Perched 31 storeys above Sydney Harbour, Panorama Lounge Bar is as exclusive as its views are spectacular. But this is how you can drink and dine at one of Sydney’s best rooftop bars.
I’m pretty sure it didn’t take long to come up with the name for this excellent pop-up bar. Panorama sums up this unique space at the top of the InterContinental Sydney completely.
From the floor-to-ceiling windows and the wrap-around balcony, you get an impressive 270-degree view of the city, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, and as far east as Manly and the Heads.
To the west, you glimpse Barangaroo, the Anzac Bridge and the entrance to the Parramatta River, while the views north across the glittering harbour are simply expansive.
Occasionally your eye is drawn by the movement of a ferry rolling into Circular Quay just below.
It’s the quintessential Sydney view.
Ordinarily this space is not open to the public. Exclusively for InterCon guests staying in the Club Level rooms and suites.
They can’t even bring guests here.
But over the summer and perhaps a little longer, this pop-up puts aside its pickiness and swaps Club Level happy hours and private breakfasts for elegant cocktails, exquisite grazing platters and a superb wine list.
Panorama Lounge Bar – level 31 InterContinental Sydney
There’s a lot to like about Panorama. The dramatic views from anywhere in the room, the outdoor seating and the balcony.
The excellent service and staffing you’d expect from a high-end hotel with the warmth of a small bar.
Perfectly made cocktails, delicious food options and an impressive wine and drinks menu – especially for a pop-up.
Plus the exclusivity makes you feel very special too.
To get things started, we order a couple of cocktails; a fresh, zippy Summer Rose for Christina – with a base of Four Pillars Negroni Gin, and a Woodford Reserve old fashioned for me.
We then eye up the one-page food menu. It’s an excerpt from Cortile – the hotel’s main restaurant in the beautiful atrium on the ground floor – with some real highlights on offer.
Split into two with grazing options on one side, and ‘small bites’ and desserts on the other, the menu once again reminds you that in spite of the grandeur of its surroundings, Panorama is essentially a small bar.
The lighter bites remind me of pintxos – smoked chicken tacos, prawn gyoza-style dumplings, chargrilled chorizo and lamb kofta. And while these all sound tempting, we end up opting for the Chef’s Tasting Platter – a selection of charcuterie and cheese from the rest of the grazing menu.
I think we’ve chosen wisely.
The board comes laden with Tasmanian smoked salmon, jamon serrano, Italian salami, Bay of Fires cloth-bound cheddar, Charltons Choice buffalo milk blue, Adelaide Hills double brie and char-grilled sourdough.
Add to that grisini, housemade pickles, dried fruit, quince paste, muscatel grapes, and a bounty of lavosh and apricot macadamia crackers, and that’s dinner for two.
In fact, I get the feeling the kitchen has taken note of Christina’s tips on making the perfect platter!
It takes us quite some time to get through all of this, and as we work the sun sets gently between the Harbour and Anzac bridges, and we turn to the wine list.
An excellent Chardonnay and Shiraz later, and the final vestiges of the evening light disappear along with the remnants of the platter.
We leave Panorama reluctantly and make our way back to Circular Quay and our ferry.
Looking back at the city, the InterCon and its pinnacle bar shine back at us amidst the motley line-up of towers lining the foreshore.
It’s an evening to remember.
Don’t wait too long to visit Panorama Lounge Bar
As I mentioned, this is a pop-up bar, so get in while you can. Who knows what the hotel’s plans are for Panorama Lounge Bar beyond mid-2021?
Monday-Saturday 4.30pm-late, Sunday 3.30pm-9.00pm – reservations required
And to say that bookings are essential is not putting it lightly for Panorama.
If you don’t have a booking, the maitre d’ simply won’t unlock the glass door to the bar and there’s $50pp deposit that counts towards your bill at the end of the night.