It’s another perfect day of blue sky and that easy-going Sydney spirit, so it's time to cool down with the locals at a picturesque bar. Lonely Planet's drinking guide will see you sipping cocktails to a backdrop of incredible views - and for something a bit more filling, BBC Travel has all the tips on Sydney's in-between meal scene.

1. Clovelly Bowling & Recreation Club

This immaculate green lawn perches over the beach with a blue and yellow ribbon of coastline strung out before you. Stretching to one horizon is Coogee beach. Turn your head the other way for the famous Bondi. Pop on some bowling whites and relax with a game of bowls and a schooner (the glass size of choice in Sydney) of beer.

2. Australia Square

Leave touristy Centrepoint to the families, the stylish (or fakers) skip the entrance fee and visit the Orbit Bar at Australia Square. The sky-high views of the harbour, Opera House and Harbour Bridge are worth a million dollars, making $20 for a lychee cocktail at sunset seem reasonable, especially the moment the city around you comes alive with a constellation of lights.

3. Harbour View Hotel

For a no-nonsense view of Sydney harbour at regular pub prices, the Harbour View Hotel in the Rocks will accept you as you are, shorts and all. The reasonable menu won’t win awards, but you’re here to watch the ferries race in out of that stunning harbour spread right before you and feel its fresh seabreeze.

4. Opera Bar

You can’t get a warmer Sydney embrace than being nestled between the Opera House and the harbour. Take in the punchy aroma of your coffee, look up at those stunning tiled sails, and out to the curling waves that the yachts leave behind as they duck under the grand bridge that Sydneysiders affectionately call the ‘coathanger’. There is a real feeling of space here, just like in Sydney in general, despite the tourists.

5. Cafe Harbourview, Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo has a little-known, plain café with a view of both the harbour and giraffes. And don’t forget to visit the 21 koalas after your coffee break.

6. Bondi Icebergs Club

If you glance over the pool of this swimming club, you might think it was part of the ocean itself. The oblong of water floats over the beach with a view across the arc of yellow sands of Bondi. Icebergs says it is the only licensed winter swimming club in the world, so take advantage of it with a drink on the sunny open deck. Swimmers thrash the water before you, while in the distance the blue expanse of sky and ocean will keep you uttering ‘wow’ to the bottom of your juice. The name Icebergs comes from the serious swimmers who come here year-round to do the Australian crawl (that’s a swimming style) across the pool. Anybody can visit the Club for free, though there is a charge to use the pool or gym.

This article was first published in July 2012 and was updated in October 2012.

Need something more substantial than just those harbourside cocktails? Our friends at BBC Travel know where to enjoy an indulgent brunch or sip tea in Sydney - find out more.

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