The site of the original Harbour View Hotel, built in 1843, was where the granite pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge now stand. It was rebuilt in its current location in 1922, and over the past century has become a beloved boozer with some of the best pub views in town. It’s safe to say it’s seen, and undergone, a few changes in its time. Its latest change is a plush new refurbishment that has brightened the dining room, and a new food menu to match.

Its downstairs sports bar and “pub feed” menu stacked with classics like chicken parmies and steak specials remain. But on the third floor, its refreshed dining room is offering something a bit extra. It retains its historic charm, but now has pastel pink floral wallpaper complementing the original timber beams, and a gas fire that burns through winter. As ever, the best seats in the house are those on the terrace, almost within touching distance of the bridge’s steel.

Executive chef Nico Liglet (ex-L’etoile) and head chef Jessica Harris have created a menu that harnesses quality local ingredients to offer pub favourites with high-end twists.

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The grilled king prawns with chilli and lime butter are a stand-out (you’ll want to order some extra charred bread to sop up the sauce), while the seared Hervey Bay scallops come atop cauliflower puree with miso and hazelnut butter – the perfect melt-in-your-mouth bite-sized starter. If you’ve still got room, there’s a 1.3-kilogram Great Southern Pinnacle tomahawk on-the-bone rib eye to share between two, or a slow-cooked Riverina lamb shoulder for three (diners must give 48 hours notice to order the lamb shoulder).

Lighter mains include a squid and crab linguine with zesty chilli lime, and a roasted eggplant with miso glaze and salsa. There’s also an upgraded take on the classic surf’n’turf; the surf here is grilled king prawns while the turf is roasted pasture-fed beef tenderloin. Top it all off with a creamy tiramisu or a chocolate fondant with a crumble of ginger.

The wine list focuses heavily on Australian drops, with a sprinkling of French and Italian bottles, and there’s a tight collection of classic cocktails including an Aperol Spritz and Margaritas.

Harbour View Hotel
18 Lower Fort Street, Dawes Point
(02) 9252 4111

Daily 11am–late