Best Bars in Sydney with a Harbour View

Advisor - Martin Schindhelm
Curated By

Martin Schindhelm

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  • Sydney

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Group Travel

  • International Travel

  • Outdoors

  • Bars

  • Sightseeing

sydney harbor with cloudy skies during daytime
Curator’s statement

In my opinion, there is no harbor in the world as beautiful as Sydney Harbour. From the Opera House to the Harbour Bridge, there is just something magical about this spot! I grew up and spent most of my life in Sydney, and it was not until I moved to San Diego that I truly realized how special it is. Now when I return to Sydney, it is my first stop every time. Throughout the harbor, there are bars with some of the best views in the world, which gives you an opportunity to soak in the best of what Sydney has to offer while sipping a cocktail and enjoying some delicious food.

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Where to stay in Sydney, Australia

Shangri-La Sydney

A sleek skyscraper stay with unmatched views of Sydney Harbor Bridge and the iconic Opera House.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Pier One Sydney Harbour, Autograph Collection

Upscale hotel with modern rooms, offering city and harbour views.

Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour

Luxury accommodation located on the Circular Quay featuring stylish interiors and a great bar.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Sydney, Australia

people standing on bridge near body of water with buildings in the background

Walk the City Foreshore – This is one of the most beautiful areas of Sydney to walk, taking in some of the key sites, as well as endless options of bars and restaurants to choose from a long way. Starting at the Royal Botanical Garden, follow the coastline to take in the sights (such as Mrs Macquaires Chair, Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge), and stop in at some of the bars to enjoy the priceless views. Bookend this walk with a drink at the Opera Bar and Squires Landing!

Visit and explore The Rocks – Situated close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this historic area is known for its cobblestone streets and historic buildings and is a place you can explore for a day, with endless shopping and restaurant options. If you are there on the weekend, visit The Rocks Markets, open from 10am-5pm every Saturday and Sunday.

Visit Barangaroo – One of Sydney’s newest and upcoming areas, with world multiple class dining options. Come here for Lunch or Dinner, or just enjoy a drink with the amazing water views.

Catch a Ferry from Circular Quay – Sydney Harbour is one of—if not the most—beautiful harbors in the world. Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on a boat tour, catch one of the ferries from Circular Quay to have your own harbor tours for less than $5. My favorite option is getting the Ferry from Circular Quay to Barangaroo, as this will take you through the harbor, and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Giving you multiple views of the best harbor in the world!

Places to eat & drink in Sydney, Australia

two drinks on a wooden table overlooking bridge and tree

When arriving in the heart of Sydney Harbour, it can sometimes feel overwhelming with all the different options available to you. Being one of Australia's most famous landmarks, this area does bring in crowds, but for good reason! With so many options to choose from, I will list out the best bars for you to prioritize during your stay.

Opera Bar - Is it touristy? Yes. Is it busy? Yes. But should you still go? Absolutely! This is by far the most popular bar in Sydney and for good reason. Sitting right below the Sydney Opera House, this open-air bar gives you the perfect spot to enjoy the sights of the harbor. With live music every day and an iconic view like no other, Opera Bar needs to be on everyone's itinerary. Weekday afternoons are typically a little quieter, but with options to sit at a table or by the water along the edge, don't let the crowds deter you from visiting this icon.

The Squire's Landing - Located directly across from Opera Bar (on the other side of Circular Quay), you will find the newest addition to the Sydney Harbour bar scene. The flagship James Squire Brewhouse offers a variety of craft beers and a menu of modern pub food to enjoy as you take in the views. With large tables inside and out, this is a great spot for those who have a larger group. This has become my new favorite bar because, similarly to Opera Bar, you get a view of both the bridge and Opera House from one viewpoint.

Harbour View Hotel - Tucked directly under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, you will find this 1922 hotel in the Rock's district. Go straight up to the third floor and grab a seat on the large balcony looking out towards the harbor. As you enjoy a drink, cheer on the bridge climbers as they complete the journey back.

Glenmore Hotel - Also in the Rock's district, the Glenmore Hotel is an iconic bar that arguably has the best rooftop in Sydney. While it has three levels with bars and restaurants on each, head straight up to the rooftop for a stunning view of the harbor and Opera House. The menu is gourmet pub food, with multiple salubrious food options. This spot does get crowded, especially with the after-work crowd, so try to book a table in advance.

The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf - This bar is a hidden gem that most locals would not even know about! This bar is part of the Sydney Theatre Company and most think is open only for theatre patrons. However, it is open to the public, and you can visit this bar most days and have unobstructed views of the harbor in peace. A perfect spot for anyone looking to escape the crowds but stay in the heart of Sydney.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out 5 Best Walks to Take in Sydney.

Advisor - Martin Schindhelm

Travel Advisor

Martin Schindhelm

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Sydney.