop in over the weekend, you might even be lucky enough to catch an international DJ on the decks.
Sydney loves a rooftop and the Hyatt's Zephyr Bar has a hella good one. Located in between the CBD and Darling Harbour, this open-air hotel bar has sweeping views of the harbour and plenty of room to take it all in. Try the Acoustic Mist Espresso Martini, and if you’re feeling peckish order some chickpea croquettes with guacamole and lime to go with it. Get there at sunset and you’ll see all the way past the Anzac Bridge as the sky turns pink, then blue and the city lights begin to shimmer along the skyline.
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. Arrive early (really early) and snag a seat facing the Harbour Bridge. There are plenty of tower flame-heaters to ensure winter doesn’t dissuade anyone from an alfresco drink. Once you’re secure in your prime location, get yourself an Opera Bar Espresso Martini, made with rum, Amaro and Patrón XO Café. There’s no better way to begin a night at the opera (or just a night, really).
A relaxed but slick atmosphere awaits those who get off the Manly Ferry and enter the first restaurant on the left. If a view of the ocean is what you're after, be sure to book ahead for deck seating – in winter you’ll still be nice and toasty thanks to the outdoor heating. Warm up your evening with a sweet sip of the Hugo’s Espresso Martini – it’s made with vanilla vodka and Patrón XO Café. Then kick back and watch the ferries pull in.
Drink and win
Which of these twists on the classic Espresso Martini takes your fancy?