Standing on the elegant rooftop at Jacksons on George today, it’s hard to believe the place was once a dive-y late night, live music bar. If you came up during the venue’s notorious heyday, you’ve probably got war stories; everyone does. It was a seminal part of being young in Sydney.

But the building’s new era is exciting in a different – albeit more polished – way. Spanning three levels, the venue packs in a glass-walled public bar on street level, a refined second-floor bistro with private dining, and the aforementioned rooftop bar. The works of local artists – including a gargantuan painting by Archibald Prize finalist Kaylene Whiskey on ground – complete the inside spaces.

Of all the departures, the biggest is probably Bistro George. Here, head chef Steven Sinclair (Icebergs) mixes classic European cooking and Australian ingredients. Think Goolwa pippies served with guanciale and pangritata; and coral trout with limoncello beurre blanc. Proving that Jacksons has really changed, there are even dedicated caviar and steak menus.

Unlike the old venue, staying all day is now an easy proposition. The public bar is a good place to grab a pint and elevated pub grub (hello, duck sausage roll) and a sunny day on the rooftop will pass quickly with seasonal Bellinis, a pared-back version of the bistro menu, and vinyl-spinning DJs.

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Updated: October 30th, 2023

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