Sydney Vs Melbourne; who throws the biggest and best work parties?

Sydney Vs Melbourne.

It’s an age-old battle between two of the oldest cities in Australia. Both cities have established their own niche in our culture, and yet countless times we have seen the cities battle head to head over the most trivial things.

Now, I love a bit of Aussie Pride as much as the next Sheila, but there is a debate that needs to be settled once and for all - who throws the biggest and best work parties? Sydney or Melbourne?

On the average workday during 2012 437,000 people went to work in the city of Sydney, compared to 439,172 worker bees in Melbourne. Question is - of those that enjoyed a work party, how many were truly satisfied with their office bash? Well let’s compare what each city has to offer in the way of work parties and see where the scales sit...

Rooftop Parties

  • Where: Rooftop Cinema and Bar in central Melbourne
  • What: An outdoor rooftop bar and cinema in Melbourne’s CBD
  • Highlight: Lush rooftop vibe with panoramic city views
  • Great For: An al fresco, casual yet groovy work party in Melbourne
  • Pax: 350 (standing) max.
  • Price: $$

This iconic Melbourne rooftop bar is located 7 stories high in the city’s CBD. It doubles as a patio bar and a cinema in the summer months. The view is what really puts this bar on the map, and the entire rooftop can be booked for private events. It is a great space for a small business work party. Small enough to seem intimate but large enough to create a pleasant open air space with comfortable seating.  

And don’t worry there is an elevator!

Adelphi - Melbourne

  • Where: Adelphi Hotel Melbourne
  • What: A chic inner CBD rooftop pool and bar
  • Highlight: The heated pool and great central, highly accessible location
  • Great For:  A unique and classy corporate function or work party in Melbourne
  • Pax: 200 max.
  • Price: $$$$

The Adelphi Hotel is also conveniently located in the heart of Melbournes CBD, and it has something very special...A rooftop bar complete with famous bartender Carl Hamilton and heated pool that can be hired out for private functions. Simply perfect for upmarket Melbourne work parties or work functions. The bar has an uber chic and stylish atmosphere, although the views leave something to be desired. The Adelphi is also known for throwing famous summer pool parties and hosting private events for the city's elite. 

Ivy Pool Club - Sydney

  • Where: Ivy Pool Bar
  • What: A rooftop haven in Sydney’s CBD
  • Highlight: Rooftop pool with cabanas
  • Great For: A glamorous ‘Palm springs’  style work party
  • Pax: Max 600 Guests. Smaller spaces available for private hire.
  • Price: $$$

The Ivy Pool Club is on the 4th floor of the Merivale on George Street, Sydney and is a playground for the social elite. It is the only rooftop bar in Sydney’s CBD complete with a pool, shady pines, relaxing cabanas, gourmet pizza bar and a private DJ. There is also a members only Penthouse available for private parties, overlooking the Ivy Pool Club which would be perfect for a luxe, private roof top work party like no other. 

Sky Terrace - Sydney

  • Where: Sky Terrace Sydney
  • What: An urban rooftop bar with ocean views
  • Highlight: Great open space and fab harbour views
  • Great For: A smart yet casual open air work party in Sydney
  • Pax: Max 750 guests.
  • Price: $$$

Sky Terrace boasts ‘the best views on Sydney's sky line’ with good reason. Strategically located overlooking Sydney’s harbour and spectacular skyline the panoramic views from this expansive sky terrace bar are positively jaw-dropping. However, the Sky Terrace does come with a sizeable drawcard… it spans a massive area with a very small bar. You can put two and two together from there. Plus it’s only open during the warmer months and the toilets are located a floor below. However, Sky Terrace is what you want in a Rooftop bar for work party drinks. Amazing views, a relaxing summer soundscape from top resident DJ’s, and a ‘chilled’ al fresco vibe. 

Fun and Quirky Parties 

The Escape rooms  - Melbourne

  • Where: QV Melbourne (CBD)
  • What:  Each team has 50 minutes to follow clues and ‘escape’ 
  • Highlight: Highly unique but heaps of fun
  • Great For: Corporate work parties in Melbourne and team building 
  • Pax: Max 20 guests.
  • Price: $$

Quirky, interactive and unique is the essence of the new ‘Escape Rooms’ launched in Melbourne’s QV. 50 minutes, one room and a series of clues and state of the art digital effects that simulate a real life ‘escape’ situation. Use your powers of logic, deduction and teamwork to solve the clues and try to escape before it's too late...

