We’re not a city short of an epic view, a sky-high feed or open-air drink. And these bars are stepping the elevated game up a massive notch with espresso martinis on tap, indoor cloud trees, apple cider slushies, sunsets for days and palm springs vibes.
Here are all of the best rooftop bars in Sydney.
Menu-wise, Imperial UP has all the goods. We’re talking all your fave Italian dishes like pizza, pasta delivered with a flamboyant twist, and a selection of vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes for those peeps with special dietary requirements (you know who you are). There’s also an extensive alcohol menu that offers an array of jugs and delish cocktails that’ll remind you of the good times and have you dancing well into the night.
East Village Hotel
The rooftop terrace at East Village changes with the seasons—dishing out bright, summery cocktails during the warmer months and a light, fresh menu to match the unbeatable views. Don't worry if you get too hot up there, East Village has installed cooling mist jets and big umbrellas for shade. Come winter, East Village transforms the terrace into a winter wonderland garden complete with a canopy of fairy lights, luxury lambswool throws and even a fireplace to keep you cosy.
The latest addition to Westfield Pitt Street’s dining scene is Babylon. This 800-seat rooftop bar and restaurant has been transformed into an ancient dining metropolis. Boasting a huge liquor menu with over 250 whiskeys, 400 Aussie spirits and 300 bottles of wine, you’re going to need a moment to take your pick. Food-wise, Babylon’s head chef Arman Uz (Efendy) is slinging out meze, gozleme and pide that will have you salivating while reading the menu. Chicken wings with harissa marinade, Turkish tabbouleh and mint yoghurt is a favourite among the crowd.
This greenhouse-style rooftop restaurant and bar sits smack-dab in the middle of North Sydney providing patrons with drop-dead stunning views. Green Moustache is filled with lush palms, ceiling plants, wicker chairs and tiled tabletops. Head over for dinner and order up a plate of fresh blue-swimmer crab pasta with chilli lemon and parmesan.
Get ready to rejoice because the folks from Salt Meats Cheese have opened up a rooftop bar and donned it Bar Ombré. Located on the top of The Gateway in Circular Quay, expect charcuterie boards with house-stretched cheeses and plates of fried calamari and grilled eggplant. But most importantly, grab yourself an Aperol Spritz in carafe form for a wild night ahead.
This open-air terrace is forging all the blush-pink vibes, cacti and a bangin’ cocktail menu to boot. Interior-wise, you’re in for a solid treat with the make-up of this newbie all down to design guru Matt Woods (also responsible for the picturesque Bloodwood and Devon). You should also know these kids rock an apple cider slushie (yes hello, new summer drink, is that you?) packed with all the cracked ice and a special housemade syrup to give it another punch. So yeah, doubt we need to convince you any more to hit this one up stat.
The Rooftop At Manly Greenhouse
Make your way up to The Rooftop at Manly Greenhouse, which preaches everything to do with hanging plants, panoramic views and an indoor cloud tree. Here you'll find bespoke cocktails and a bar menu with a selection of cured meats including LP's mortadella and Blackmore Wagyu beef bresaola and a heap of toasted sandwiches.
Old Mate's Place
Half the fun of this newbie is actually finding it (cue a couple of flights of stairs and an unmarked door). Old Mate's Place bears shelves upon shelves of old-school books and lush plants, and is brought to you by the same crew that gave us Kittyhawk and Lobo Plantation so yeah, the drinks menu is actually off tap. You’ll be in for some pretty stellar views of the city plus a rotating menu offering up one hell of a Philly cheesesteak.
Desigined to resemble a stack of bowls, Barangaroo House is one of a few seriously striking buildings perched by the harbour at Barangaroo. Its top floor is Smoke—a sophisticated rooftop terrace that peers over to Sydney's west, making it one of the best places to catch a sunset in Sydney. As the name suggests, food and drink are smoke-inspired. Cocktails get adventurous with liquids, ice and ingredients like rosemary and cinnamon all getting the smoke treatment—but you can still order a classic Negroni, or a vino from the 400-strong wine list. Executive Chef Tom Hayne's crab sambo, Wagyu slider and fried smoked brisket doughnuts are each the stuff of legend.
South King Recreation Club
Boasting a remixed RSL vibe, with all the hallmarks of classic pubs you know and love, South King Recreation Club prides itself on premium schnitty’s, ice cold frothies and frozen chook raffles (not to mention SKRC's epic offering of beer flavoured lamingtons). Occupying the top floor of the beloved Botany View Hotel on South King Street, the bar opens out to a casual rooftop terrace with hanging plants and just the right amount of sunshine.
Meet Mrs Jones. She’s nestled on top of one of the city’s oldest pubs. She’s not the most obvious find so you’ll want to take the first doorway on the right in Sydney’s historic Kendall Lane and follow the stairs all the way to her entrance. The carefully curated list of cocktails is very much reflective of the venue, a mixture of traditional and contemporary. The team here offers all the classics, like negroni’s, sidecars and martini’s as well as apple and cinnamon sours (featuring Fireball whisky, yes please), oh-so-Aussie espresso martinis, and a gin, basil and passionfruit concoction called the "Chelsea smile".
The Local Tap House
If you haven’t been to The Local Tap House yet, I bet anything you’ve driven past it 50 times. So either go back and remember why you loved it or get your tush over there quick smart. The rooftop area is small but mighty, and as the name would suggest, the beer selection is top-notch. When it’s a little chilly, you can warm up with a Sunday roast on the roof, or keep it chill with a bottle of sparkling or a paddle of beers when the sun is out.
Keg & Brew
This heritage-listed hotel now features four levels spanning a ground floor, restaurant, function room floor and—the pièce de résistance—an open plan rooftop bar. The open-air rooftop offers sweeping views of the city and she’s complete with a bar, pizza oven and one of Australia’s largest TV screens so you can round up the crew and watch all the big games.
Sweethearts Rooftop is still killing it in every way. A literal world above the bustle of the area, this chilled out joint has delicious cocktails, craft beers, and a tempting Mexican menu so you don’t need to leave in order to fill up your stomach. When you do, however, be sure to tuck into the torta, it’s a real slice (or slab) of Mexico City.
While you're here, check out all of Sydney's best new openings.
Image credit: Babylon, Green Moustache, Bar Ombré, Manly Greenhouse, Old Mate's Place, Keg & Brew