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Bradleys Head NYE
Photograph: Kelly Hulme

New Year's Eve parties in Sydney

Book ahead for a spectacular night to send off 2020, with a feast for ages or a party with views of the fireworks

By Alannah Maher and Time Out editors
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Sydney’s loves to show off its harbour by splashing it with gloriously multicoloured lights every now and then, from the spectacle of Vivid in winter to the internationally renowned NYE fireworks display. We've almost reached the end of the longest year on record (or at least, that's how it feels), we're allowed out of our houses – and it's time to par-tay.

It’s time to start planning your New Year’s Eve celebrations. Harbourside patches of grass are highly coveted on any usual year – they fill up fast for the count-down to midnight – but this year calls for more thorough planning. You'll need a permit to be in the CBD, read more about that here

To help you plan, we've picked out the best ways to do New Year's Eve in Sydney – including fancy ticketed dos, and restaurants taking bookings for feasts to see out the year. 

Need to wash off the bad vibes? Freshen up with a splash at Sydney’s best beaches on New Year's Day

RECOMMENDED: The best events at Sydney Festival 2021.

New Year's Eve events

NYE at Opera Bar
Photograph: Supplied

1. Opera Bar

Bars Sydney

You couldn’t ask for better views of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks than from across the Harbour, nestled in next to the Opera House at its waterside bar. At this adults-only affair you can see off 2020 in style at this cocktail-style standing event with live musicians, roving entertainers and dishes throughout the night to ward off hunger. Tickets are $450 per person, get yours here.

Fireworks burst above the Sydney Opera House
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Opera House

2. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is hosting not one, but three NYE dinners in different locations under those famous white sails where you’ll have unobstructed views of the fireworks. At Portside you’ll have canapes outdoors and undercover as dance duo Sneaky Sound System will play you into 2021 ($550-$750), in the Yallamundi Rooms there’s a four-course dinner and roving entertainers ($750-$795), and there’ll be a five-course deluxe feast in the northern foyers of the Joan Sutherland Theatre with more entertainers ($850-$895). Each option includes a free-flowing beverage package with Champagne, wine and beer. Find out more and make a booking here.

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People dining outside at Barangaroo House
Photograph: Supplied

3. Barangaroo House

Bars Darling Harbour

There’s three ways to play at Barangaroo House this NYE. On the rooftop level Touch Sensitive, Wax’o Paradiso and DJ Kali bring the beats to Smoke – tickets are $349 including a three-hour beverage package and share food. For more of a restaurant vibe, book in at Bea on level 2, where for $249 you can tuck into a shared feast and drinks package while the aforementioned acts will get the party going. They’re keeping things casual downstairs at House Bar, just book a table and sort yourselves out at the bar as DJs spin from 4pm-late. Find out more and make a booking here.

4. The Winery

Bars Surry Hills

At this Crown Street drinking hole, fairy lights twinkle over picturesque collections of garden benches, frangipani trees and sweet little cast-iron tables. So basically, it's not a bad place at all to ring in the new year at all. Swing by for a three-course 'Disco Drag Dinner', with drinks free-flowing for three hours, as a DJ is be on deck playing bangin' disco favourites all night long. It's 179 per person. Book here.

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Luxury cruise boat soars past Sydney Opera House.
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Luxury Cruise

5. Sydney Luxury Cruise

Ring in the new year floating in a luxury vessel on Sydney Harbour. Sydney Luxury Cruise is offering six-hour BYO private cruise specials with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and a grazing platter. This year they’re offering a special discounted price on this luxe affair, starting at $1185 per person for a group of eight guests to board the MV Inception and $1600 per person for a group of five guests on MV Bel (this would usually be a minimum of $2000 per person and booked out one to two years in advance). Head here to find out more or call 1300 476 247.

View of harbour bar at Zephyr Bar
Photograph: Supplied

6. Zephyr Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Darling Harbour

You’ll see in the new year with panoramic views of Darling Harbour and a live DJ at this adults-only VIP rooftop party. Tickets to this sky high affair will set you back $399, which includes canapes, deserts, and four hour beverage package. Head here to make a booking or email zephyrbarsydney@hyatt.com.

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Manly Wines
Photograph: Anna Kucera

7. Manly Wine

Bars Manly

This waterfront spot is primarily a wine bar, but that doesn't mean it won't have vibes this NYE.  Hit up this Northern favourite its beachside cherry blossom garden, which'll make you feel like you've been whisked away to Japan (even if you haven't left the state this year). Pick the 'Feed Me' menu for $79 per person, and add on drinks for just $35 each. You can level it up to 'premium' drinks for a sneak extra tenner. Book here.

Waiter at Hubert
Photograph: Anna Kucera

8. Hubert

Restaurants French Sydney

This jazzy underground CBD French bistro is hosting an extravagant New Year's Eve party with a decadent six course feast, Champagne upon arrival and live jazz courtesy of Calvin Welch and his quartet. On the menu you’ll find dishes like Australian rock lobster with a yuzu vinaigrette, and a main course of Chateaubriand à la truffle (a Wagyu eye fillet grilled with truffled jus gras and sauce Foyot). On the digestif trolley, expect magnums of Brut, Burgundy and Riesling. This indulgent affair is $399 per person, including all six-courses and Champagne on arrival. Private dining rooms and group reservations are available for up to 30 people. There are two sittings for the night, from 6pm-8pm or 8.30pm until late. Make a reservation here.

