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5 Sydney bars and cafes with Opera House views

One of the first things we wanted to do after arriving in Sydney was to have a drink with a view of the Sydney Opera House. Over the course of a week we tried a few bars and cafes with Sydney Harbour views, and these were our favourites:


1. Opera Bar -

You can't get much closer to the Sydney Opera House than at Opera Bar. Tucked along the waterfront right beside the famous building, you'll also get amazing views of another Sydney landmark - Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney sunset. An orange cocktail being held in front of the sun setting behind Sydney Harbour Bridge. Opera Bar, Sydney
Seagulls and sunset cocktails at Opera Bar

Opera Bar is relaxed and casual with great pizzas and cocktails, just watch out for the seagulls if you're ordering food! Open from 11am, it's a lovely option for a coffee with a view, or come for sunset - the sun goes down right behind Sydney Harbour Bridge!


Opera Bar has live music every night - you can check what's on here, and it's also a great location to watch the beautiful Badu Gili: Celestial light show, a free 6 minute projection of First Nations stories on the Opera House's iconic sails. Showing times depend on sunset -you can check the schedule here.


2. Museum of Contemporary Art : MCA Cafe -

Over on the other side of Circular Quay, this impressive art deco building has a hidden gem on its 4th floor - a bright and breezy rooftop cafe with incredible harbour views! You can either sit inside behind huge windows looking out over the harbour or if the weather is nice, grab a table outside on the roof terrace.


We found the prices to be very reasonable considering that this is a museum cafe - this is a brilliant spot for tea and cake or an inexpensive lunch with a glass of wine.

NB the MCA Cafe is open from 10am-4pm and is closed on Tuesdays , as is the museum.

Two drinks clinking with Sydney Opera House in the background. MCA cafe Sydney. Rooftop bar with Sydney Harbour view.
The view from MCA Café

3. The Glenmore Hotel -

Tucked up in the historic district of The Rocks, the Glenmore Hotel looks like a traditional Old Sydney pub but is hiding an unexpectedly hip rooftop. Great for a sunny afternoon pint, a meal or an evening cocktail, the Glenmore Hotel has fantastic views of the Sydney Opera House across the water.


Open in all weathers with a retractable roof and patio heating, there are also live DJs every Friday and Saturday night from 8pm.


4. The Squire's Landing -

This buzzing brewhouse at the far end of the cruise ship terminal is named after James Squire, a convict on the First Fleet who became Australia's first brewer. Enjoy a craft beer tasting paddle from the microbrewery on the front patio or have dinner in the glass plated restaurant. Opera House views are even better from the upper level of the restaurant, where the menu includes steaks, duck and pasta. Downstairs, the Brewhouse serves tasty pub staples like burgers, pizzas and fish and chips.


The Squire's Landing has live music by local artists most nights. This place is heaving on weekends so we'd recommend booking ahead for the restaurant (the brewhouse beer garden is walk in only but unless you manage to get a seat near the front, doesn't have the best view) - if you want to guarantee a window seat in the restaurant, you'll need to prepay an additional $25pp, which is not redeemable towards your bill.


5. Cruise Bar -

Spread across 3 levels of the cruise passenger terminal, this venue has 3 fabulous spaces to explore. Check out Junk Lounge on level 2 for their Asian inspired, spice infused cocktails and Japanese fusion menu, or head straight to the stylish rooftop on level 3 for delicious sharing platters and charcuterie to compliment the amazing open air views of the Sydney skyline and the Opera House opposite. For sunny afternoons or balmy evenings, the ground floor Cruise Bar has comfortable al fresco sofas where you can enjoy a cocktail or three or a spectacular seafood lunch.


NB: When visiting the MCA Cafe, The Squire's Landing or Cruise Bar, double check that there won't be a cruise ship docked the International Cruise Terminal at that time, they often completely block the view of the Opera House! Pretty disastrous if you've paid that $50 to Squire's Landing for a window seat...


6. One more that we wish we'd visited -

If you're celebrating a special occasion or you're a serious foodie, Quay combines exquisite fine dining with stunning Sydney Opera House views from the upper level of the cruise terminal. Full disclosure, we didn't eat here on our trip as it was a tad out of budget (the tasting menu consists of 6-8 courses, costing for $295 - $355), but it looks absolutely superb. again, make sure there isn't a cruise ship docked on the night of your booking!


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