Sydney’s a sunshine town – and these bars, pubs and restaurants know it. Whether it’s a sunny courtyard, a sandy beachfront bar, a rooftop haven or a leafy beer garden, these are the spots to get your alfresco fix in the Emerald City. Then, when it comes to getting the cheque, you can pay in confidence knowing these venues welcome American Express.
This waterfront hotel is well worth the drive (or ferry) to South Head. Sitting out on the terrace with a glass of dry rosé and a bucket of fresh prawns is pretty hard to beat. Add in crab races, ombre sunsets, water views and seafood and you’ll want to make a little day trip out here as often as possible.
There are few places in Sydney that can match the Barracks for pomp and jaw-dropping views. We’re not talking a little corridor of harbour. The Gunners’ Barracks has a 180 degree, uninterrupted, waterfront panorama that stretches from the CBD all the way round to North Head, so be sure to request a spot on the big, airy verandah to take full advantage of it.
The beautiful thing about this old boozer is that it’s a pub designed to facilitate a good time on your terms. Many of these are had in the beer garden, where you can bring your dog (or kid) and kick back with a jug of Stone and Wood Pacific Ale and a big serve of proper Tex-Mex style nachos.
Head through a cobbled laneway below a grand sandstone building on Kent Street and you’ll find Since I Left You’s courtyard canopied in fairy lights. Tall city buildings surround it on all sides and local soul band Audio Soup cranks sexy covers of Bill Withers and Charles and Eddie. Order a boozy mezcal Negroni – the woody smokiness is a good match with owner Nick White’s whipped and creamy “famous guacamole”.
It’s a traditional pub up the front and a garden party up the back of this Double Bay staple. Head to the beer garden, where there’s live acoustic tunes on Sundays and bring your dog – it’s very pooch-friendly. They’ve expanded the gazebo to ensure it never rains on this alfresco party parade, but on a nice day there’s still room for you to sit outside under the golden Veuve Clicquot umbrellas and enjoy a wagyu burger or a juicy the grain fed sirloin.
You have to get here early if you want to nab one of the prized outdoor tables – the comfy black-and-white striped centre benches, once secured, are rarely surrendered for the evening. If you’re lucky to nab one, orders up tacos to sip with your Bloody Mary, which comes served in a recycled tomato tin.
Sunny surf energy, Californian food and a touch of fiesta have all found their way to a private deck on Young Street, giving Neutral Bay it’s own rooftop bar with a charming holiday narrative. There are palm trees and hanging plants, a coastal paint palette and coloured festoon lighting, which all channel cool, carefree Venice Beach vibes.
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 and snack. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, it’s worth heading up to the raised promenade to enjoy freshly shucked oysters, crab rolls or spanner crab linguine.
Aside from the Bondi beach, this bowling club should be your next barefoot destination. Prop yourself up on a picnic tables shaded by crimson umbrellas and fuel up with a slow cooked lamb gyros or a kilo of hot wings with blue cheese sauce, all before trying your hand at a game of bowls in the sunshine.
Outdoor terraces are surprisingly few and far between in this neck of the woods, making the little Astro-Turfed pocket of this pub a prime spot for sinking a cold one. There’s an all-weather TV for watching the footy, picnic tables and festooned lights, plus they know how to do an excellent schnitty.