Australia's best rooftop bars

By Thomas Carr

4 Oct, 2021

It's an indisputable fact that drinks taste better from above. From Brisbane to Perth, we round up five rooftop bars that demand you stay a while.

Five rooftop bars to try

MAYA, Brisbane 

This Latin-leaning pop-up is driven by a love of artisanal tequila, Mexican cuisine, and the freshest Queensland produce. Arriving on the 11th floor of this Fortitude Valley venue is akin to rolling into Tulum, along Mexico’s Caribbean coastline, with white marble, vibrant blue leather lounges, cacti and hanging greenery, and flowing curtains, except all pegged against the glittery backdrop of Brisbane’s city skyline. Maya’s menu showcases boutique mezcals, agave spirits and cocktails, offered alongside shared plates such as tostada with seared wagyu, smoked octopus with XO sauce, and tacos of confit duck.

757 Ann St, Fortitude Valley

Merrymaker Rooftop Bar, Hotel Indigo, Adelaide 

Vibrant tiles, pastel hues and a retro-futurism vibe – the city’s highest rooftop bar offers magical views across the CBD and Adelaide Hills. Regional flavours and seasonal flair dictate the ever-evolving menu, with seafood sourced from the Great Australian Bight on show. As you would expect, South Australian wines are front and centre, as well as a wide range of gins and cocktails that suit an afternoon in the sun. And the best bit? It’s right above the Adelaide Central Market, so you can hit two birds with one stone.

23-29 Market St, Adelaide

Sweetwater Rooftop Bar, East Fremantle
Western Australia does summer well. Exceedingly so. This gem of a spot has views across the Swan River, Indian Ocean and Fremantle Port, and serves up an Asian-inspired menu, including oysters with ponzu and shiso, Mongolian sticky beef, and tempura eggplant with sweet and sour dressing. The wine list spans international and domestic selections, and you’ll also want to give their craft beers a little time and attention, with a selection 
of refreshing local brews perfect for warm weather.

Level 6/1 Silas St, East Fremantle

Naked in the Sky, Melbourne 
Naked in the Sky has evolved into a Fitzroy institution and a must for anyone visiting Melbourne. There’s a lot to take in up here: looking north along Brunswick Street, the skyline is littered with terrace homes and warehouse conversions; to the east, you’re treated to a wide-angle view of the Dandenong Ranges; and along the southern edge is the crowning glory – uninterrupted views across Melbourne’s CBD that transform from day to night. With a solid wine and beverage list (including infused vodkas made in-house) and a Basque-inspired modern Australian menu – expect baked camembert, truffle-braised lentils and kingfish ceviche – you can easily flitter away an afternoon with friends and laughter.

285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Coogee Pavilion, Sydney 
Known among locals as ‘the Pav’, you’ll kick into holiday mode within minutes of arriving at this seaside favourite. With killer ocean views that only get better as the sun goes down, you’ll get your fair share of tunes, sun and cocktails, especially on a Sunday when the sessions are enhanced by guest DJs and bands. And if you’re wanting a more sophisticated stop after drinks in the sun, the middle floor of the venue holds a fine-dining restaurant, while below that is casual dining for the entire family. Think wood-fired pizza, freshly shucked oysters and sashimi.

169 Dolphin St, Coogee

This is an edited extract that appears in issue #60 of Halliday magazine.
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