108 Market St Sydney, NSW 2000
|Opening hours||Wed-Thur, 3pm-11pm, Fri-Sat, 2pm-midnight, Sun noon-11pm|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
If you miss flying, but aren't ready to cough up for a plane seat ringed by swab paperwork, crammed-in humans and tiny un-openable packets of cheese, go to Bar 83.
Not only is it high in the sky, indeed at 245-metres above street-level it is the highest bar in Sydney, it offers gobsmacking views, classily crafted drinks and food and luxurious, retro James Bond-style decor and furniture. Even check-in is pleasurable.
Bar 83 begins on level 4 of Westfield Tower with a security guard, a walk-through metal detector and smiling concierges hand-writing boarding passes with diners' names and table numbers.
Then it's into a capsule lift rocketing 83 floors skywards to a low-lit foyer resembling a 1960-'70s luxury airport lounge, complete with an unflappable concierge whisking everyone to white Tulip tables and a horizon usually spied from a 747.
No one sits down straightaway here. They stand agog at the 260-degree view which, depending on your table, includes the Harbour Bridge, Packer's gleaming Pecker, Hyde Park looking like a leaf-edged doily and countless buildings, houses, trees and scudding clouds stretching far away to the Blue Mountains on a green and blue carpet encasing Parramatta River.
Then the decor comes into focus. Designed by Sydney studio Loopcreative, it's a mix of The Jetsons, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars cantina but with lobster red seating and carpet, mustard banquettes, brushed gold fittings and white curving archways.
It's decadent and sexy and about as far away from modern-day budget flying as we are from ants navigating Market Street below.
Part of a $12 million refit of Sydney Tower Dining, Bar 83 sits above two restaurants, the high-end Infinity and more casual Skyfeast. They both revolve but Bar 63 does not.
Ever since The Summit's restaurant's 1979 ad of dancing stilleto-ed feet, buoyant cigar-smoking and "quail and broiled lobster tail as we passed Watsons Bay", revolving restaurants have epitomised glamour.
We're not twirling around but glamour is circling. Two cocktails, from a list of 10 signature mixes, arrive including the Ceres, mixing vodka, lapsang souchong, blueberry, watermelon, buttermilk and ginger beer for a tall fruity refresher, and Jasmine Jasmine, light and gently scented with gin, native bitters and Davidson plum.
Both are the creation of Jenna Hemsworth, Bartender of the Year in 2018. Wine comes from Infinity's extensive range and there's a bevy of beers and spirits including 59 whisky varieties.
Share-plates of zucchini flowers tempura, wagyu beef tataki and tuna tartare appear, all made in the kitchens of Infinity, with menu overseen by chef Mike Dierlingeron.
The beef, featuring avocado, salt bush, black vinegar and confit egg yolk, is as tender as the zucchini flowers, daubed in yuzu koshu aioli, are fat and luscious.
As darkness descends, the lights are lowered to showcase twinkling stars and glimmering suburbs beyond. "Nitro" chocolate pops with cherry, hazelnut and yuzu flavours come doused spectacularly in dry ice, alongside top-notch wedges of melty hazelnut brownie ice-cream sandwiches.
It's not cheap to luxuriate this way. There's a $30-a head minimum and our bill was more than $200.
But, sitting up so high in the air, graciously waited-upon while gazing westward to a horizon edged by deepening orange hues, is rare, first-class stuff.
Main attraction Gob-smacking views, 245 metres above street-level in a luxurious retro 1960s-'70 flight lounge with lovely staff.
Must-try dish Tender wagyu beef tataki with avocado, salt bush, black vinegar and confit egg yolk.
Insta-worthy dish Nitro chocolate pops, with cherry, hazelnut and yuzu ice-cream. Served on shiny pebbles and native bracken and doused with a rolling cloud of dry ice.
Drinks Cocktails $14-$25; beers and cider $8-$14; aperitif, digestive, liqueur $10-$16; wine, sparkling and Champagne $13-$80 (glass) $75-$595 (bottle); spirits and whisky $10-$120