Australia's best rooftop bars 2017

Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap a pineapple on the bar. Here are the best rooftops around the country for getting responsibly sozzled this summer.

Sydney

Coogee Pavilion Rooftop

The Pav's ground level is a family affair of giant scrabble and kid-sized pizzas. Not so the rooftop, an over-18s only conservatory of charcoal-grilled chicken and Chandon magnums. Thompsons Bay provides a backdrop for chef Jordan Toft's eastern Mediterranean deliciousness, and charred octopus with burnt orange, crushed potato and parsley salad is essential summer eating.

169 Dolphin Street Coogee, 02 9240 3000, merivale.com.au/coogeerooftop

The Glenmore

This Rocks pub has featured in every "best rooftop bars list" since it was built in 1921. Probably. Get in early to nab a seat – you won't be the only punter keen to drink schooners after knock-off and gawk at the harbour. How's that Opera House view?

96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks, 02 9247 4794, theglenmore.com.au

Henry Deane at Hotel Palisade

I'm not sure if this Tommy Bahama catalogue of a room is a rooftop bar. It's on a roof, true, but it also has a roof of its own. Hmmm. There's a fair-sized balcony attached so I'll allow it. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase more than 270 degrees of the harbour, making this one of the best spots for a sunset session in town. International tourists go mental for the joint.

Advertisement

35 Bettington Street, Millers Point, 02 9018 0123, hotelpalisade.com/henry-deane

The Local Taphouse

Sydney's best spot for small-batch beer. I don't care if your favourite "craft beer pub" has more taps. Who wants 70 choices of double IPA? It's the selection of harder-to-find kegs and fan favourites that make the Taphouse a winner. The rooftop might not be big on views, but it's huge pint-clinking good times with mates.

122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9360 0088, thelocal.com.au

Newcomer Good Heavens  in Melbourne.

Newcomer Good Heavens in Melbourne. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Melbourne

Bomba

This Catalonian charmer is a beaut spot for tapas and tempranillo. Order a Casa Mariol vermouth and pimientos de padron, and spend a sleepy afternoon taking in the Lonsdale Street view. You're not going back to work after lunch.

103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 03 9077 0451, bombabar.com.au

Good Heavens

When the heat is on the street, head for the roof. American barbecue joint Fancy Hank's has a fancy new sibling bar transported from 1980s Miami. Good Heavens has none of Hank's rusty saws and taxidermy boars. It's all about Hawaiian shirts, pink neon and blue cocktails. Hello, yes, I would love a plate of burnt-end nachos and a pina colada, how did you know?

Level 2, 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne, 1300 2747 538, goodheavens.com.au

Marquis of Lorne

Rooftop bars are to summer what summer is to beer in a can. The Marquis knows this and has a bathtub chockers with tins from Fosters (probably wouldn't) to Moritz (definitely would) to Beavertown India Stout (not in this heat, you madman). There's vinyl and striped umbrellas on the roof plus plenty of juicy wine to enjoy in the shade with fresh drops from Ochota Barrels, Unico Zelo, Chapter and Shobbrook.

411 George Street Fitzroy, 03 9417 5001, marquisoflorne.com.au

Rooftop Bar

If you're of legal drinking age and have spent more than two days in Melbourne, it's highly likely you've climbed the never-ending staircase to Rooftop Bar. Everyone has been to Rooftop Bar. At least once, probably hundreds of times, maybe for mulled wine in the winter or their fifth viewing of Love Actually at the outdoor cinema in summer. This list doesn't function without its inclusion.

252 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 03 9654 5394, rooftopcinema.com.au

Siglo

The glitz. The glamour. The magic. The cigarettes. Bloody hell, I love this place. Especially when it involves drinking burgundy at 2am and blowing smoke at Parliament House. The chance of a Tarocashed-up champion shouting you Bundy-and-Coke is high.

Level 2, 161 Spring Street, Melbourne, 03 9654 6300, theeuropean.com.au

Bowling club vibes at Rocket Rooftop.