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Restaurant in Botanic Gardens with pond
Photograph: Supplied/Trippas White Group

9. Botanic House

Restaurants Asian Sydney

Ring in the New Year amongst the lush surrounds of the Royal Botanic Garden with clear views of the Sydney Harbour fireworks at Botanic House. Luke Nguyen has designed a six-course degustation with free-flowing drinks and entertainment for $600 per person. Make a booking here.

O Bar and Dining
Photograph: Anliette

10. O Bar and Dining

Restaurants Modern Australian Sydney

If you’re looking for a special view for a special occasion, the gentle rotation of the outer circle of O Bar and Dining will provide you with panoramic views of Sydney, its Harbour and the fireworks. This fine diner is putting on an eight-course degustation to see out the year with a glass of NV Louis Roederer Brut on arrival. It’ll set you back $695, or add on a matched drink pairing and a guaranteed window table for $875. Make a reservation here.

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Revolving restaurant
Photograph: Sydney Tower/Robert Walsh

11. Infinity at Sydney Tower

Enter the new year in the clouds, with prime fireworks viewing from 81 levels above the city at Sydney Tower’s stylish new revolving restaurant. Executive chef Darren Templeman has designed a six-course set menu with matching wines ($600, or $650 for a guaranteed window table). Book here.

New Year's Eve champagne
Photograph: Unsplash/jeshoots.com

12. The Langham Sydney

Travel Millers Point

The Rocks’ home of luxury and high tea will allow you to toast your loved ones in style with an extravagant ‘buffet to table’ dining experience with a screen to watch the fireworks display. Make a booking from 6pm for $198 for adults (including drinks package) and $58 for kids here.

For a more low-key send off to 2020

Food spread at Sang by Mabasa
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Sáng by Mabasa

Restaurants Korean Surry Hills

This modern Korean diner is at the top of the Surry Hills dining hit list. New Year’s Eve could be your perfect excuse to make it your port of call. The set menu changes weekly, and you can expect to taste dishes like Maemil Jeonbyeong (a stir-fried kimchi and tofu buckwheat wrap) and Yang-nyeom Chicken (Korean fried chicken coated in sweet-spicy marinade). This small space can seat up to 11 diners at one time, with two sessions a night. Make a booking here.

Sydney Seaplanes Empire Lounge
Photograph: Supplied

Empire Lounge

Bars Cocktail bars Rose Bay

A seaplane departure lounge may not be your first port of call when you’re looking to book in NYE – but trust us, this is where the views are at.  Be gretted with a glass of Chandon Brut, followed by a four-course meal, featuring fresh Appellation Oysters, prawn tacos, tuna tostadas, lamb ribs and a whole lot more. If you're not keen to see out the year until midnight, that's not a problem – just pick the early seating (it's $130 per person, while the later seating it $160 per person). 

 

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People at bar at Hartsyard Enmore
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Hartsyard

Restaurants Modern Australian Newtown

This Enmore Road institution is serving up a seven-course tasting menu on New Year’s Eve for $140 with a drink on arrival. The food here veers into casual fine-diner territory, with the latest iteration embracing more veggies than its beginnings as the place that sparked Sydney’s soon red-hot desire for fried chicken. There’s two sittings, at 6pm and 8.30pm. Make a booking here.

Table with plates of different dishes including scallops and ceviche.
Photograph: Nikkie Bar & Restaurant/Bruno Stefani

Nikkei Bar & Restaurant

This Surry Hills spot that serves up Japanese-Peruvian inspired cuisine and fine drinks is doing NYE with a side of signature ceviche. There are two sittings, and for $121 per person you’ll get a sparkling wine or Pisco Sour on arrival followed by multiple shared courses including plenty of seafood and a festive dessert. Book here.

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Plate of dumplings.
Photograph: Supplied/Fei Jai

Fei Jai

With a name that means ‘fat boy’ in Cantonese, this Potts Point restaurant is all about serving traditional Chinese food with a contemporary ethos. On New Years Eve you can head here for a six-course set menu for just $75 per person. Head here to make a reservation, there’s multiple sittings to book while they last.

Want to avoid a 2020 headache?

People sitting inside booth eating at Goros Bar Surry Hills
People sitting inside booth eating at Goros Bar Surry Hills
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Where to sober up in Sydney

Restaurants Bars

There’s nothing like the harsh reality of the last call to make you realise how hungry – and perhaps how tipsy – you really are. Sometimes the only way to sort yourself out and curb tomorrow’s hangover is to treat yourself to a feast. Whether you prefer sweet, salty or spicy, we’re here to help keep your hangover at the helm with a cheat sheet for a satisfying late-night meal in Sydney that’ll bring you back to your senses. 

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