The best Sydney Harbour bars to visit in Spring

Sydney Harbour is the crowning jewel in Australia’s thriving bar and restaurant scene. On just about every surrounding street corner and on every inch of foreshore you can find a waterfront bar or rooftop bar overlooking one of the most spectacular natural harbours in the world.

Rooftop bars with a view come very cheap in Sydney. They’re literally scattered everywhere. Whether you’re in Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo or King Street Wharf there are a variety to choose from including old style colonial pubs with rooftop beer gardens, through to cocktail lounges or boutique wine bars serving endless Espresso Martinis alongside locally brewed craft beer.

Every Friday and Saturday night on Sydney Harbour there’s a choose-your-own adventure beverage experience on offer to suit every budget.  Whether you’re sipping a glass of bubbly in the afternoon glow at Opera Bar - with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as your Instagram backdrop - or you’re eating a classic chicken parmigiana at one of the best rooftop beer gardens in all of Sydney, the Glenmore Hotel.

These spots are also not just for tourists. Locals from all over the city pour into Circular Quay, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour bars or the famous alfresco drinking areas along King Street Wharf. They all offer public spaces as well as the option to book a private function space for you and a handful of your closest friends.

As the weather warms up and as we head towards a Spring we all so desperately need, here’s a quick snapshot of just a few of our favourite waterfront bars with a view you need to put on your bucket list the next time you plan to explore Sydney Harbour on a weekend:


Opera Bar

Is this Australia’s most iconic beer garden? We think so. Sitting at the foot of one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, the Sydney Opera House, Opera Bar has an ever evolving wine, beer and cocktail menu. Despite it’s premium location, Opera Bar is one waterfront bar with a distinctly laidback and relaxed Sydney vibe.



Untied Sydney

This modern rooftop bar, in the streets of Barangaroo has a view over Darling Harbour. With craft beers and cocktails aplenty, United also offers a combination of bar snacks and BBQ share plates - as well as a raw bar with all the Sydney Rock Oysters you can handle.



Smoke Rooftop at Barangaroo House

According to its founders, Smoke Bar is a “Sydney rooftop bar done right”. Part of the wider Barangaroo House establishment, Smoke Rooftop is a chic and up-market addition to the waterfront bar scene and the perfect spot for a romantic late night tipple.



The Glenmore Hotel

The Glenmore Hotel is a Sydney institution right in the heart of The Rocks. The perfect spot for a rooftop burger or iconic Sydney chicken parmigiana. Since 1921, the Glenmore has been a meeting place for tourists and locals alike. It’s rooftop bar with a view is a meeting spot for city dwellers finishing a long day of work on nearby George Street.



MCA Cafe

The Museum of Contemporary Art makes our top list of bars with a view because of it’s casual and affordable, yet dramatic and spectacular rooftop bar with commanding views over Circular Quay. Beers and ciders can be enjoyed in the sun at lunchtime once you’ve had your artistic full on the floors below.


Harbour Bar & Restaurant 

The views at Captain Cook Cruises new Harbour Bar are unrivalled because with this floating establishment, the views are always changing. Take your pick from a huge new bar list of Sydney inspired cocktails and Australian wines while enjoying the live on-board entertainment as you cruise into a warm Sydney Spring evening.



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Updated 24 August 2020