The best rooftop bars in Australia
There’s a certain allure of rooftop bars – maybe it’s the sense of soaring above it all, maybe it’s soaking up the sun’s rays and fresh air while enjoying some of the best views around – whatever the cause, these beguiling skyward spots are the best places in Australia to enjoy your favourite tipple.
InterContinental Double Bay, Sydney
The sweeping ocean hues and the stylish white decor at InterContinental Double Bay’s rooftop treasure look like a Santorini postcard. While the infinity pool and blue-and-white-striped daybeds are for guest use only – with visitors of the Intercontinental’s predecessor, The Ritz Carlton, including the likes of Princess Diana and Elton John – dining and drinking is open to all. Pop a bottle of Perrier-Jouët and witness one of the best sunset views of Sydney Harbour.
Select a cigar from the humidor to complement your caviar and Cognac before taking a seat at this open-air terrace overlooking Parliament House, the spire of St Patrick’s Cathedral and the domes of Princess Theatre. Here, the mood is European through and through; the wicker chairs and white-clothed tables giving one the impression they are enjoying a nightcap on the streets of Paris. If you are in the mood for a late night supper, choose from the menu of foie gras, party pies and creme brulee.
Siglo © Tess Kelly
Hennessy Rooftop Bar, Adelaide
Perched above the opulent Mayfair Hotel, this chic outdoor terrace is located in the heart of Adelaide, offering some of the most spectacular vistas of the CBD. Named after the building’s architect, visitors must try the signature Honey Trap – a caipiroska made with Belvedere vodka, lime, ginger and honey collected from bees kept on the hotel’s rooftop, or the Kimochi, which means “It feels good” in Japanese, enough said.
© Meaghan Coles
Surf House, Byron Bay
The recently opened Surf House not only offers coastal chic accommodation, but Byron Bay’s only rooftop bar. Decked out with beach bric-a-brac and vintage Australian surf posters and photos – including one of a young Bob Hawke – the open-air space is the perfect locale for unwinding with a beer from the local Stone & Wood brewery or a Brookie’s G&T from Cape Byron Distillery.
The Reveley, Perth
Elizabeth Quay’s first permanent venue, The Reveley makes an imposing impression – a fortress of black glass and bronze screening perched beside the Swan River. The restaurant-slash-bar features three floors connected by a grand spiral staircase, with the open Henry’s Rooftop functioning as a casual stand-up bar. Visit with a friend and order one of the Giant Cocktails, with the Rosa Rosa – grapefruit vodka, Chambord, rose, strawberry and lemon – a particular delight on a hot summer’s day.
Peaches Bar & Rooftop, Melbourne
A fun and flirty cocktail bar sitting directly above Swanston Street’s three-storey American barbecue restaurant Cheek, Peaches serves up colourful cocktails named after bubblegum pop songs: try the Get Physical – black tea, peach, vermouth and citrus, or the Lucky Strike – Laphroaig, bitters and herb-infused vermouth. The sugary-sweet overload is very 80s glam, think blush-coloured suede booths edged in gold, grass-green stools encircling white terrazzo tables, fishbowl lighting and a huge disco ball dangling from the rafters.
Old Mate’s Place, Sydney
Once you have located the discreet ground-level entrance on Clarence Street, guests ascend four levels to find the cosy and hidden-away Old Mate’s Place. Filled with brown-leather booths, rows of bookcases and overflowing foliage, the main bar is a first-date dream, romantic and candle-lit. Climb one more staircase, however, and you’ll find 360-degree views of the Sydney’s skyscrapers on the rooftop patio. The signature Philly cheese steak (there are six versions, including vegetarian) makes the perfect accompaniment to your whisky on the rocks.
Old Mate’s Place
The Pool Terrace + Bar, Brisbane
After shopping along Queen Street Mall, cool down with a swim in the infinity-edge pool before ordering your favourite cocktail at this uber trendy, Hollywood-style drinking hole. The ideal locale to watch the sun disappear beyond South Bank, this vast boutique space caters to all sorts: have a glass of vino by the bar, sip a scotch in the ‘library’ or clink your cosmo poolside.
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Lead image: Hennesy Rooftop Bar © Adam Bruzzone