Set within a hollowed-out 400-tonne clocktower on level 9 of Shell House in Sydney’s CBD, is Clocktower Bar, which opened in 2021 but feels like it’s been there forever. If you look up, you’ll see the machinations of the building's original working art deco clock. Combined with ace drinks and a lavish, old-world aesthetic, there’s a good chance you’ll lose track of time in here.

Venue manager Andrew Ratcliff – a drinks whizz who’s previously tended the bars at Baxter Inn, Shady Pines, Eau De Vie, the Victoria Room and Wild Rover – has created a list of fresh, crushable cocktails that favour simplicity over theatrics. There’s also a good showing of classic drinks, including a Negroni menu with six variations that go for $15 each at happy hour. And if that wasn’t enough, the bar stocks one of the most impressive curations of international whisky in the city.

The snacks keeps in-step with the cocktail menu. It's all simple stuff, but just the kind of thing you’d want to order in a place like this. Think olives from Mt Zero, freshly shucked oysters and crisp Gaufrette potatoes with smoked salt. For something more substantial, order the cheesy truffle toastie.

Clocktower Bar is the cherry on top of the Shell House development, which boasts three other impressive drinking and dining venues: Menzies Bar, Shell House Dining and Sky Bar.

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Updated: August 18th, 2022

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