Sky Bar opens at Sydney mega-venue Shell House with a flood of bookings

Caviar and champagne at the newly opened Sky Bar.
Caviar and champagne at the newly opened Sky Bar. Photo: Jason Loucas

 When Sydney's newest hospitality mega-venture threw open reservations last week, Shell House clocked more than 6000 bookings in one day.

It's easy to understand why. The sprawling venue occupies the rooftop space of the former Menzies Hotel, a building topped by a Wynyard precinct icon, a giant clock.

Shell House quietly opened its Sky Bar late last week and comparisons were already being made with Soho House and London landmark OXO Tower.

Sky Bar at freshly refurbished Shell House, Sydney.
Sky Bar at freshly refurbished Shell House, Sydney. Photo: James Brickwood

Shell House chief Brett Robinson declines to say how much was spent transforming the space but a figure of $14 million is doing the rounds, and you can see where every cent has been splashed.

Design studio Woods Bagot has left its mark with spaces that shift from bright and modern to the moody wood-panelled Clocktower Bar, which opens tomorrow.

It is located – as you might have guessed from the name – inside the famed clocktower. Interior stylist Anna Hewett has dressed it thoughtfully with stunning antique pieces.

Sydney landmark Shell House, with its giant rooftop clocktower.
Sydney landmark Shell House, with its giant rooftop clocktower. Photo: Patrick Stevenson

Menzies Bar & Bistro, on the ground floor, poured its first drinks last month, and the rooftop dining room and terrace – with Aaron Ward (Sixpenny) and former Aria head chef Joel Bickford – will open on November 26.

Robinson steers The Point hospitality group, which includes The Dolphin Hotel and the upcoming Fort Denison project, and doesn't mind comparisons with venues such as the Soho House.

While Shell House isn't a private club, Robinson is happy to pick up some of those club traits.

"We're making a serious investment in customer recognition," he says. "We want people to feel like it's their clubhouse."

Even better, a clubhouse without fees and membership.

Level 9, 37 Margaret Street, Sydney, shellhouse.com.au