Courtesy of Hilton Sydney
Nicholas Fonseca
October 24, 2014

Who doesn’t love a hotel bar? Even if you’re not staying upstairs, you can drop in for a few drinks in posh surroundings and pretend you’re Richie Rich. The service tends to be far more attentive than the kind you’d receive at the corner pub, plus, warm, salted nuts and fancy cocktail lists! There are a number of great gin joints located atop, inside, and underneath some of Sydney’s most frequented hotels. These hospitality hot spots include a stunning heritage-listed marvel, an airy space inside a gigantic wharf, and a cosmopolitan lounge that’s been drawing in crowds since a massive makeover. If you’re too overwhelmed by Sydney’s expansive pub scene to settle on a drinking destination (a very likely possibility given that the city boasts more than 150 bars), you might want to consider heading to one of these fantastic hotel bars, which combine old-school hospitality and modern ambience in exactly the right way.  

Marble Bar

Located downstairs at the CBD Hilton, Marble Bar is outfitted in dark woods, impressive arches, and stained glass. This vision of Victorian opulence has been preserved to look pretty much as it did when it was built in 1893. It’s over-the-top in the absolute best way, and a delight for the eyes. So get down there for a drink (and some gawping) during your stay in the city.

Grain Bar

Even if you’re not staying at the Four Seasons, a visit to its gorgeous lobby bar—think wood panelling, potted plants, and a chill vibe—is a must, especially if you’re tired from an epic day of sightseeing at nearby Circular Quay. They have a solid drinks menu (whiskey takes a particular pride of place), as well as an all-day cheese plate that comes with quince paste, bread and lavosh. Get cozy, watch the travelers pour in and reward yourself for a hard day of life as a tourist.

Waterbar

The airy and wide-open atrium of the BLUE Sydney hotel at Woolloomooloo’s legendary wharf provides a picturesque home for Waterbar, which slices down the heritage structure’s mid-section and is always buzzing with guests and locals alike. Come in at happy hour (5:30-7:30pm) for drink deals and a rest on one of the cozy chaise lounges.

Gilt Lounge

It’s hard to argue with Gilt’s assertion that it is the “new pleasure centre of Sydney”. Occupying the mezzanine space that overlooks the stylish QT Hotel’s Gowings Bar & Grill, Gilt is noisy and fun for people who like their bars with a twist of attitude. The cocktail list is long, the wait staff is eager to please, and the vibe is cool. Don’t expect to leave after just one drink.

The Cortile

Nestled inside a sunlit courtyard at the InterContinental Hotel (itself the painstakingly restored former Treasury Building, which dates back to 1851), the Cortile is all luxury: huge light fixtures hang from the ceiling; there are columns and copper sculptures galore; and the furnishings are grand. This is a bar for the civilized among you; if you’re feeling extra fancy, come in for one of their renowned high tea ceremonies.

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