With Vivid Sydney less than 100 days away, we’re already planning our visit to the cultural event of the year, which breathes life into the city’s late-night economy.
This year, Vivid Sydney is introducing Vivid Food alongside its key pillars, Vivid Light, Vivid Music, and Vivid Ideas. As always, you can expect to chase an incredible lineup of light, colour, and sound experiences across the city. Sydney’s best restaurants are also getting in on the festivities, offering special menus. But if you want the best experience, you need a restaurant with a view.
We rounded up Sydney’s best restaurants with a view of Vivid Sydney, so you can take in a dazzling display even when you’re sipping a cocktail.
If you’re looking for views, you can’t beat Opera Bar. It looks directly opposite the Harbour Bridge, which is always dressed in colour during Vivid. You also get a great view of Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Luna Park, and the Opera House, depending on where you sit.
Dine on extraordinary modern Australian cuisine while taking in the sights across the harbour. Bennelong is the premiere dining destination in Sydney all year round, although, during Vivid, it’s extra special. From here, you have uninterrupted views of the harbour, as it sits higher than the boardwalk. The restaurant often curates a special menu, presenting its own interpretation of a visual kaleidoscope on the plate.
Hyde is a bar and lounge resting above the ground shops on the Circular Quay walk. From up here, the entire harbour is visible, excluding the Sydney Opera House from certain angles. The bar itself is kitted with greenery, pastel pinks and lush velvet couches. The menu is simple, with sharing plates of octopus, burrata, and ceviche. The cocktails are known to be Instagram-worthy and sometimes theatrical.
This new Japanese fusion kaiseki and teppanyaki restaurant and bar boasts soaring, glass-encased levels overlooking Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Take in the lights from a curved sofa and be surrounded by opulent interiors as you dine on multiple courses with direct views of the harbour.
If you want the best tequila in Sydney, you can’t skip Bar Patron. Serving up Mexican dishes, this fun chic restaurant has views across Circular Quay and stretches to the Harbour Bridge. Some will get a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House. Still, it’s one of the best seats in the house when it comes to quality food and cocktails. Explore its large selection of tequilas and mezcals imported from overseas and enjoy the show.
Take in the lights atop the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Quay, a world-renowned fine dining destination. The dining tables are pressed up against floor-length windows, offering diners a front-row seat to Vivid. Indulge in a signature six-course menu with optional wine pairing, and make a night of it.
Are you looking for something more casual? The Glenmore Hotel rooftop has one of the best views of Sydney, encompassing Circular Quay, Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and a birds-eye view of surrounding laneways. Pull up a seat, listen to some live music, and pick a pub grub favourite for the night. You will also find happy hour specials and other drink specials during Vivid.
Cafe Sydney is another dining institution in the city, known for its menu and its advantage point of the Sydney Harbour. Perched high above the other buildings, enjoy sweeping views across the city. You also have a great view of the Custom House light projections from here. It tends to fill quickly, so book a table well in advance to secure a spot.
Vivid isn’t limited to Circular Quay. Lights are plotted throughout the city, including Barangaroo, where you will usually find the biggest and coolest light and sound experiences. Why not take it all in from Barangaroo House? You can go upstairs to the bar for cocktails or sink into a seat at a swanky Japanese vinyl record-inspired restaurant and bar with patio seating. Then downstairs, you can relax in a more casual environment, but the views aren’t as great. Remember, height is key.
Anywhere and everywhere in Crown Sydney has a view. You can book a room for a night and revel in your own private Vivid display from above, or dine at one of the restaurants. a’Mare downstairs offers fine Italian fare, with views across the water, or if you want optimal views, nab a spot at Cirq, overlooking all of Sydney from its 26th-storey position. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide an uninterrupted show. You can also grab a lounge or seat on the outdoor terrace and watch Vivid. The sunsets are spectacular up here.