Sydney's top ten alfresco bars

19:58, Nov 24 2009
Sydney outdoor bars
WITH A TWIST BY THE POOL: Keep cool at Ivy's Pool Club.

From swanky beachfront bars and raucous rooftop terraces to the good old Aussie beer garden, Sydney boasts some fabulous places for alfresco drinks.

So grab your sunnies and hat and check out the hottest spots to hang out this summer.


On a sparkling Sydney day, there's no better place to be than this stylish lounge bar on Woolloomooloo's coveted Finger Wharf. Order a Manta Martini (freshly crushed lychees and lemongrass shaken with vodka and apple juice) and take your pick of freshly shucked oysters from the new Oyster and Raw Bar. “Manta Fridays” attract a sophisticated after-work crowd, as well as A-listers spilling over from long lunches at nearby Otto. On weekends, it's the place for well-heeled professionals and the occasional celebrity to drink in the wonderful water and city views and the equally impressive wine list.

Address Woolloomooloo Wharf 6, Cowper Wharf Road.

Open Daily, noon-late.



With a pool as its centrepiece, this Miami-style urban oasis is the hottest ticket in town. So hot that at night, unless you are a member or are incredibly good looking (and thin), you won't get past the velvet rope to the Pool Club. Instead, go early, between noon and 4pm, grab a cabana poolside, sip on a cocktail and watch inflatable swans float by. As the sun goes down, head downstairs to Ivy's Lawn Bar for a garden party. It is adorned with fake green grass, a Japanese maple tree, plush sofas and hedges filled with fairy lights.

Address 320-330 George Street.

Open Pool Bar, Tue-Fri, noon-4pm (general public); evenings, members only.

The Lawn, Mon-Fri, 11am-late; Sat, 6pm-late.


Planted directly opposite Bondi Beach, this large outside patio atop the Swiss Grand Hotel is for the cool crowd. On Sundays, hundreds of beautiful, tanned and scantily clad young folk flock here for the summer party, Beach Boutique. With the ocean laid out before you, try a Summer Sling, a refreshing mix of Belvedere Cytrus, peach liqueur, cranberry, bitters and lime.

Address Swiss Grand Hotel, Campbell Parade (corner Curlewis Street), Bondi Beach.

Open Fri, 5-11pm; Sat, noon-10pm; Sun, noon-10pm.


From the outside, ZanziBar looks like just another boozer but take the steep set of stairs skywards and you arrive at a massive Moroccan-themed terrace. No ocean or harbour views here. Instead, sip on a Long Island Iced Tea and peer down on the rooftops of one of Sydney's oldest suburbs. Open-air movie nights and happy hours feature over summer.

Address 323 King Street, Newtown.

Open Mon-Thu, 10am-4am; Fri 10am-6am; Sat and Sun, 10am-late.


Overlooking Manly Beach, this rooftop bar (pictured) is lively yet laid-back. Bag a cabana-style tent, order a jug of Pimm's or the Pool Boy (that's a cocktail) and breathe in the sea air.

Address 36-38 South Steyne, Manly.

Open Fri, 4-11.30pm; Sat and Sun, noon-11.30pm.


When it opened last year, the Beresford resembled a school quadrangle but vines have started to grow up the huge walls and it's been transformed into a buzzy upmarket beer garden. There's a good choice of local and international beers, served in pots, jugs and tankards. Every Sunday over summer, from 3pm, is B-SIDE @ The Beresford, where Sydney's top DJs and bands play the records that inspire their private collections.

Address 354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills.

Open Mon-Tue, 4pm-1am; Wed-Thu, 12pm-1am; Fri-Sun, 11am-1am.


Watch the sky fade to pink at this harbour-view bar connected to the carnivorous Wildfire Restaurant. Relaxed and romantic, it boasts an extensive wine and cocktail list and hot and cold tapas with laid-back music from Paris's Buddha Bar. Nab a lounge and laze away a summer's afternoon.

Address Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West.

Open Sun-Fri, noon-late;

Sat, 6pm-late.


Take the lift to the 17th floor of Star City and be blown away by not just the 270-degree panorama but the fabulous drinks menu (70-plus cocktails) and the bar food (designed by award-winning chef Sean Connolly). Table service is an added bonus.

Address Level 17, Star City, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont.

Open Tue-Thu, 5.30pm-12am; Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, 5.30pm-1am.


For a different waterfront vista – the river, not the sea – catch the ferry to Abbotsford and enjoy mouth-wateringly fresh seafood close to the water's edge. Get there early so you can be guaranteed a relaxing seat on the veranda.

Address 613 Great North Road, Abbotsford.

Open Mon-Tue, 10.0am-10pm; Wed-Thu, 10.30am-11pm; Fri-Sat, 10.30am-midnight; Sun, 10.30am-10pm.


Looking for some down-to-earth, no-nonsense fun? Head to this casual, heritage-listed rooftop beer garden. With the Opera House as backdrop, it serves great-value hearty pub food including bangers and mash and burgers (under $20).

Address 96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks.

Open Mon-Thu, 11am-midnight; Fri and Sat, 11am-1am; Sun, 11am-11pm.

Opera Bar, Circular Quay
Watsons Bay Hotel
Icebergs, Bondi
North Bondi RSL
North Bondi Italian Food
Bondi Social, Bondi Beach
Moncur Terrace, Woollahra
Zeta Bar, Sydney Hilton
Firefly, Walsh Bay
The Welcome Hotel, Balmain
Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club
Manly Wharf Bar
Cruise Bar, Circular Quay
Cargo Bar, King Street Wharf
Bungalow 8, King Street Wharf
Bennelong Bar, Opera House
East Village Hotel, East Sydney
Lord Roberts, East Sydney
Woolwich Pier, Woolwich
Harbord Beach Hotel, Freshwater
Newport Arms, Newport
The Whitehorse, Surry Hills
The Tilbury, Woolloomooloo
The Oaks, Neutral Bay
The Golden Sheaf, Double Bay

Sydney Morning Herald