The 10 best bars to grab a drink at during Vivid Sydney


The world’s largest celebration of lights, music and ideas is on from tonight in Sydney for 23 days until Saturday, June 16.

If you want to take a break from taking great shots of the installations, there’s a bunch of great bars and restaurants around the CBD if you’re thirsty or fancy a feed.

Here are 10 of the best spots around the city.

Blu Bar on Level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel

This bar 36 levels up will give you a different angle from which to get some great snaps.

There’s an extensive list of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.

If you really want to impress your date, splash out on the ‘Martini on the Rock’ cocktail. A cool $10,000 gets you a cocktail featuring an ultra-premium vodka or gin, and a sparkling diamond ring swimming in the glass. The price includes an overnight stay in a room at the hotel.

Shangri-la Hotel
176 Cumberland St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9250 6000

Mode Kitchen & Bar

Make use of the extensive classic-cocktail-with-a-twist list and try the Dusty Negroni – it has Archie Rose gin distilled in Rosebery just south of the CBD, St. Germain & Campari.

If you’re peckish, Mode will have a special 3-course menu created especially for Vivid with blue-fin tuna carpaccio, Rangers Valley wagyu cheek, and a very colourful, very Instagrammable pavlova dessert.

Pair dessert with a sticky and sit back to enjoy the view across Circular Quay.

199 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9250 3160

Opera Bar

This half-inside-half-outside spot is one bar you need to pop on your bucket list even if you happen to miss Vivid. It’s got great views of Circular Quay, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Plus, they make a mean espresso martini.

They’ve also got 3 specially-made cocktails for Vivid for $18 each, as well as a video booth to capture your escapades and send the footage straight to your phone.

Sydney Opera House
Macquarie St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9247 1666

Hacienda bar


Cuban-inspired cocktails are the star of the menu here. Take in the beautiful pastel decor and stunning views whilst sipping on one of Hacienda’s Vivid special cocktails — one of the “Trio of Light” bright red, green, and orange cocktails, or “The Light’er Up”, a fruity-based concoction with edible flowers that the bartender lights on fire.

61 Macquarie St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9256 4083

Graze at MCA pop-up bar

If you’re hungry but can’t put your finger on what to eat, get the grazing platter with buttermilk fried chicken, marinated olives, wild mushroom & truffle arancini, pesto aioli, hummus & grilled flat bread.

Also grab a glass of the mulled wine to warm your soul.

140 George St
The Rocks NSW 2000
02 9250 3160

The bar aboard tall ship Southern Swan

Vivid Sydney Facebook

You may have seen the tall ship sailing around the harbour, or docked at Campbell’s Cove Jetty. Built in 1922, she was originally traded as a grain carrier from the North Atlantic to Denmark via Greenland.

You’ll need to purchase a ticket for a dedicated Vivid cruise to hop on the ship, but you won’t get such an original experience elsewhere.

If you’re lucky, you might even be able to climb the mast (but that’s before the first round).

39 George St
The Rocks NSW 2000
028015 5571

Cafe Del Mar

Grab a carafe of red or white sangria and nab a spot out on the rooftop terrace at this beautiful Mediterranean styled bar.

Tuck into some tapas for under $19 each plate, and if sangria isn’t to your taste, there’s $6 standard beer, wine and spirits, and $12 espresso martinis between 4-7pm each Monday to Friday.

DJs will hit the decks on the terrace from 6pm Friday and Saturday too, if you’re keen for a boogie.

Rooftop Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf
35 Wheat Rd, Sydney
02 9571 8662

Grain Bar

The team have created a special cocktail list just for Vivid, the most unique of which is the Ghost of Mary cocktail, a twist on the classic bloody mary with a secret, completely transparent tomato consomme.

They also have a great menu with share plates of “dirty” loaded fries, soft-shell crab slider and more substantial meals.

199 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9250 3118

Cruise Bar at The Overseas Passenger Terminal

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty ImagesThe view from Cruise Bar

Cruise Bar spans over 3 levels which means you’re bound to find a perfect nook to grab a drink and watch the lights.

The bottom level is family-friendly with a kid’s menu and entertainment until 10pm. The Junk Lounge on level 2 has an Asian-inspired cocktail and snack menu.

If you make it to the rooftop, there’s often live music playing.

3 Circular Quay West
Sydney NSW 2000
02 9251 1188

The Theatre Bar At The End Of The Wharf

Don’t let the name fool you, this hot spot isn’t just for theatregoers.

The walk down to Walsh Bay will you take you through some quieter areas of Vivid, and the drink at the end of the walk will be worth it. House cocktails start at an enticing $12.

Handy tip: It’s no reservations here arrive before or after the dinner rush hour to grab a spot.

Pier 4 Hickson Rd
Dawes Point NSW 2000
02 9250 1761

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