Bars and Nightclubs
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Harbour View Hotel

18 Lower Fort St, The Rocks, NSW
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The Harbour View boasts two function rooms, a Cocktail bar and a restaurant overlooking Sydney Harbour together with a ground floor bar offering live entertainment on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Included in this hotel is an entertainment area including a pool room which is expected to attract both local and overseas tourists who are looking for a different experience and an era reminiscent of the 30’s as opposed to the local hotels whose main claim to fame is of a previous century.

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Harbour View Hotel Review

Review by Nicholas Gordon

Set smack bang underneath the old Coathanger, the Harbour View Hotel is a classic old watering hole in The Rocks well-known for its — you guessed it — views of Sydney Harbour. Built in the 1920s after it was forced to move up the hill when work started on the Harbour Bridge, the new pub soon became popular with construction workers who’d stop by to sink a few KB Lagers after a long day.

And the pub still pulls the odd construction worker. But tourists, professionals, pub-crawlers and gruff old-timers now feature more heavily in the mix. The Bridge is still a brashy neighbour: you can hear the constant hum of trains and cars crossing the deck and you can even wave to the grey jumpsuit-wearing tourists doing Bridgeclimb. Renovated in 2001, the pub, like any in The Rocks, is a bit all over the place. Locals are outnumbered by tourists and feeling really at home is always going to be a stretch.

The Harbour View has three levels and a number of different drinking areas. The downstairs public bar is unflashy and is a pleasant spot to down a couple of after-work beers. The tables and chairs outside are a better bet and offer a pleasant spot to watch the comings and goings of The Rocks. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as on Sunday afternoons, pulls in a few punters.

The second floor features another bar — quite often given over to functions — and a small balcony area. The third floor is where the pub is at its best though. The balcony bar seems to scrape the underside of the Bridge and from their bar stools, drinkers enjoy stunning views of the Harbour. Sharing the top floor with the pub’s restaurant, the balcony is a top spot for a drink. Weekend afternoons, especially warm ones, see it fill up quickly, making snagging a table difficult.

At the bar, beers on tap include all the usual suspects, as well as a few more interesting choices such as Guinness, Boags Draught and James Squire 150 Lashes. The wine list is also comprehensive and well-priced from $6.50 to $10.50 for a glass. The cocktail list has some weird sounding creations on it — Sex on the Bridge for example — and a truly odd-sounding pomegranate and vanilla mojito. All are around the $14 mark, but I doubt serious cocktail drinkers will be excited. On the sunny afternoon I visit the pub, patrons seem to be happy with their beers, ciders and sparkling white wines.

And why wouldn’t they be happy? The Harbour View Hotel’s stunning location and chilled-out atmosphere is always going to keep the coming back. It’s never going to be the hippest spot in town, but if you’re after a venue for a Sunday session, an after-work catch-up or you just want to impress a mate from out of town, then the Harbour View Hotel is a smart choice.

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