Blu Bar, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, Australia

On the top floor of Shangri-La Hotel Sydney resides one of the most chic bars in the city. Walled with glass and offering dazzling views over magical Sydney Harbour, it’s a happening spot every night of the week and should be on your “must visit” list on any trip to the city.
Blu Bar breathes a lively energy, with a well-justified waiting list for window seats. Overlooking Luna Park, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, wharfs and action on the harbour its lends itself to hours of diversion.

Even though the crowd produces a vibrant buzz, and there’s an encouraging drum of upbeat techno music in the background, we can still have a comfortable conversion without having to strain our voices.

We’re here for a cocktail before dinner in the adjoining Altitude restaurant and begin with a beverage from the Signature menu. Named after Sydney’s original notorious gang member, Madame Divine ($24) combines Hendricks Gin, apple and peach liqueurs, lemon juice, egg white and rose syrup. Decorated as a classic lady with a long slice of cucumber, ivory white foam and two deep red rose petals, it sits pretty in its martini glass home, but goes down even more elegantly with a beautiful perfume-like savour.
Madame Divine
The Road Less Travelled… section of the menu lists concoctions for those with adventurous spirits. Coco-Jello Loco’s ($21) mix of 42 Below Vodka, watermelon liqueur, coconut syrup and lemon juice leaves us daydreaming of tropical beaches on this nippy winter evening. Cubes of coconut jelly and a duo of melon balls float in the icy top along with a sprig of mint. Sweet and refreshing – turn up the heat, close your eyes and sip your way to dreams on the beach.
Coco-Jello Loco
The page of Classics with a Twist presents “a modern spin on timeless favourites.” In the Rosemary Old Fashion ($28), Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, cherry herring and Noccelo are stirred up with rhubarb bitters. A distinctive smokiness first tickles the nose and we wonder if they’ve torched the rosemary sprig to achieve this aroma. We declare it a bold, manly drink with a mild bitter walnut flavour in the finish. Whereas the previous drink went down way too quickly, this is one to savour slowly. 

Rosemary Old Fashion
El Presidente gets a lesson from the teacher with this classic twist. El Professor features ($19) Bacardi white rum, Martini Bianco, Galway Pipe Port and orange bitters. The narrow-nosed brandy glass sends citrus from the orange peel to the nostrils so the nose samples before the tongue. Entering the mouth it’s smooth, powerful and leaves you with a warm afterglow. 

El Professor
Staff have been attentive, taking time to describe and recommend drinks that might match our preferences. Cocktails are well executed, the ambience is full of positive chic vibes, and the views are nothing less than spectacular. Blu Bar: be sure to pay a visit.
Reasons to visit: incredible views, well-executed cocktails, Madame Divine, come early and reserve a seat by the window.
Blu bar
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
176 Cumberland Street
The Rocks
NSW 2000
+61 (0)2 9250 6000
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  1. Oh my goodness – "Madame Divine" ????????
    Don't you mean Tilly Divine, the Madame of the Cross and well,
    not to be crossed shall we say.
    I recall the Shangri-la as "The Regent" when it was first erected.
    It was in "in place" to stay in Sydney with those sweeping views up the harbour.
    I had a couple of lunches at the place ( Regent Days) – very, very swank!
    Never got up to where you took these photos in the " Blu Bar".
    If Madame Tilly had ever got up there, the language would have been BLUE – ha ha.
    I reckon Tilly would have even given "Bonnie" of Bonnie and Clyde fame a run for her
    The prices are a bit steep – payment for the view???
    It was until the "Intercontinental" in the old Treasury building up Macquarie Street way
    and the "Westin" in Martin Place, the "head resting" residence for visiting heads of State.
    I reckon it is a far better location than the two above – especially the Intercontinental, the
    place preferred by the US Presidents and others of the State and Defence Departments.
    The Intercontinental reminds me of a bloody fortress – a totally new edifice rising inside the old
    and heritage listed walls of the Treasury building.
    Cheers and drinks on Mme Tilly Divine – ha ha.
    Colin of Cordobes fame

    • I see on the map – the Intercontinental just scrapes in.
      I could tell you a story about VP Dick Chenney's stay there
      and how he and his bloody motorcade brought Sydney CBD to
      a two hour stand still. I think if Chenney ever was to re-visit
      Sydney he'd be hung from the Harbour Bridge by an unmentionable
      part of his anatomy by the citizens of Sydney. Maybe you can recall
      the incident???

    • The Shangri-La must have some of the best views in the city. You know we've been to a lot of places around the world, but Sydney I still find has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. Yes, I imagine part of the price is for the view, but you'd be surprised at how much cocktails are costing these days in Sydney. Considering the stunning views, excellent service and quality of the beverages, the prices are quite standard.
      Madame Divine – it's a must order Colin.
      I don't imagine too many Sydneyites would be pleased with another stress on traffic. It can't compare however to some of the jams we've experienced in Asia. I always smile when people complain of traffic at home – it's a breeze compared to what we have over here.

    • Not quite like you say. It was a 2 hour lock down from the Intercontinental to Kirribilli House
      across the harbour for road checks for one convoy of cars. Then the same back.
      Reason – dinner with John and Janet (Lady MacBeth) Howard at Kirribilli House!!!

      No vehicular traffic on that route was allowed! However coming back, the VP decided to take the
      Admirals launch to Circular Key and then just be driven up Phillip Street. The VIP convoy came back minus the VP of the USA!!!!
      Times 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm and 10.00 pm to midnight and on a weekday!!!!!!
      Thus the outrage. Not quite the usual traffic problems, eh????
      Sydney people didn't forget – next elections Howard lost his blue ribbon
      Liberal seat of Bennelong, and so entered PM Kevin Rudd!!!
      PS: I can't think of a more beautiful harbour in the world. Rio de Janiero a good second,
      Oslo, Norway with the fiords is pretty impressive also.

  2. Beautiful photos, looks like a lovely place!

    • Thanks Linda. Obviously it's popular with visitors to Sydney, but there's a good local crowd too who come not only for the views, but for the delicious cocktails.

  3. the view from the bar is pretty incredible … it features all the landmarks that make sydney so recognisable! 🙂

  4. A great place to see the fireworks on New Year's eve! 🙂
    Oh I would love to visit Sydney again one day.

    Last year, I saw a property ad about Australia 108 on Singapore's TV channels in Malaysia.
    Wow, it will become the tallest building in Australia.

    • You're right! I hadn't thought of that! What a fabulous spot to see those iconic fireworks that are shot from the bridge. Okay, Googling Australia 108 now. 😉

  5. What a great view…be lovely sitting looking over that having one of those cocktails….I should do that one day.

  6. Wow, what a beautiful view! The cocktails all sound wonderful. Thanks for sharing, have a happy new week!

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  9. It was really worth reading it. Thanks for this

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