From an opulent champagne bar to a rooftop aerie with Opera House views, here are four new places to quench your thirst in the Harbour City’s central business district.
One of Sydney’s most storied addresses is now home to one of the city’s newest bars, with Reign holding court on the upper floor of the 1898-built Queen Victoria Building. All marble, brass, and blush, the light-filled lounge features more than 150 champagnes and sparkling wines, many of which are poured by the glass. That said, champagne connoisseurs may want to opt for the tasting flight of non-vintage and reserve cuvées from G. H. Mumm. The best tables are by the arched windows overlooking Town Hall and George Street; pull up a chair here for weekend brunch, or settle in for “high cheese,” which swaps scones and sandwiches for fromage and lavosh.
Buzzy new wine bar and restaurant the Prince of York also occupies historic quarters, spread over three levels of a 19th-century former bank on York Street. The drinks list here favors bottles made with minimal intervention by small producers; an unconventional option is the naturally fermented Zaptung prosecco from South Australia. Below the ground-floor bar, the vault’s 150-year-old safe now serves as a repository for mezcals and precious limited-release wines. End the evening in Pamela’s, a late-night basement haunt replete with pink velvet sofas and a disco ball.
Around the corner at the first overseas property for the Singapore-based Fullerton brand, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney’s The Bar puts a fresh spin on Singapore’s classic cocktail with its Sydney Sling, a muddle of Four Pillars gin, hibiscus and ginger liqueurs, blood-orange juice, and other Australian ingredients. Best enjoyed with smoked-salmon mille-feuille and caviar, the colorful drink is almost as eye-catching as The Bar’s setting in the glass-roofed atrium of the former General Post Office building, a neoclassical landmark that now serves as the hotel’s heritage wing.
Sydney is not short on drinking establishments with stellar views, but Italian-inspired Bar Ombré stands out for its perch overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the roof of Circular Quay’s Gateway dining precinct. This breezy and plant-filled establishment does a brisk trade in spritzes, sours, and barrel-aged negronis, best paired with wood-baked focaccia, fried calamari, and antipasto platters loaded with burrata, anchovies, and all kinds of salumi. Be sure to make the most of the daily aperitivo-style happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This article originally appeared in the December 2019/January 2020 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Sydney, Sip by Sip”).