Words by Katia Iervasi.
No Sunday scaries here! When the sun is shining on a Sunday, Sydneysiders do the sensible thing: they round up the girls and head to beaches, bars and beer gardens to soak it up – while sipping on a spritz. It’s a tradition, and the ultimate way to wind down the week, whether you’re in the mood for casual cocktails, or a day-to-night debrief over crisp glasses of rose.
Make your Sunday a funday and grab sundowners at these Sydney spots.
2 Kalinya St, Newport
Set on the sparkling shores of Pittwater, The Newport is huge. It’s decorated Hamptons-style, and is decked out with indoor and outdoor bars, a retro games area, a kids area (just in case you want to play ping pong or magnetic Scrabble), and a string of food stalls. If you ask us, nothing takes the edge off a Saturday night hangover than a juicy burger, a plate of wings, or garlic bread and a slice (or five) of wood-fired pizza from Vinnie’s. And if those options aren’t cutting it, there’s a seafood restaurant that dishes up prawns by the bucket, and a rotisserie chicken shop. The Newport is a pretty popular place – so go early, and stay late.
169 Dolphin St, Coogee
Do you have a thing for rooftop bars? Same. When the sun peeks out, go all the way up… to Coogee Pavilion’s open-air rooftop. Smack-bang on the beach, ‘The Pav’ has insane views, an easy-breezy vibe, and four bars and plenty of indoor and outdoor spots for you and the crew to claim – and that’s just upstairs. Downstairs, there’s an amazing pizza joint, a seafood restaurant, a gelato bar (because, sometimes, a scoop is all you need to hold onto that summer feeling), and a retro games room. #merivale For a truly balanced, très virtuous way to wrap up your weekend, go for a swim or do the coastal walk first, then pop-in to the Pav. Trust us, you won’t be out of place with salty locks.
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
1 Military Rd, Watsons Bay
The harbour is Sydney’s shining star, and Watsons Bay Hotel has a front row seat to it. Dubbed ‘The Watto’ by locals (#straya), the pub – if you can call it that – is located at the pointy end of the eastern suburbs, but it’s worth the schlep. The most coveted spot is the ‘Beach Club,’ a nautical courtyard that’s famous on Instagram for its blue-and-white umbrellas, whitewashed tables, and DJ on the decks. You’ll have to pounce as soon as someone leaves. Once you’ve marked your territory, order a jug of sangria or a frose – aka a rose slushie – and a bucket of fresh prawns, and soak up the million-dollar views.
Manly Wharf Hotel
East Esplanade, Manly Wharf
Back over the bridge, Manly Wharf Hotel, or ‘Wharfy’ – again, #straya – is packed to the rafters every Sunday with beautiful people. As you weave your way through the surfer boys, hipsters, and Insta-model types, you’ll see a few fun indoor bars, but the jetty bar is where you want to be. With just a bannister standing between the shoreline and your spritz, it’s a prime people-watching spot, and the harbour views aren’t too shabby, either. When you’re stomach starts grumbling, head back inside to feast on fresh seafood, roast chicken, good old-fashioned burgers and salads.
Woolwich Pier Hotel
2 Gale St, Woolwich
If you’re in the mood for a more chilled-out Sunday session, try the Woolwich Pier Hotel. Sitting pretty on the harbour foreshore, the gastropub is on the glam side, with a chic cocktail bar, a wraparound balcony, live music in the afternoons, and the kind of menu that foodies froth over. There are plenty of pub classics, but the bar is most famous for its Sunday roast, which usually sells out close to midday. If you missed last night’s pitstop at Mr Crackles, opt for the pork belly, which comes with crackling, pumpkin mash and apple puree. Pair it with a Peroni (or let’s be real, an ice-cold vodka soda) and that’s a solid Sunday sesh!
Greens North Sydney
50 Ridge St, North Sydney
For a change of scenery, spend your Sunday arvo on the bowling green. The Greens was refurbished a couple of years ago, and is now a seriously chic hangout, complete with a bar, café, restaurant and garden. It’s also dog-friendly, so bring your pup and catch up with the girls over a jug of Pimms. If you’re feeling peckish, there are delish share plates on offer, as well as a BBQ lunch from 12pm.
Top tip: On the east side, Clovelly Bowls is perched on the cliffs overlooking the water. The views are awesome, and vibe is as chilled as the rose.
The Bucket List
Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach
It doesn’t get more ‘beachfront’ than this. Right on the shores of Bondi Beach, The Bucket List was basically made for Sunday sessions. The outdoor area is dotted with picnic tables, and colourful, mismatched stools, and inside, there’s a bar serving up beers, wine and cocktails. Get the signature passionfruit mojito, which tastes like summer in a glass. On Saturday nights, the d-floor turns up as a DJ spins the decks, but come Sunday, it’s far more relaxed – but don’t be surprised if you bump into no less than three people you know!
Top tip: Hotel Ravesis is another contender for the best Sunday session spot in Bondi. It got a makeover last year, with flamingo pink walls to match the fruity cocktails. Nab a seat on the sunny terrace if you can.
Lower Concourse, Sydney Opera House, Macquarie St, Sydney
Feeling fancy? Throw on a dress and head on over to Opera Bar, which might just be the city’s most iconic bar slash beer garden. Sitting under the Opera House, the bar stretches across a good chunk of the harbour foreshore. If you can, time your visit with sunset so you can watch the sun dip behind the bridge – just watch out for the nosy pigeons as you’re draping yourself over the edge for a photo. Along with its panoramic, I-remember-why-I-love-Sydney views, the bar has a great drinks list, and serves up everything from cheese and charcuterie to sushi and seafood.
The Vic on the Park
2 Addison Rd, Marrickville
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We’re throwing an epic car park party this Sunday 27th. Catch live sets from Bad//Dreams, Totty and Kimono Drag Queens in the car park, or catch some shade in the front bar and tune in to The Hottest 100! There will be slushy stations, tinnie bars and a classic sausage sizzle with proceeds going to Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre. Get down from 11am, entry is free! • • • #marrickville #innerwestsydney #innerwest
If being surrounded by dogs and hipsters is your dream situation, don your Cons and go to The Vic, an inner-west hotspot where puppies get unlimited Schmackos and their very own hashtag: #dogsofthevic. All the action happens out back, where you’ll find a wooden deck, a fire pit, and a basketball court-come-stage that hosts live music acts, festivals, and even dog shows. And if your bf just wants to watch the game, there’s a rowdy sports bar inside.
Top tip: For a similar kind of vibe, check out The Dolphin in Surry Hills, The Sheaf in Double Bay, or The Oaks in Neutral Bay. When the fairy lights flick on, you know you’ve had a successful sesh.