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Museum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks
Photograph: Hamilton Lund; Destination NSWMuseum of Contemporary Art in The Rocks

The Rocks area guide

Restaurants, bars, shops and events in the Rocks

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Tourist-friendly it remains, but the big news out of the Rocks is that it's no longer off-limits to locals. A higher concentration on fine grain creativity has enriched this historic part of Sydney and today its famous cobblestones regularly come alive for visitors of all ages and tastes.

There's still high-class restaurantshistoric pubs, curio shops selling Australiana and rustic cafes galore but now local artisans also sell their independent wares from pop-up shops, troubadours busk from corners and burlesque performers set up their red-light delights in the many alleyways and coves.

Community gatherings are also plentiful hereabouts – the Rocks' Friday night markets are thriving and street festivals devoted to music, coffee, beer, light installations and more activate throughout the year. It's now common for culture vultures hitting the nearby Opera House and Walsh Bay theatres to wet their whistles, fill their bellies and fuel their conversations in The Rocks before and after shows. And why not? With zillion dollar views across the Harbour, ferry, bus and train connections close by and surprises around every corner, the Rocks is rocking once more.

The best restaurants in the Rocks

Quay

Quay

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • price 4 of 4

Why does Sydney’s preeminent fine diner still deserve the crown? Let us count the ways

Sake the Rocks

Sake the Rocks

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

In an area more known for its beer swilling than cocktail drinking, Saké stands out. And it should – there’s some excitement to be found...

Kansas City Shuffle

Kansas City Shuffle

  • 4 out of 5 stars

All other cafes in the Rocks, please exit here – there's a new café in town

Rosetta Ristorante

Rosetta Ristorante

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

An inner-city Italian with the trappings of a high end diner secretly specialises in the comfort classics you know and love

The Cut Bar and Grill

The Cut Bar and Grill

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

Cut to the chase and order the steak at this Rocks restaurant

Baroque Bistro

Baroque Bistro

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

Dine in the Rocks without breaking the budget at this new French bistro

The best bars in the Rocks

Maybe Sammy

Maybe Sammy

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

Retro seldom feels so right, and almost never so right-now as this vintage-styled, Italian cocktail bar in the Rocks

Glenmore Hotel

Glenmore Hotel

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 1 of 4

The Glenmore lifts us up where we belong - with cold beers on their sunny rooftop

The Doss House

The Doss House

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

This whisky specialist delves into its past to emerge as a fully realised crowd favourite

Grain Bar

Grain Bar

  • 4 out of 5 stars

Head down to Circular Quay to sample one of the city’s best whisky collections

Harts Pub

Harts Pub

  • 3 out of 5 stars

This historic pocket in Sydney is still our readers’ number one pick for after-work drinks

Blu Bar on 36

Blu Bar on 36

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • price 3 of 4

If you thought our city looked good from street level, wait until you see it from 36 stories up

Tap Rooms

Tap Rooms

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • price 2 of 4

It might be a tourist hot-spot, but the Rocks is suddenly punching above its weight in barbecue and beers

Some other venues in the Rocks

Chi, The Spa

Chi, The Spa

Tap into ‘chi’ – the life force of the universe – at this soothing spa in the Shangri-La Hotel

BridgeClimb

BridgeClimb

  • price 3 of 4

Take a walk over the most iconic bridge in the world and get a bird's eye view of Sydney that's worth every penny

The best hotels in the Rocks

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney

Overlooking Sydney's historic Rocks area, Four Seasons Hotel offers free WiFi, a bar, restaurant, fitness centre and swimming pool. Situated in Sydney CBD...

Grain Bar

Grain Bar

  • 4 out of 5 stars

Head down to Circular Quay to sample one of the city’s best whisky collections

Quay West - The Scout Group

Quay West - The Scout Group

Set 400 metres from Circular Quay and 400 metres from Overseas Passenger Terminal, Quay West - The Scout Group offers accommodation in Sydney. Featuring free...

What's on in the Rocks

Laneway Cinema

Laneway Cinema

Free movies down at the Rocks, washed down with a hot toddie. Why are you waiting?

The Rocks
Doug Aitken: New Era

Doug Aitken: New Era

Be immersed in this influential American artist’s first major show down under, exclusive to Sydney

The Rocks
Primavera

Primavera

Discover the art stars of tomorrow today in the MCA's annual showcase of fresh talent

The Rocks