Sydney: Grab a bite and soak up views

By Jo Bates

Beachside is best in Sydney, finds Jo Bates

Bar At The End Of The Wharf in Sydney. Photo / Supplied
Bar At The End Of The Wharf in Sydney. Photo / Supplied

Take your pick to suit your beer budget or Champagne lifestyle. Known as the harbour city, Sydney dazzles with a line-up of knockout water views for diners to devour and imbibers to drink in. Squeezing out every available drop, enterprising operators who recognise the value of making the most of these sparkly views have opened up rooftops, gardens, pop-up-bars and eateries.

As well as its famous harbour sights that are recognised worldwide, the city's boating clubs, and a few surf clubs, provide a key to a number of lesser-known gems.

Some of these outdoor options come with a high price tag, others not so much - take your pick to suit your beer budget or Champagne lifestyle.

New in town and sitting pretty on Bondi's beach promenade is The Bucket List. The strip has been dominated by substandard eateries but The Bucket List raises the bar. From the outdoor lounge seats you have a panoramic view of the beach.

The menu (with a cheeky photo of a girl sorting out her bikini wedgie) offers simple but classy dishes. It's casual here - from crates and pallets as furniture to beachy punters - and it heaves on weekends, so make sure you get in early.

If you miss out on a seat but still want to enjoy a beer outdoors, sign yourself in at North Bondi RSL for premium beach vistas and quality club food. You may even win a meat or mango tray.

Score a spot on the balcony at The Sailor's Club in Rose Bay and lap up the views. Inside, the bar nails the essence of laid-back cool and the long, narrow restaurant perches you elegantly over the water. This new destination on Sydney's dining scene does seafood simply and very well, but if you don't leave room for their take on tiramisu, you're a schmuck.

At The Rocks with prime harbour views, the MCA - Museum of Contemporary Art - extends its opening hours on Thursday nights so you can enjoy exhibitions and arty talks.

Thankfully, this also means the restaurant stays open and you can have a meal and a drink while making the most of top Sydney views.

The Opera House, Sydney's most prized setting, has upped its ante by inviting outside operators to open pop-up bars.

Smooth operator and entertainment mogul Justin Hemmes opened two at "The House" that were based on a couple of his already established joints - Mexican eatery El Loco and Prohibition-style bar Palmer & Co.

Although it's lovely to lounge with a cocktail and watch the parade of pretty people, it is all about the views here - knockout, in-your-face harbour beauty and architectural elegance. Pop-ups will operate throughout the year - visit for details.

The Bar at the End of the Wharf at the Sydney Theatre Company at Walsh Bay has expansive views and different pockets from which to enjoy them. It's a working theatre and the walkway to the bar is lined with images from its many productions. This beautiful, historic building retains its industrial charm, upstaged only by stunning harbour vistas. So as not to distract from your gazing, The Bucket List gives you a panoramic view of the beach..Beer and prawns is a popular combo.The Ivy Pool Club is a class act.You can put your feet up and rip into a tinnie while the steak chars on the grill. the food menu is simple, while the wine and cocktail list is a little more comprehensive.

From the rooftop of the revamped Glenmore Hotel in The Rocks, you can see across the city's historic heart to the Opera House - as long as an ocean liner hasn't pulled in for a stopover. It is run by a family of seasoned hospitality operators who saw the sense of making the most of the rooftop and have installed an alfresco bar and restaurant.

Taking the Aussie eski-and-barbie backyard experience to new heights, Sweethearts Rooftop Barbeque is a new laid-back barbecue-and-bar venue at the Sugarmill in The Cross. You can put your feet up and rip into a tinnie while the steak chars on the grill - all while taking in the cityscape.

Justin Hemmes is a master of taking the best of what's offered internationally and distilling it for the Sydney market.

The Ivy Pool Club takes the Vegas pool-party concept and adds some class and more than a splash of pretty people.

The pool club is a one-of-a-kind in Sydney - one you'll either love or loathe.

If the idea of preened princesses in bikinis and buff boys in boardies curdles your pina colada, get in before the crush and enjoy a cocktail at this top-of-the-town location.

Jo Bates paid her own way to Sydney.

- Herald on Sunday

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