Bowling club vibes at Rocket Rooftop. Photo: Ben McPherson

Adelaide

2KW

"Thanks for tuning in to 2KW, bringing you South Australia's greatest hits from the 1880s, '90s and today." You can see many famous Adelaide buildings from the 2KW terrace eight stories above King William Street, and I once spent three hours drinking West End and Cantillon here while a random old bloke taught me about town planning. It was an excellent morning.

2 King William Street, Adelaide, 08 8212 5511, 2kwbar.com.au

Rocket Rooftop Bar

Did anyone pray for a regional bowling club on a rooftop? Yes? Very good. It's here. Rocket Rooftop crowns a pumping live music venue and while there's no bowling green per se, there's a cycad tree, astroturf, red bricks and besser blocks. All the important things plus cold beer, smashable cocktails and a summer cinema.

142 Hindley Street, Adelaide, 08 8212 7433, crippenplace.com

House views at Aviary.

House views at Aviary. Photo: Rodrigo Vargas

Canberra

Aviary Rooftop

Canberra's only actual rooftop bar is a sky-high stack of shipping containers and recycled materials perched over Lake Burley Griffin. You can have a lot of fun with a negroni in the sun here, and it would be terrific to see the ACT government continuing to invest in the Westside Village shipping container precinct where Aviary is located. (Only Hobart and Darwin have fewer rooftop boozers than Canberra, by the way, and none of them are worth visiting.)

3 Barrine Drive, Acton, 0421 552 417, aviaryrooftop.com

The Stock Exchange Hotel, Brisbane

The Stockie rooftop in Brisbane CBD. Photo: Jared Vethaak

Brisbane

Elixir

The original Brisbane rooftop bar, small and secret with plenty of fairy-light-lit greenery. There's better places in the Valley for beer and wine, so stick to Hemingway daiquiris at Elixir's heavy marble bar.

646 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, 07 3363 5599, elixirrooftop.com.au

Fitz+Potts

Fitz+Potts looks like a late '70s Gold Coast bungalow where you want to farewell the cares of the week with Little River Band and a jaffle. These Nundah legends know how to rock cocktails sans ceiling and an Australian-only selection of spirits, beer and wine means you can down a Queensland boilermaker of Mt Uncle Single Malt and Balter XPA. Totally worth the train ride from the city.

1180 Sandgate Road, Nundah, 07 3061 6205, fitzandpotts.com.au

Sixteen Antlers

The Pullman Hotel's 16th floor is home to a spacious bar attracting large numbers of six o'clock swillers for moderately-priced prosecco and uninterrupted views of City Hall. The menu features a bunch of crowd-pleasing wine for $65 a bottle plus illustrations of sexy anthropomorphic deers that are reasonably odd and vaguely unsettling. Hit the oatcakes and Maffra cheddar if you need post-dinner snacks.

Cnr Ann and Roma streets, Brisbane, 07 3229 9111, pullmanbrisbanekgs.com.au

Stock Exchange

A courtyard rooftop with ridiculous Friday drink specials and a backdrop of glass skyscrapers. The Stockie used to be a grungy pub but a facelift in 2014 means it now attracts upwardly-mobile students with $15 dinners and Sunday session DJs. You can also bring your pooch to the rooftop for "Yappy Hour" (yes) between noon and 5pm on Saturdays.

131 Edward Street, Brisbane, 07 3229 3522, stockexchangehotel.com.au

Perth

The Sherry at The Flour Factory

The Flour Factory occupies a 100-year-old flour mill and serves contemporary food with a (very) slight Spanish twist. The Sherry is its leafy rooftop zone where you can explore the world of fortified wine by way of a manzanilla and manchego or a cobbler and charcuterie board. I think it's the only place I've ever known to offer a "negroni flight".

16 Queen Street, Perth, 08 9485 1711, theflourfactory.com

Mechanics Institute

One of Perth's most popular small bars, the Mechanics is place of smart cocktail service, stylised scaffolding and hunky food. The frankfurter- and cheeseburger-garnished "Epic Bloody Mary" is a small institution on the sabbath, but I reckon an Angostura-heavy Trinidad Sour is a far less queasy hangover cure.

222 William Street Northbridge, 08 9228 4189, mechanicsinstitutebar.com.au