264, George St, Sydney
Is the best in Sydney. Your ears may well pop as you shoot up to the 47th floor where you'll find a 360-degree rotating view of the city and surrounds. If you're heading to Sydney during Vivid this is the place to take it all in. From boats twinkling on the water to lights streaking across the Harbour Bridge and other-worldly visuals spiralling over the Opera House, this perspective trumps any other.
The vibe: Intimate and moody, luxe black leather and velvet decor offset the glittering view. Save for injections of fluorescent light running up bits of driftwood and a bar that winks at you as you roll by, the lights are so low the waitstaff wear glow-in-the-dark shoes. This is a spot for tourists, lovers and flute-clinking groups looking to start a night out on a high.
The chat: Friendly and patient with indecisive me. Rather than the "I'll give you a couple of minutes" tossed back over the shoulder, our waitperson chatted to my plus one while I settled on a chilli mezcal number. When we left she'd written us a list of recommendations on a coaster for the next leg of our trip.
The menu: The cocktails here are easy drinkin'. We started with a nibble of salmon conserva with fresh dill and creme fraiche and the Vivid Sydney special: the Scarlett Glohansson. A sweet sipper of Four Pillars dry gin, limoncello, raspberry syrup, topped with soda and illuminated with glowing ice cubes, this was a yummy drink to kick off the evening. The cocktail list beyond this offered modern, pleasing, but not groundbreaking concoctions. The Vivid Sydney special was A$21 and O Bar signature cocktails were all A$24.
The expectation: Usually fans of bars with a speakeasy vibe, we expected this place might be more about the outlook than a good stiff drink.
The reality: The service was impeccable and our drinks were well balanced and refreshing. For any first-time visitor, this is certainly a fitting spot for a celebratory drink or a different perspective. Seeing a hectic city from above is a surprisingly tranquil experience. You could quite comfortably come here on your own, or with someone you're comfortable to sit in silence with and watch this little bit of the world go by.
Hot tip: Don't put your handbag too close to the glass or it'll get wedged in a window bay as you rotate past.