Blu Bar on 36: Shangri-la Sydney Hotel, The Rocks

Blu Bar on 36 is perched high on level 36 of the Shangri-la Hotel in Sydney and offers one of the best views in which to enjoy a drink or celebratory cocktail.

The bar offers two spaces. To the left of the entrance, it is standing room only with tall glass benches on which to rest your drink and admire the views of Darling Harbour. The lounge is the place to be, and if you’re fortunate enough to get a window table, you can enjoy spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House with the ebb and flow of ferries at Circular Quay.

Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-la Sydney
Martinis at Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-la Sydney

The occasion is an anniversary and as much as the extensive cocktail list is tempting, our off-the-menu request for a Martini is easily accommodated. We are offered a choice of premium gin or vodka and decide on Martin Miller’s Gin. The Martinis are excellent and the strong citrus taste and juniper notes of the gin are evident in the drink. Sipping on a fine Martini, or two, while watching Sydney at your feet is an unforgettable experience for a local let alone a visitor to the city.

Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-la Sydney
Blu Bar on 36 lounge

Blu Bar on 36 offers table service and the drinks list is exhaustive, encompassing signature cocktails such as the Harbour Serenade made with 42 Below Passionfruit vodka, Cointreau, raspberry liqueur, raspberry puree and Zakura Old Fashioned, with Yamazaki Whisky stirred with Nocello Walnut liqueur, Green Chartreuse and spiced sugar syrup.

Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-la Sydney
Lucas Kawase behind the bar

The classic cocktails are equally impressive, listed in chronological order starting with the Mint Julep in 1800 to the Martinez of 1860 and onto the Long Island ice Tea in 1970. There’s a modest selection of beers and wines by the glass from Australia, New Zealand as well as champagne.

Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-la Sydney
The Bar area, with views over Darling Harbour

Along with the cocktails, the spirits section is where Blu Bar on 36 shines. With an enviable list of whisk(e)ys, tequila, rums, liqueurs and digestives, it is the perfect spot for after dinner sips particularly if you are dining at Altitude Restaurant on the same level as the bar.

And for a luxury cocktail experience, you can indulge in a Martini on the Rock, Blu Bar on 36’s own Diamond Martini for that special occasion. The drink is made with Roberto Cavalli ultra-premium vodka or your choice of premium gin. It will cost you $10,000 AUD but it also comes with a room.

Cocktails at great heights are a romantic experience one often associates with travel to faraway lands. Whether it is a milestone anniversary at the top of Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai, a farewell drink with good friends at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo or a celebration of a special occasion in your own city at the Shangri-la Sydney’s Blue Bar on 36, the drink and the views are long committed to memory.

More in the Shangri-la Sydney series:

Blu Bar on 36
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
Level 36, 176 Cumberland St
The Rocks  Sydney Australia
T: (61 2) 9250 6000    F: (61 2) 9250 6250

Monday to Thursday: 5pm – 12am
Friday to Saturday: 5pm – 1am
Sunday: 5pm – 11pm

Gourmantic were invited guests of the Shangri-la Sydney and experienced Blu Bar on 36 as guests of the hotel. Opinions, as always, are our own.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.