Sydney rooftop bars ooze instant cool. They help us escape the hustle and bustle of the streets without having to leave the city. They also dose us up on vitamin D, expose us to fresh air, and help us feel like we’re on top of the world—even if we’re only a couple of storeys up. It’s hardly surprising that in a city like Sydney, which bathes in close to 2500 hours of sunlight a year, rooftop bars are a popular choice. With summer in full swing, we’ve picked out some of the most-visit rooftop bars around the city, for sun-soaked drinking sessions.
Rooftop bars in the Sydney CBD
Afterwork drinks calling your name? Showing a visitor the best views of Sydney whilst staying within reach of a cocktail? Sydney’s CBD rooftop bars are a fine lot, so we’ve picked out a handful of our favourites to enjoy at least once.
1. Old Mate’s Place
Old Mate’s Place is a favourite Sydney small bar. They’ve got a top-shelf drinks list as well as a sumptuous Philly Cheesesteak menu. The bar is a place of contrasts; the moody, dark wood of the interiors gives way to a cracker of a rooftop bar filled with lush greenery and some of Sydney’s best Negronis.
📍 Level 4, 199 Clarence Street
2. The Rooftop
Sitting atop the Shelbourne Hotel, the aptly named The Rooftop has some of the best harbour views Sydney has to offer. With a fully retractable roof, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, hanging chairs and garden vibes, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stepped into the Hamptons. Order from the crafted signature cocktail selection and keep an eye on the weekly chef special—but really, you won’t go wrong with any of the seafood, meats or salads on the menu.
📍 200 Sussex Street, CBD
Smoke: the bar that Sydney has always dreamed of. You will be greeted at the entrance, shown to your table and a tab will be opened for you, as all service at Smoke is table service. You will sip on classy cocktails or choose a glass of wine or champagne from a superb list of offerings (which also includes luxury spirits not found elsewhere in Sydney), all while taking in the best possible views of the harbour. If you’re feeling a little moreish, there is also a bar menu, featuring their now-famous skewers. All in all, having a drink at the top of Barangaroo House is more an event than an after-work tipple.
📍 35 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
4. The Old Clare Hotel
Chippendale has become home to art galleries, posh cocktail bars, design studios and some of Sydney’s best restaurants. It’s clear then that The Old Clare Hotel, and its rooftop complete with swimming pool, sits on the classier side of life. Though the swimming pool is reserved almost always for guests, the rooftop bar is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, serving classic and signature cocktails, as well as eastern-Mediterranean snacks and bites.
📍 1 Kensington Street, Chippendale
5. The Glenmore
An icon, and a stalwart amongst Sydney’s rooftop bars for just that reason. The views of the Opera House commanded from the rooftop will always keen the punters coming back, whilst pub feeds and a range of beers on tap keep the crowds happy. Expect The Glenmore to get extremely busy when events like Vivid are on the schedule, and the views – somehow – get even better.
📍 96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
The views of Darling Harbour are perhaps the main draw here, as Zephyr sits twelve stories up on the roof terrace of the Hyatt Regency Sydney. The bar mixes up a range of bespoke cocktails, but you’ll pay CBD prices here, with $28 the going rate for creations such as the Delizia D’Amalfi, which blends limoncello, pistachio orgeat, grappa, lemon, and sugarcane syrup. If you’re visiting on a Thursday or Friday night, you’re advised to make a reservation.
📍 Level 12, Hyatt Regency, 161 Sussex Street
7. Bar Ombré Rooftop
Harbour views come equipped as standard here, making Bar Ombré particularly popular around the time the sun sets. Expect things to get especially busy on Sundays, when the bar’s bottomless spritz deal and live DJs attracts the crowds; if you’re gathering a group of mates for a good time, you’re on to a winner here.
📍 Level 3, Gateway Sydney, Alfred Street
8. Taylor’s Rooftop
The resident rooftop bar of the Republic Hotel is wittily summed up thusly: “good times can be conveniently sheltered by a retractable roof. But mostly, Taylor’s goes topless”. Good to know, and for the days when the rain does find Sydney, you know you’ll be able to sip your Post Melone (white rum, elderflower liqueur, watermelon, and pineapple, with added points for the witty name) in peace. It’s popular with the after-work drinks crowd, so booking is advised.
📍 69-73 Pitt Street
Even more of the best Sydney rooftop bars
From Manly to Parramatta and everywhere in between, sunseekers can head to the roof for drinks, dancing, and immaculate vibes at these brilliant rooftop bars. Where are you heading first?
9. Sweethearts Rooftop, Potts Point
On the rooftop of the Potts Point Hotel, you will find Sweethearts. The urban chic decor of colour-faded picnic tables and fairy lights in the plants and trees give Sweethearts a laidback atmosphere that can really pump up when people start ordering Pimm’s on tap or the signature cocktails. The venue will be trading from 5pm Thursday-Sunday nights and to ensure you get a seat at this popular nightspot, book ahead. Oh, and it’s open regardless of the weather because it has a retractable roof.
The Potts Point Hotel is also home to some brilliant comedy nights.
📍 33-37 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point
10. Marrickville Springs at Philter Brewing, Marrickville
Step off the retro stairs and onto the rooftop at Philter Brewing and an 80s garden oasis awaits. Sunshine is on the menu but so too are frozen beer cocktails, Philter Brewing beers on tap and in tinnies as well as a healthy selection of wines. And thanks to the weather-proof retractable roof, Marrickville Springs is fabulous all-year round.
📍 92-98 Sydenham Road, Marrickville
11. Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Watsons Bay
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is where the seaside party sails from the day into the night. Arrive for lunch, stay for sunset cocktails, and feel the buzz around you slowly rise until the sounds of good times float across the lit-up shoreline. Phenomenal views of Sydney’s skyline from the second-floor terrace are a perfect match to the classic blue and white maritime decor, which has made this spot one of Sydney’s most favoured photo hotspots.
