Summer Guide to the coolest (but absolutely hot) Rooftops

Summer is here so get ready to top up the sun screen, flash your gorgeous sunnies, add a fabulous outfit and enjoy our beautiful city. We lift off the lid on the best places in town where the sky really is the limit.

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Bar & Deck at the Tilbury

While it’s down stairs is a dining destination; upstairs at the Tilbury has been one of those places you go in-between places; the races and dinner or a hens/bucks before heading off for phase two. While fascinators and tiaras can still be found, it’s worth staying a longer at the Tilbury to indulge in its new menu and Bar makeover is a reason to stay.

The grill menu kicks off with Tiger prawn skewers, spicy been nachos and a rocking dish of crispy sticky rice balls with miso dipping sauce that is out of this world. The Fish n chips puts our fish markets to shame, succulent fish, perfect crunchy batter…we are swooning could this be the best in Sydney?

Twin that with a Ginger Long Island or A Man Called Archie (Archie Rose Gin) cocktails and you have the makings of a roof top worthy of staying the entire evening.

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Rooftop at The East Village Hotel

Who hasn’t had a great night at the East Village? It’s an institution which has had a dramatic makeover. She’s never looked more beautiful. You’ll be gob smacked when you enter the ground floor bar; white washed, on trend and beautiful. Our sights are set higher. Simply climb skywards toward the pink neon ‘Hello Gorgeous’ sign. It’s worth the multi-floor-staircase work out.

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The roof top is feminine, elegant and gorgeous. A palm lined garden oasis with city views. Two cozy sofa’s greet you as the bar on the left gives way to reveal a retractable roof lined with timber wrap around seating, tropical green leaf pillows, white garden chairs, tiled tables and a multi-level dining area. It’s both intimate and welcoming.

The menu kicks off with salt cod croquettes, share plates of delicious charcoal grilled charmoula prawns on a bed of mango salsa, silky burrata with sweet roasted baby heirlooms and a crowd pleasing zucchini dip with grilled souvlaki flatbread. Twin that with a super green salad of grilled asparagus, peas, Parmesan and rocket and all that is missing are your drinks.

If it feels like a Mexican holiday, go with the flow and order an El Conejos with Mezcal or keep its simple with a seasonal mimosa of Prosecco Amanti and watermelon.

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Brigade Roof Top at The Light Brigade

It took over seven years to get planning approval for this roof top. It’s a stunner with views onto the Harbour Bridge and city, lined with planted gardens, a mix up of high tables and comfy sofas. White umbrellas sponsored by Moet & Chandon scream ‘drink more champagne’ yet we recommend a ‘Harbour View’ cocktail.

Locals are loving it and queuing up. This is one spot where it pays to get here early or have friends in ‘high places’. By 4pm on a weekend it’s at capacity and the downstairs cocktail bar becomes a rather lovely ‘holding pen’ for those with lofty ambitions.

The menu has something for everyone, but we highly recommend the pizzas, wood fired, scorched – the Gamberi arrives laden with prawns, salt n pepper squid, betel leaf prawns and charred octopus create more reason to be here. There are the usual suspects of burgers, chook and steak but don’t miss the malt bagels, made in house and accompanied by whipped cod roe, it shows the attention to detail in the kitchen not normally found in your average pub.

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The Cauliflower Hotel

Shiver me timbers, there’s lots of them in here! The Cauliflower has had a makeover downstairs and upstairs there is a booty of Pirate action for landlubbers with this new Caribbean themed rooftop bar. The cocktails are all $16, which is a rare find these days as is the outstanding collection of rums. We go for Captain AA Stormy with Gosling rum fresh chili and ginger.

There is an ceiling garden of ivy and ferns, voodoo skeletons, a huge ship’s steering wheel, maps and even church pews to rest and contemplate. Opt for the sharing menu – pulled pork Tacos, juicy Caribbean chicken, pork quesadillas and ancho chili prawns are all crowd pleasers.

Try the mushroom burger which replaces bread with two huge cap mushrooms. Chase that with an Edward Blackbeard cocktail, boutique beers such as Willie The Boatman albo corn ale and these are the perfect drops to wet your pipe! Best Enjoyed with Friends.

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Sky Terrace at The Star

Every roof top should have views. The Sky Terrace has them in abundance, looking out onto water views across Pyrmont and onto the city. It’s a weekend bar; opening up from 1pm on Friday, the energy, crowds and atmosphere are crammed into a few days every week.

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The Terrace has grown up a lot from its first summer opening a few years ago; there is a new main marquee illuminated with strings of fairy lights, a Gin Terrace Bar with its white beamed, ivy draped pergola and seating set up for groups. If you are lucky you might even snag an oversized Jenga set.

This is a space where you gather with friends, with a cocktail pitcher friendly menu choose from Endless Summer with Ketel One or for Pimm’s lovers ‘After the sunset’. The short bar menu of food is a casual affair, served mostly in bamboo recycle baskets; crispy chicken tenders, poached lobster in a milk bun, quesadillas with double brie and baby spinach. Some of the ‘pop up’ stands may offer a few additional options, but let’s be clear this place is about partying, drinks and fun times.

Untied – Barangaroo’s first rooftop bar

Just as we are starting to navigate the streets of Barangaroo, we now have a new challenge, finding its first rooftop bar.

Four floors up, and a little bit of Queensland has firmly planted its tropical roots creating a pretty indoor/outdoor roof top bar thanks to the team behind the Norfolk and Forrester’s.  A large tree dominates the courtyard and creates the perfect circular seating area perch, together with a scattering of high tables and intimate booths. The central bar is largely undercover, with the kitchen behind and the kind of bathrooms Jamie Durie wish he had created. This is one loo with a view.

Take a sneak peak at the oyster bar and order fresh dashi and finger lime or the baked bacon and manchego cheese. More fun is to be had in the snacks section with veggie crisps dusted with native dukkah, popcorn prawns or our favourite – two very decadent toast soldiers which arrive with a glorious golden mornay topping covering slices of silky scallops.

The wood grilled section is a range of flatbreads filled with different skewered options from jerk chicken to calamari, don’t miss the mushroom with macadamia nuts. Pair that with a craft Moo Brew beer or an espresso martini or perhaps a ‘flamin’ galah’ and there’s much to like about this tropical paradise in the city.

About the author

Karen’s corporate job includes an enviable task of entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (hot running water in bathrooms please).

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