Steven Woodburn

Heritage-listed Sydney pub The Sussex Hotel has opened a rooftop bar just in time for summer.

The 200sqm outdoor terrace has been redesigned to incorporate lush greenery and a range of spaces for patrons – including a cosy covered room and plenty of alfresco seating.

Owners Sonenco Hotels have operated the venue since 2008, with the group planning to unveil the new addition at just the right time.

“We’ve been holding off opening for over a year but with the return of corporates to Barangaroo and the CBD and with more travellers and Sydneysiders enjoying our city, it feels like the right time to launch,” says Gary McGrath.

“Despite the fact we’re in the middle of a highly populated area the rooftop is surprisingly quiet and serene, so we wanted to create a sanctum from the buzz of below.”

The rooftop has a capacity of 120 guests who can enjoy a selection of house cocktails and a menu curated by Executive Chef Anthony Ornelas, who was inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.

Cocktails cover easy-drinking options for the warmer months including all the classics plus the La Vida, which sees Rosa gin teamed with grapefruit, rose water and aquafaba and the Sundown Fizz with vodka, creme de cassis, ginger ale and lime.

There’s also a selection of beers on tap as well as a wine list charting sparkling and Champagne, whites, reds and Rose.

The menu is split into small and large plates, salads and kebabs, with guests encouraged to order up and share a few options.

Patrons can snack on everything from marinated olives and hummus with pita to crispy squid with Aleppo pepper and lime aioli, salted cod fritters and falafel with tahini.

There’s also a Moroccan-spiced half chicken served with fries, tabbouleh and aioli, grilled swordfish skewers with chermoula, fennel and preserved lemon salad plus three kebab options – chicken, lamb and salmon served with salad and sumac onions.

The rooftop officially opens today and operates Tuesday to Saturday.

Sonenco will soon unveil refreshed looks for two of its other Sydney venues on Sydney’s North Shore: St Leonard’s Tavern and Gilroys Hotel, which are both currently undergoing renovations.