Bars Restaurants

The Rook, Sydney CBD

After speakeasy, laneways and basements, Sydney bars are taking it to the rooftops. The Rook, the latest venue from the Keystone Group, is a combined restaurant-bar perched high above York Street, and it has Sydneysiders looking upwards.

The Rook, Sydney
The Rook, Sydney Rooftop Bar

With no street-level signage, The Rook can only be accessed via an elevator in an office building from 4pm. And on a weeknight, the recently-opened venue is buzzing with the after work crowd matched with the boundless energy from the team behind the bar.

The Rook, Sydney
Dining area

Colourful mural art, old and new furniture, industrial caged lights and the combination of raw materials add a grungy elegance to the interior that is soon to have a retractable roof for dining under the stars. A separate open air section carrying the same theme accommodates smokers with views over the city.

The Rook, Sydney
The bar team, L-R, Jonothan Carr, Jason Williams, Cristiano Beretta

The bar is headed by Cristiano Beretta, ex Black Pearl in Melbourne, and together with Keystone Group Bar Manager Jason Williams, they create an inventive and at times playful cocktail list which changes on a weekly basis.

The Rook, Sydney
Blackboard cocktail list

Florabotanica ($18) combines Australian Gin from West Winds with yuzu juice, thyme and a touch of dandelion bitters into an easy drinking, floral and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for summer.

The Rook, Sydney
L-R: Florabotanica, Fire and Loathing

Fear and Loathing ($19) takes it up a few notches with the use of Mezcal, grapefruit, dry cherry liqueur bitters, and the cedar wood scented page of the book folded into a paper plane and clipped to the glass. The cedar wood aroma combined with the fruity and dry notes and the lingering smokey finish of the Mezcal makes it the must-have cocktail.

The wine list is created by Keystone’s Head Sommelier, Sarah Limacher and offers a selection of local and international wine, champagne and sparkling, some by the glass, dessert wines and digestives with a range of boutique beer and ciders.

Taking inspiration from a Burger and Lobster Restaurant Cocktail Bar in London’s Soho, The Rook’s food menu offers a choice of burgers and half lobsters, prepared three ways by head chef Freddy Silveira, formerly of Quay and Guillaume at Bennelong.

The Rook, Sydney
The Rook menu

Choose from the wagyu burger ($25), fried chicken ($22) or haloumi with spinach and peppers ($20). Lobster three ways offers a choice of half lobsters with mornay, garlic butter and lemon, or citrus vinaigrette ($50 each). Three side dishes include the house salad ($12), truffle fries ($9.50) and onion rings ($10.50). For dessert, choose from deep fried mars bar with ice cream ($12), sundae for two ($19) or spiked fruit ($16).

The Rook, Sydney
Outdoor smoking area

The Rook combines the best of both worlds with drinking and dining in an indoor/outdoor space with views over the city’s rooftops. The vibe is buzzy, the crowd is friendly, and with the calibre of cocktails and wines, it is an ideal rooftop destination to sip on your favourite beverage on long hot summer nights.

Updated October 2013 – Check out The Rook’s NEW Cocktail list here.

Update June 2014 – The Rook is featured in Gourmantic’s 5th Birthday Progressive Bar & Restaurant Tour.

The Rook
Level R, 56-58 York St
Sydney NSW 2000

More photos of The Rook on the Gourmantic Facebook page.

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.