Don't visit the Glenmore's rooftop bar if there's a cruise liner parked in Circular Quay. But on other days this is the only rooftop bar with a view of the Sydney Opera House. There's also the glass and steel offices of the central business district, the hump of the harbour bridge, and the busy green and cream harbour ferries (one for each of the eleven ships of the first fleet). The location is as Australian as a Vegemite sandwich.
The evening clientele is young - office workers enjoying the late sun and having fun over a schooner or two.
At ground level its a classic Australian pub- patterned carpet, slot machine, sport on the television. Climb the narrow stairs to the roof top terrace and you're high above the Rocks, seemingly eye to eye with the sails of the Opera House. You can sit back with a cold schooner of beer to watch the traffic of Sydney ferries coming and going. At this height the intrepid Harbour bridge climbers look less like ants and more like people. Best of all, its the closest pub to the Bridgeclimb so you can celebrate with your foolhardy friends who've braved the climb whilst you've enjoyed an effort-free view of Sydney Harbour.
If you are going to be in Sydney for a while, and you like good food, I recommend you stop by a bookshop and buy the SMH good food guide. It's updated yearly, and gives you the place the locals go to. It covers restaurants, bars, and places to shop for good food. Well worth shelling out for.
Any good book shop, Dymocks etc, even some news stands.
It's a restaurant/bar on the fifth floor of the old Customs House (which also includes a library with a scale model of Sydney under a glass floor). It's not that expensive and you get a fantastic panoramic view from the Bridge to the Opera House & beyond.
It's not open that late, however only until about 11pm.
31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, NSW 2000
Telephone: 02 9242 8551
Neraest Station/ bus stop/ ferry stop is Circular Quay.
Google map: tinyurl.com/qmqk8h
It’s been called THE backpacker bar in Sydney and its easy to see why – ping pong tables, discount drinks every day (2 for 1 cocktails on Fridays, yum) and fancy dress theme nights.
Not the most authentic experience in some ways, but as Sydney is so huge on the backpacking trail, it’s definitely worth the experience!
Plenty of dance music, loud crowds and cheap drinks during the week (avoid for the queues and cover charge on the weekend), the World Bar is a good mix of backpackers and Sydney youngsters and makes for a fun night out in this party city.
24 Bayswater Road (Kings Cross)
For a place to stay, Shangri-la draws the suited and booted but is also the hangout for beautiful people. The Horizon Club serves canapés in the lounge every evening and there’s wireless broadband throughout.
There is an amazing, high-ceilinged bar called The Establishment on George Street, where Sydney’s stockbrokers hang out. It has massive cast-iron pillars and a 42-metre white marble bar. This is a bit on the big size, so if you want a more intimate feel, head upstairs to The Hemmesphere. It’s pricier, but is there’s much more lounging going on.
Laid back but stylish large multi-level bar, in Sydney CBD. Better on weekdays. Tuesday salsa night is pretty hot - great dancing guys and girls, charged and sexy.
Main bar can have occasional losers, but mostly good. Service can be tricky, but atmosphere is worth it. Upstairs, chilled-out Hemmesphere bar is about lounging, cushions, cigars, good wine, good staff - all in all a good spot. Where Sydney unwinds.
252 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
00 612 9240 3000
You'll get advertising for Tooheys and Carltons rammed down your throat - avoid like the plague unless you really are a cheap drunk. Instead, try one of James Squire's beers (www.malt-shovel.com.au). My personal favourite is the Golden Lager, but they do a nice Porter and India Pale Ale as well. No, I don't work for them!
Most good pubs in the east, city and inner west stock it.
Modern Vietnamese restaurant and bar. The bar is great if you want a cocktail/beer and some nibbles, try the crispy squid. The restaurant has a outdoor terrace filled with chinese laterns and has very reasonable beautifully presented food. Try the sticky ribs/scallops on papaya salad.
It's close to the SCG, the beers are reasonably priced and the staff and regulars are friendly. Oh, and you can get a decent meal there too.
Bar and cafe; amazing location, good food and drink (reasonably priced considering its location) and the most breathtaking views from the terrace. Great flathead and chips, risotto, wine, cocktails etc. Also, if you happen to be around on a Sunday afternoon they also have live jazz.
Glorious Sydney suburb with excellent pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and harbour views. Recommend drinks in the Welcome Hotel, the Exchange, the William Wallace, the Bald Rock and for any homesick Cockneys a beer on the balcony of the London with the harbour bridge in the background. Birchgrove Oval is probably the best place to kick a football (Association) or chuck a few balls down in the nets.
10 mins by ferry from Circular Quay to East Balmain, Balmain Thames street or Birchgrove. Any bueses from the Queen Victoria Building - 441 or 442.
Google map: tinyurl.com/pcktaf
Whether you’re into dirty funky beats or retro classics, the Cross is the place to be, more for sinners than saints.
The World Bar is an eccentric place, serving alcoholic beverages in tea pots and cool cocktails that slip down a treat. With a comfortable atmosphere, live music and friendly people it’s definitely the place to begin the night’s proceedings.
Down the main street, take your pick from Moulin Rouge, Plan B, YU and Dragonfly, which are just a few of the clubs that will have you dancing till the early hours of the morning.
Moulin Rouge has a seductive feel to it as you enter, with a voluptuous red and gold interior that surrounds you. A small but intimate dancefloor sees the ladies and gents strut their stuff.
If you’re into some thing a bit more deep and progressive then head down to YU, situated off the main street. It’s a dark club with a twist of contemporary art. “Mirror, mirror on the wall you are the fairest of them all”, adorns the toilet area: different, yet somehow it works. The club always pull in a friendly crowd, and is certainly a place to get your groove on.
Trains from Central, Town Hall and Martin Place to Kings Cross are probably the quickest way to get there. Taxis also.
The World Bar: 24-26 Bayswater Rd;
Moulin Rouge: 39 Darlinghurst Rd;
YU: 171 Victoria St;
Plan B: 22 Darlinghust Rd;
Dragonfly: 1 Earl Place
The Opera Bar, situated under the Opera House, has the most stunning views in the world. It could therefore serve bad food and drink and charge a premium for the pleasure, but it doesn't.
Food is bistro-style, very reasonably priced and of decent standard. Bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Cocktails are mixed without pretension but with care. My bloody mary was the best I've had outside my house.
Lower concourse level, Sydney Opera House;
tel: 9247 1666;
An excellent institution, which sometimes confuses European visitors. The acronym means "bring your own", i.e. alcohol when you dine at a restaurant.
Formerly almost ubiquitous, the practice is becoming less common - some say even dying out - no doubt to the pleasure of many Sydney restaurateurs.
It makes dining far more affordable than when you have to include the restaurant's alcohol mark-up, which is usually greater than on anything else you consume.
It also means you can occasionally splash out on a very nice bottle - of Hunter Valley Semillon, say - to accompany a spread of Sydney seafood without worrying about your starving bank account.
BYO is more common at medium range and casual restaurants.
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