The Island Bar, Cockatoo Island, Sydney

If it’s a laid-back cocktail-sipping afternoon with the sun glinting off the ocean you’re after (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), you need to get to The Island Bar on Cockatoo Island, Sydney pronto!

Mr and Mrs Romance - Cocktail time at The Island Bar on Cockatoo Island

Cockatoo Island has a long history in Australian terms. It’s been in use since the First Fleet and was first used as a penal overflow facility… does that sound wrong to you or is it just me?

Anyway, since then this island – just the other side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay, Sydney’s busiest ferry port – has become an excellent but little-known destination for a good drink and a feed.

Mr and Mrs Romance - Island Bar Cockatoo Island Sydney BOS 19

On its north-eastern edge, Cockatoo Island is home to The Island Bar. The fun, aloha feel of the place and the kitsch ‘50s styling is a lot of fun. The tiki bar serves some great signature cocktails for you to sip as you recline in the stripy deckchairs and sun loungers on the lawn facing the water. You can even see the Harbour Bridge from here.

To the right as you come in is The Island Bar’s pizza oven where you can order your choice of delicious-looking wood fired pizzas from $18 to $25 each. I believe they also have gluten-free options available too.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The Island Bar Cockatoo Island pizzas

We were here to pretend to look round the 19th Biennale exhibition that Cockatoo Island co-hosts every two years. It was way after 2pm, which in art terms is like 9pm on a Saturday, so we paid The Island Bar a visit.

Mrs Romance went for the Hello Sailor, named after Island Bar’s cool little sister bar on Oxford Street. The sweet spiced Caribbean rum, fresh lime juice and ginger beer was refreshing and full of fun, and which kind of suited the beautiful day out on Sydney Harbour.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The Island Bar Cockatoo Island cocktails

I decided to have an Americano (called ‘L’Americano’ on their menu), which is a bit like a daytime negroni! Capari, sweet vermouth and soda water make this a sharp little number that knocked the dust out and made way for a bit more art viewing before we headed home.

The rest of the venue at The Island Bar is awesome. The Astroturf lawn they’ve put down and way the deckchairs are laid out reminded me of a European beach resort. But the fun retro-reggae they were playing, the tiki bar and just the overall made the place feel much more exotic.

Mr and Mrs Romance - The Island Bar Cockatoo Island Sydney BOS19Mr and Mrs Romance - The Island Bar on Cockatoo Island

We loved reclining there, looking out over the harbour. It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon. They also offer areas you can book for private events here, which I think is great. What a place for a party!

If there was one thing I could criticise The Island Bar for is that it’s not open all year round. Opening again in late August 2014, The Island Bar will be closed from 10th June – the day after the 19th Biennale finishes. It makes sense, I suppose – this isn’t really a winter venue.

So get a move on and make sure you get there before last drinks are called!

Mr and Mrs Romance - Island Bar Cockatoo Island Sydney BOS19 Mr and Mrs Romance - At Island Bar Cockatoo Island Sydney BOS19

The Island Bar, Cockatoo Island

Open: Thursday 12.30pm – 6pm, Fri and Sat 12.30pm – 9pm, Sundays and public holidays 12.30pm – 7.30pm.

Please check open dates as this is a seasonal venue.

The Island Bar
Eastern Apron
Cockatoo Island,

Twitter: @ibarcockatoo

Island Bar, Cockatoo Island para 1

Have you been to Cockatoo Island? Where’s your favourite waterside watering hole? Tell us in the comments!

Images by Mrs Romance.


  • Reply May 23, 2014


    Oh my lord this looks adorable!

    • Reply May 23, 2014

      Mr Romance

      It’s a cool bar, isn’t it, Smags?! Just sad it’s not open all year round!

  • Reply May 23, 2014


    This is such a great spot with some awesome views. Like you said, it’s just a shame that it’s not open all year round.

    • Reply May 25, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I know! It’d be great to get everyone out after work one night in the winter, wouldn’t it, Sam? Maybe they should and do like a place we found in Estonia does and gives people blankets to tuck themselves into while they’re having a drink. That’d be fun. 🙂

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Mr Romance

    Yeah, it’s a great setting to chill out and enjoy a drink a bite to eat, Ryan. 🙂

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