📍 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
12. Manly Greenhouse, Manly
While you don’t need to be on the rooftop at Manly Greenhouse to enjoy the panoramic views, you’d be doing yourself an injustice by not climbing the stairs to the very top. Once there you will be surrounded by greenery and bathed in light, the fresh seaside breeze putting a spring in your step on the way to the bar, where cocktails and highballs await. While downstairs offers more food options, the rooftop focuses on pizzas, snacks and share plates to bring groups together.
📍 36-38 South Steyne, Manly
13. Bridgeview Hotel, Willoughby
The Bridgeview Hotel, affectionately called ‘The Bridgey’ by locals, is the go-to place for drinks in the sun in Willoughby. Though not fancy and swanky like some of the other venues on this list, the Bridgey is all neighbourly pub charm with coloured barstools, an astroturf terrace, and an all-weather TV mounted outside so you don’t miss any of the weekend’s sporting action.
📍 580 Willoughby Road, Willoughby
14. Coogee Pavilion, Coogee
There’s possibly no better view from any rooftop bar than from Coogee Pavilion‘s wraparound balcony. There’s just something about being able to look out over the ocean as far as you can that is a beautiful feeling. The downside to this is that Coogee Pavilion, also right across from the beach, is one helluva popular venue. Nonetheless, it’s always worth it to try your luck and find yourself a nook or cranny among its four inside/outside bars sporting their own exotic flair. The food, an eastern Mediterranean-style menu is also pretty damn good. And with a large selection of beers, wines and cocktails, your only concern is getting in.
📍 169 Dolphin Street, Coogee
15. SoCal, Neutral Bay
Dip into Southern California at SoCal restaurant and rooftop bar without ever having to leave Neutral Bay. With a bright and colourful upstairs serving a tempting selection of (mostly tequila-based) cocktails and Latin-infused share plates, as well as Tuesday Taco specials and weekend fiestas, the SoCal rooftop is laidback, cool, and for the easygoing. You might not get ocean views, but you’ll definitely feel like you are somewhere else.
📍 1 Young Street, Neutral Bay
16. Webster’s Bar, Newtown
Up past the steampunk-style bar and the 800-strong whisky selection on the second storey, you’ll find Webster’s rooftop bar transporting you back to 1950s Australia complete with astroturf, hanging plants, long rustic wooden tables, a bbq pit and the Australiana memorabilia to match. Come up for a drink and a feed, and enjoy the Newtown sunset over King Street.
📍 323 King Street, Newtown
17. Ching-a-Lings, Darlinghurst
Ching-a-Lings is not like your other rooftop bars (or the ones on this list). Instead of glam views and coastal feels, this rooftop haven takes its inspiration from the loft bars of NYC, meaning underground DJs, live bands and a fun attitude for its 100 patrons—all trying to stand out on the deck regardless of the weather. (Either that or working up a sweat on the dancefloor.) Bonus points if you remember where the entrance is after a big night out!
📍 133 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
18. The Taphouse, Darlinghurst
Drink well, drink local. That’s the driving idea behind The Taphouse, which sees them serving up beer from over 60 taps. They reckon they’ve got a beer for every occasion and, to be honest, they’re probably right. But up on the rooftop, they also do cocktails, with the list separated into gins, spritzes, the classics and cocktail jugs, so you and your friends can gather around and share the good times in the sunshine.
The Taphouse Hotel is also dog-friendly.
📍 122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
19. Corridor, Newtown
We already know that not all rooftops have been graced with the same spectacular views. But those rooftops that miss out on a little bit of the spectacular sights make up for it with a whole heap of charm. Corridor in Newtown is no different and walking up the rickety staircase, past the intimate and candle-lit rooms, and onto the bar you’ll soon see what makes this rooftop bounce. Their so-called ‘bar-chefs’ know what they’re on about and will happily explain the finer points of their imaginative concoctions.
📍 153 King Street, Newtown
20. Lady Banks Rooftop, Bankstown
Lady Banks Rooftop Bar is a cosy spot found on the 10th floor of the Flinders Centre, offering stunning views of the Sydney skyline and the Blue Mountains. It features a freestanding fireplace, neutral tones, and floral installations that pay homage to its namesake, the Lady Banks rose. The bar is a botanical haven in the heart of the city, with a menu offering Middle-Eastern inspired dishes, a selection of wines, beers, and both classic and unique cocktails.
📍 25 Restwell Street, Bankstown NSW 2200
21. Nick & Nora’s, Parramatta
26 floors up, Nick & Nora’s commands views back across to Sydney’s skyline, and out west towards the Blue Mountains. The Jazz Age vibes here are inspired by the fictional characters from Dashiell Hammett’s famous novel The Thin Man, so live your best Nick & Nora life with champagne, cocktails and plenty of leisurely gazing over the city. You deserve it!
📍 Level 26/45 Macquarie St, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
22. Aurora Rooftop Hotel, Surry Hills
Aurora Rooftop overlooks Central Station, so commuters seeking a well-earned drink before hopping on the trains naturally tend to flock to the rooftop when the weather is fine. The three-story venue holds 200 people on the rooftop, and the temptation of a $15 espresso martini (or a frozen marg in summer) after a long day at the office might entice you to stay for more than one…
📍 324 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
23. New Brighton Hotel, Manly
Let’s finish with one of the best rooftop spots in Manly: the New Brighton Hotel. Views over Manly Beach and the hustle and bustle of The Corso satisfy the panoramic requirement of a good rooftop bar, and the range of events hosted here – from live music to sports on the big screen – make it a popular choice, especially when the schooners of Balter start flowing.
📍 71 The Corso, Manly