Without a doubt, the jewel in Sydney’s crown is Darling Harbour, at least when it comes to bars. Australians and tourists from around the globe flock to the iconic harbourside restaurants, bars and boutique stores to get a glimpse of the harbour views as they eat, drink and shop. If you’re in the area and looking for the best closeup city skyline view in the city, or to take in the vibrant harbourside vibes, there’s no better place than Darling Harbour and Barangaroo’s iconic shopping and dining district.
Below we’ll take a look at some of the best cocktail bars, craft beer pubs and bars with the best views in Darling Harbour to make sure your next trip to the CBD, or to Sydney is going to be unforgettable.
To kick things off, we’re spotlighting The Loft. With its incredible waterfront cocktail bar setting, you’re going to have no shortage of views while having a glass to drink and bite to eat here. Aside from the iconic waterfront views, there’s also the unique 1920s inspired interior that really takes all patrons back to the speakeasy era found in New York City.
There’s the famous happy hour sale here on Thursdays and Fridays where you’ll have no trouble finding a drink for just $10! However, if you’re looking for more than just a drink, there’s also an exquisite bistro on site with everything from spicy beef meatballs, chicken wings and so much more, making it one of the best bars on the waterfront for those looking to wine and dine.
Looking directly out on to the harbour, the Cohibar is nothing short of magical. As the sun sets you’ll be front and centre to watch and after a few hours, you’ll have no trouble seeing the sparkling harbour lights and Sydney’s glow in the distance. The bar has plenty of drink specials too, so finding a deal year-round won’t be an issue here.
One major perk of the bar is its outstanding rooftop, giving you unrestricted views of Darling Harbour as well as an effortless way to take in the great weather and fresh harbourside air. You’re also right by the promenade, making the bar an icon as far as people watching and absorbing the harbour’s atmosphere goes.
A tricky find for those new to the area is the Bungalow 8 bar. Set back off the wharf area a few meters and surrounded by trees makes it blend quite well into the area, though once inside you’ll be hard pressed to find an open seat or table. The bar is the perfect setting if you’re one who loves a fun, vibrant and exciting bar rather than a wound back and toned down one.
With its modern designs, alfresco areas and views to die for, your next date night or a night out with friends is going to be a memorable one. The bar and bistro menu is also discounted during the week, so making some budget-friendly drinks and bites to eat very easy to find. Just duck in here without a booking and you’ll find some of the cheapest drinks at just $5 for beer and $7 for gin!
Another incredible bar, bistro and restaurant all in one is the Cargo Bar which has stood proud on Darling Harbour for over a decade! You’ll find some of the best cocktails, beers and ales here along with some rather uncommon bar foods, like pizza! There’s an outdoor terrace, making it easy to get the most of the crisp New South Wales weather in the summer and spring months.
Much like other bars and bistros in the area, you’ll find great mid-week deals here with beers and vodka being just $5 each, a steal.
One of the biggest bars on Darling Harbour is without a doubt the Helm Bar. It’s a huge establishment on the first floor of the cockle bay leisure precinct, making it easy to head out after a few drinks to have some more fun shopping or having a bite to eat. The outdoor terrace and alfresco dining ensure you’re getting the most out of your time on the harbour and a quick Google will let you know all of the great sites and stores in the area below – perfect for tourists looking to get the most out of Sydney NSW!
The relaxed vibe also means that it’s the ultimate spot for after-work drinks as the majority of patrons in the Helm Bar are there to unwind after a hard day’s work, so you’ll fit in perfectly! It’s not too shabby and not too formal, so keeping casual will be totally fine.
To cap off our list, the Pumphouse Bar is where you’ll want to be if you’re really ready to get in on some of the action on the harbour. Spread across two stories, the Pumphouse is an upbeat and exciting bar that services more than just your traditional drinks, but also some curated cocktails and craft beers!
The food here is incredible too, so a truly Aussie-inspired bite to eat won’t be hard to come by. Whether it’s shrimp, pizza, cheeseburgers and even nachos, the guys at the Pumphouse have you covered.