It’s safe to say that Sydney’s cafe / restaurant scene has exploded in recent times, one can’t go 5 minutes on social media without being tempted by delicious looking treats from places old and new all across town. City fringe suburbs like Surry Hills and Newtown seem to be getting all the attention, but what about the heart of the city itself? What about where you’re most likely to be at 5pm and in desperate need of something to wash away the bitter taste of the 9-5 workday? What about… Circular Quay!
Having been working in the city for the past few months we’ve hunted down the best the Quay has to offer just in time for summer, presenting to you our top 5 picks for where to soak up the best food and drink you can find this side of the Sydney Harbour.
The godfather of all CBD bars, Opera Bar easily wins the prize for best views in the Quay. Being located literally next door to the Opera House and boasting views straight out to the Harbour Bridge, you’ll be so busy instagramming and snapchatting away to notice how much you’re paying for drinks. Yes, Opera Bar knows it’s popularity only too well, and drinks carry a price tag slightly higher than other spots around the Quay. But with views like this its a slice of opulence that is irresistible to locals and tourists alike, ideal for any situation be it after work, before a show, or even a sneaky lunchtime drink…so long as you can actually find a table! This place can get VERY busy!
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual but still with that stunning Circular Quay view then Buckley’s could be for you. With the full range of James Squire craft beers on tap, as well as an impressive cocktail list, you’ll have money left over to indulge in some of the delicious bar food they have on offer. The 3 cheese Arancini Balls are a personal favourite of ours, and the seafood meze plate is perfect sharing size for 2. With Live music on Fridays to add to the vibe, Buckley’s is a great addition to the area, and ideal after work drinks spot.
Almost the complete opposite of the sophisticated and swanky Opera Bar, this place takes everything you love about Tex-Mex cuisine and combines it with all kinds of amazing happy hour deals. $10 gigantic frozen Margarita slushies? You better believe there’s 3 different flavours on offer. Need a kickass classic rock soundtrack to enjoy your drinks? Nothing but the best from Motley Cru, Guns N’ Roses and the like here. Corn chips and salsa? Stuff yourself silly because it’s FREE! All of this can be yours to enjoy between 5pm and 7pm during the week, combine it with $2 taco Tuesday for a super cheap weeknight treat!
Like El Camino Cantina this pub isn’t really at Circular Quay, being located at the top of The Rocks, but the rooftop terrace is so good it just couldn’t be missed. Summertime is when The Glenmore truly shines, with views right out over the Quay (so long as a cruise ship isn’t in port!) and plenty of room inside just in case the rain decides to turn up. The drinks are surprisingly well priced given it’s location and popularity, with everything from classic cocktails to craft beers to ciders all on offer, you’d be a muppet to ignore this one for too long. The Salted Caramel Espresso Martini alone is worth coming back for!
Finally if you’re looking for something a bit different, or a little slice of Europe in our own backyard then look no further than Munich Brauhaus. If you’re lucky enough to have been to Oktoberfest or a traditional Bavarian bier hall you’ll know what to expect; there’s massive steins of silky smooth German Bier, servings of pork knuckle the size of your head and the staff even wear traditional Drindl and Lederhosen to add to the authentic feel. It’s novel, unique and actually damn good fun. Prost!
Have you got any favourite bars in Circular Quay? Tried anything particularly yammi off the menus? Know a trick to always get a table at Opera Bar? Let us know! We might even shout you first round next time it’s beer o’clock!