Bars and Nightclubs
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Cargo Bar

52 The Promenade (Cnr King & Lime Sts), King St Wharf, NSW
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Multi award winning venue, Cargo was established in 2000 and warmly welcomed with a round of applause for it’s fresh style and attitude within the Sydney bar and restaurant scene. Winner of the ‘Best Marketed Hotel’ in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and finalist in 2005 and 2006 as well as finalist for ‘The Most Prestigious Bar’ in Sydney for 4 years running. Cargo was also voted ‘Best Bar’ in the coveted S Mag.

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Cargo Bar Review

Review By Kelly Teng

Often when clubbers and bar hoppers head to Darling Harbour, their destination winds up being Home Bar, the Watershed, or even Cohibar. However, tucked away behind the blatantly obvious harbour nightspots lies Cargo Bar: a unique blend of sophistication and atmosphere that leaves very little to be desired by anyone on a Friday or Saturday night.

Cargo Bar as a venue houses both the Cargo Bar and the Cargo Lounge, as well an outdoor area to sit, smoke, or enjoy a fresh breeze. The first thing that I noticed when walking into Cargo Bar was the beautiful view that you will find from almost any corner of the rooms (standard, of course, to any bar in Darling Harbour). There is a large amount of seating in the classically beautiful lounge areas, but also enough of a dance floor to allow for the night to go off and for people to let loose. The bar sits centrally and spreads wide enough for easy access from all areas, and the staff – although sometimes there aren’t that many – are always quick and attentive with the people standing and waiting. The colour scheme of reds, browns and splashes of nature with plants gives the entire venue an intimate feel for meals, but is easily transformed into an energetic, spacious area to become a Friday or Saturday night hotspot. Cargo also serves as a restaurant for lunch or dinner, but I have to admit that my favourite reason to rock up is for a long night of fun.

With DJs and live music as well as sporting event coverage, patrons have an infinite number of reasons to come here: from unwinding after a long week to catching some awesome music, the location is as flexible as can be. There is always something happening at Cargo, and if not, it can become the perfect spot for you to host your own get-together. Having been to Cargo for both an event and on a Saturday night, I have to say that both are equally enjoyable and the venue really does provide a great backdrop no matter what the occasion. The only problem with hosting your own event is the cost: Cargo Bar isn’t the most affordable of places in terms of drinks or cover, although compared with other Darling Harbour nightlife it is fairly standard pricing. Basic drinks and schooners range between $5 – $8, while cocktails and shots will cost you a little more. With that being said, if you are keen for a cocktail the Long Island Iced Tea is done to perfection here and should be tried at least once.

Of course, being a bar/restaurant on the harbour means that during the afternoon and evenings most people there will be slightly older and working professionals. This is a great place for a quick drink if your day is just getting to be too much, or if you need to meet someone for work or on a date (and may I emphasize, taking anyone on a date here is a great move). Don’t arrive before 10pm though if you are after meeting a younger crowd with too much energy and too little inhibitions; after midnight is when the true nightlife aspect of Cargo comes alive. Music does depend on the night: if you’re there in the middle of the day then relatively unknown background music will be playing, where as at night DJs will throw out house and bands will rock out all night long. If you’re looking for great music, it really does serve to do your research on who is going to be playing there (although personally, I’ve found that it turns out to be a good night no matter what).

For a spot on the harbour that isn’t as generic, you can’t go wrong with Cargo Bar. Next time you’re in the area and have a few hours to spare, give it a go. Chances are, you may become a regular just like me.

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A 2nd Cargo Bar Review

Review By Ben King

Hugging the shores of Darling Harbour, the Cargo Bar and Lounge is a destination of choice for the 30 and under crowd looking for a great night out. Located on the King Street Wharf strip right next to Wildlife World, for years Cargo bar has attracted crowds of bar and nightclub enthusiasts, including some of the sexiest girls in Sydney to it’s dance floor.

In case you are wondering “Cargo” as it is known to the regulars is in fact to distinct venue’s, being Cargo Bar (the main bar downstairs) and Cargo Lounge (Upstairs), both with extremely different atmospheres as well as requirements to get in.

Cargo Bar is for the people looking for a great night out in a classy yet vibrant atmosphere. The unique half indoor/outdoor open plan venue caters to clubbers of all taste, with a centrally located dance floor that get’s pumping after 11 o’clock.

If you are heading there, make sure to dress to impress, and for guys, if you are in a group it is recommended you get there early to avoid disappointment, as chances are you will get turned away any time after 9pm. In saying that, do not mistake this for pretentiousness, rather it’s a biproduct of and extremely popular bar that is the function venue of choice for many private parties.

Conversely, upstairs Cargo Lounge is a different story altogether. If you aren’t a VIP or on the guest list, then don’t bother showing up after 8pm. If you are lucky enough to get in, you will undoubtedly be impressed by the vast array of cocktails on offer.

With a terrace overlooking the harbour, the Cargo Lounge is far more exclusive then downstairs and this is very much reflected in the clientele it attracts. Unfortunately Cargo Lounge is a lot smaller then Cargo Bar, and on busy nights it does get a little bit crowded (The bathroom lines will attest to this).

My pick of the two is without question Cargo Bar.

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