Empire Lounge 
Lyne Park, Rose Bay NSW 2029
Friday and Saturday 12 – 10pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
(02) 9388 3884

Cocktail hour with a view – Rose Bay’s waterfront venue is a must on every Sydneysider’s list.

Overlooking Rose Bay Beach, Empire Lounge is one of Sydney’s most picturesque waterfront restaurants tucked ever so effortlessly amongst the frivolity and elegance that the eastern suburbs provide. But, despite its too good to be true location, this restaurant-meets-cocktail-lounge offers so much more than its jaw-dropping view.

Upon entering Empire Lounge, guests are welcomed by the relaxing ambience of the outdoor seating where tabled booths and undercover shade make for the ideal spot to enjoy a cocktail or three on a balmy summer’s night. Better yet, a step inside is just as enticing, with floor to ceiling glass windows showcasing the breathtaking view. Regardless of where you’re perched, from the bar, getting cosy on the couches or tucking into a gorgeous meal at one of the dining tables, this enchanting view is there to be witnessed.

The white-washed interiors provide a sleek backdrop for Empire Lounge’s decor masterpieces, including the marbled-bar, rattan-clad seating and native-coloured furnishings to create a boho-luxe feel. Plus, did we mention that you’ll have front row seats to Sydney Seaplanes flying in and out?

Starting off with tippled delights, we’d recommend either The Eastside ($18), a refreshing mint-infused take on the classic gin cocktail, Southside. The Eastside balances sweet and sour tones for a cocktail cooling option; or for a more frothy sour-like concoction, Empire Lounge’s Pisco Delight ($18) is just as enjoyable with its perfectly balanced mix of pisco, spiced honey and apple, lemon, agave, rhubarb and egg white – a well-blended, general all-rounder that pairs swimmingly well with your desired dish.

To appease your hunger, Empire Lounge hosts a plethora of cuisines that encapsulate the true taste of the east – seafood. Of course, with fresh, daily access to the goods thanks to their seaplane jetty, opting for some seafood while you’re here is a no brainer. Starting off with entrees, one cannot look past the Calamari ($26). Grilled to perfection and served with a side of zesty nim jam; make no mistake, this is as fresh as it gets. If you’re looking at visiting Empire Lounge for your next cocktail hour, the yellowfin tuna Tostadas ($21) or Clams ($26) with white miso and jalapeno butter will make the perfect tapas-style accompaniment.

If you’re after something a little heartier and indulgent, you need to order the Cacio e Pepe. The sophisticated answer to a Mac and Cheese craving; we’re talking butter, pepper, fresh pasta, and lashings of pecorino and parmesan. Empire Lounge’s offering is lighter on the cheese than many, making it a simple solution on a sunny day al fresco.

Or, to encapsulate Empire’s surroundings in one dish, the cherry tomato, spanner crab and prawn Pasta ($34) was easily devoured thanks to its dainty combination of fresh seafood with linguine, chilli, garlic, and arugula. If capers aren’t to your tasting, we’d recommend notifying the waitstaff, as the dish may be a little strong for your liking.

Overall, if you’re looking for attentive staff that are keen to make suggestions (especially if you’d like to try something new) as well as finding the perfect oasis for some tippled creations, this waterfront venue certainly ticks all of the boxes. Ideal for year-round celebrations, with an expansive menu and a view that certainly speaks for itself, Empire Lounge in Rose Bay may just be the perfect solution.

Editor’s Note: Hunter and Bligh was gifted an experience by Empire Lounge. All reviews are authentic and are in no way influenced by our partnership.