The Intercontinental Sydney has announced that, following a $110 million renovation, it is set to open two new venues: Aster Bar on its rooftop, and The Treasury bar in its lobby. For the first time in its history, the hotel’s rooftop bar, 32 levels above Sydney CBD, will be open to the public, giving locals a chance to catch 270-degree views of Sydney Harbour, the Royal Botanic Garden, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

The design for both bars has been executed by Woods Bagot, and both will come under the watch of Intercontinental Sydney’s newly appointed director of bars Behzad Vaziri (ex-The Star). “Our goal was to match the bar’s iconic views with an equally memorable drinking, dining and service experience,” Vaziri tells Broadsheet of the rooftop Aster Bar. “We’ll be delivering a product that is highly curated and elevated – like the bar itself. We’ll take Aster Bar guests beyond their physical location on level 32 and immerse them into an experience that celebrates the beauty and riches of Sydney. All the while remaining welcoming and playful.”

Cocktails will riff on the canon of the world’s best hotel cocktail bars, with signature cocktails that are “experiential” and finished at the table for a more immersive experience. “Aster Bar is all about encouraging exploration, inspired by the stars. We want our guests to try something new, to be inspired and to leave with a fresh thought or idea.”

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Downstairs The Treasury bar, named for the building’s former role housing the NSW Treasury, will replace the hotel’s former lobby bar. Decorated with greenery inspired by the nearby Royal Botanic Garden, Vaziri says the building’s unique heritage will play into the bar’s menu.

“We’ll showcase Australian spirits and have a high focus on local distilleries and breweries, as well as respecting the nation’s iconic wine producers,” he says. Expect lots of Australian botanicals, including saltbush in an Old Fashioned, and kumquats and Australian bergamot in a Highball.

“We’ll also have an extensive Martini menu made for different palates, from a signature Martini using Australian gin to more experimental options, including savoury taste profiles,” says Vaziri. “For a more approachable and refreshing option, we’ll use fresh seasonal fruits.”

The Intercontinental’s new bars – and new focus on attracting locals as well as hotel guests – is just the latest in a growing wave of Sydney hotel venues looking outside their usual tourist base for visitors. Icebergs' restaurateur Maurice Terzini recently opened a sumptuous bar in the Intercontinental Double Bay, while the Ace Hotel in Surry Hills has appointed local-favourite chef Mitch Orr to oversee its rooftop restaurant.

“Singapore, New York and London, for example, have a lot of great bars and concepts, and within this mix are a lot of incredible hotel bars. We’re finally following suit and earning our position on the world stage.

"Australian cocktail bar operators are also now being recognised across the world too, and our work is being awarded. We’re working towards global recognition. We want to be seen alongside the other major cities most well-known for their dynamic bar scenes."

The Aster Bar and The Treasury are slated to open in September.