Sydney Bars

While on our November 2009 trip to Australia, Luke and I decided to try a different bar each night after dinner. To find these locales, we used our guidebooks, got recommendations from our hotel concierge and popped into places we passed. During our 10 night stay, we made it to 10 different bars. Read on for details of our favorites, dislikes and those in between.

Who knew that the first would be the best? We went to the Opera Bar on our first night in Sydney and ended up back there almost every night. The location, view, people and live music all make this a great spot.


Our favorite, The Opera Bar


At the Opera Bar, a view of the bridge in the background



After a long day of hiking (through the rain) in the Blue Mountains, we still decided to make our way to a bar after dinner. This night we went down to the Woolloomooloo area, a hip neighborhood right on the border of King’s Cross, which is the seedy/urban area. The Water Bar is in the Blue Hotel, a former W Hotel. The bar is in a large warehouse- type building. Unfortunately it was a weeknight and not very busy, so it wasn’t one of our favorite places. 


Another favorite was the Marble Bar at the Hilton in downtown Sydney. It has a very prohibition-esque feel to it. Built in 1893 with 35 varieties of marble, it was a great place to relax and have a drink.


The Hilton's Marble Bar



Blu Horizon at the Shangri-La Hotel was also rather disappointing. It is on the 32nd floor of the hotel, but the bar is on the wrong side of the building, facing out towards Darling Harbor and the suburbs, not towards Sydney Harbor, the Opera House and downtown. It was neat being so high up and looking around at all of the lights, but it wasn’t quite the view we were expecting.


During our 2-night stay in Bondi Beach we went to two local bars. The first, Bondi Social, is on the second floor and has an open-air, surfer feel to it. Definitely a local place, it seemed as though everyone knew each other. Our final night in Bondi we went to Bondi Icebergs. This place is very interesting. The upper floor is a chichi restaurant, and the lower floor reminded me of a veterans club. Dark and busy with dart boards and pool tables everywhere, it wasn’t the scene we were expecting, but we met some nice locals and had a good time.

Bondi Icebergs during the day



The place I was most looking forward to getting a drink at, Orbit Bar, turned out to be the most disappointing. Part of a revolving restaurant on the 47th floor of an office building, I was excited for the 360 degree views. However, as soon as we stepped off the elevator we were ushered back on by the hostess due to shorts being prohibited. Instead of going back to the room, we decided to make the best of the night and went to the bar at our hotel, the Marriott. We took our drinks up to the rooftop pool area and were able to enjoy this nice view.


View from the Marriott rooftop



Our final stop, on our last night in Sydney was the Lord Nelson. One of the many establishments that claims to be ‘the oldest pub in Sydney,’ we loved the authenticity of this place.



The Lord Nelson


The Lord Nelson's bar with lots of beer options


Judging solely by this post, it probably looks as though we just went on a drinking tour of Sydney. While we did enjoy our nightcaps, we did a lot of other great things as well, which I will post about in the future. If you have an upcoming trip to Sydney, please let me know if you have any questions or are looking for recommendations!