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.
‘And here’s ya free beer tickets’ begins this walkabout in Australia’s first streets. We’re good for schooners in the oldest pub (hearing too of the infamous ‘six o’clock swill’); the Irish pub where U2 launched an album; and on the Glenmore’s roof terrace where architect Jørn Utzon may once have sketched and we’ve one of the best views of his sensational Opera House.
Pub Tour is early evening also daytime tours, both bookable at the vast Sydney tourist information centre on the edge of The Rocks. Many other good pubs and restaurants and a good museum.
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
The restaurant Forty One at the top of Chifley Tower has private dining rooms. You can enjoy breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and the city’s impressive skyline, and the food is also excellent – there's a six-course dinner menu with wines chosen by the sommelier.
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.
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;
Great old pub with al fresco seating (get there quick), great gourmet pizzas and tons of different rare Aussie beers - what more do you need?
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.
The cosily bohemian Dean's Cafe serves irresistible nachos and a good selection of drinks. It's a great place to satisfy the munchies or unwind after a big night out. Strawberry daqueries to die for and an excellent Duke Box.
(tel 9368 0953, 5 Kellet St). Dishes $6.70-14.50. Open late. King's Cross, Sydney
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