It’s something very different, and combined with a food and drinks package is very successful for a corporate team-building outing. However, it’s not for everyone and is best for group sizes 20 or less. 

Barefoot bowls - Sydney

  • Where: Barefoot Bowls Sydney
  • What:  Lawn Bowls with a difference  
  • Highlight: Outdoor, solid aussie fun in the sun 
  • Great For: Summer work parties in Sydney
  • Pax: Varies dependent on location
  • Price: $$

Barefoot Bowls is the quintessential Aussie work party daytime activity. Couple up amazing weather, a few cold beers, and a fun-spirited team and barefoot bowls is a sure fire favourite for a fun gathering outside of the office. Why not book fun group PartyBus transport to either Paddo Bowls in Sydney’s CBD or Waverton Club in Northern Sydney and treat your team to a fun work party in the sun. 

Luxe Parties 

Crown Mahogany room 

  • Where: Melbourne’s South Warf/CBD
  • What: High roller’s room   
  • Highlight: The high stakes gambling, luxe interior, personalised service and city views   
  • Great For: Bespoke, wow-factor corporate events
  • Pax: 2-20 pax in one group but special arrangements can be made
  • Price: $$$$$

The Mahogany Room on level one at Crown Casino in Melbourne is something of myth and legend. There’s minimal information available online and one has to be ‘invited’ or a very high-ranking member of Crown’s loyalty club to have access. But if, and only if, you have a friend or an acquaintance that has access to the Mahogany Room, a small work party of the most luxurious kind can be arranged. The Mahogany Room has high stakes tables, a private bar, balcony with Yarra and city views and restaurant available. It is a very ‘one of a kind’ venue and does not suit all work parties. But if it is something (very) luxurious and exclusive you are after in Melbourne, look no further. 

Luxury Cruising on Sydney Harbour 

  • Where: Sydney Harbour 
  • What: Luxury yacht and catamaran cruises    
  • Highlight: The beautiful, iconic harbour views    
  • Great For: Escaping the grind of the city and blowing the cobwebs out
  • Pax: Vessel dependent, 2 - 1000+
  • Price: $$$$

A Luxury Sydney Harbour cruise is a ‘must-do’ for a work party in Sydney, especially if you have overseas delegates visiting who you want to impress. There’s no better way to see the vibrancy of the city than from the decks of a super yacht cruising the harbour landmarks. There are a raft of premier vessels available to hire that come complete with on-board bar, chef, skipper and crew, plus a wealth of entertainment options from resident DJ’s to Street Magicians, Circus Performers and more…. This experience is very unique to Sydney and sure to impress your team, and the best deals are available in the autumn and winter months. 

Quintessential Parties 

Eureka Tower - Melbourne

  • Where:  Southbank Melbourne  
  • What: Highest vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Highlight: The expansive views
  • Great For: A unique stop during a classic Melbourne pub crawl or the finishing touch after dinner and drinks on Southbank
  • Pax: up to 10 people are allowed on the ‘Edge’ at one time.
  • Price: $

The Eureka Sky Deck was finished on the 1st of June in Melbourne’s Southbank precinct. It is the tallest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere and the tallest residential building in the world. The Eureka tower’s 24 carat gold plated glass is now iconic in Melbourne’s sky line and the ‘Edge’ is a glass room the protrudes 3 meters from the building, 984 ft above the ground. It is a famous attraction in Melbourne and a quintessential Melbourne experience. It is not available for private bookings however may be a feature in a pub-crawl or walking bar party for a unique twist on a conventional work party. 

Bridge Climb - Sydney

  • Where: Sydney Harbour
  • What: Climb the Harbour Bridge
  • Highlight: The views, exhilaration and the ‘I’ve done it’ factor 
  • Great For: Corporate and team building work parties in Sydney
  • Pax: 14 per group max
  • Price: $$$

Need I say more? The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most famous icons in not only Sydney, but in Australia. And guess what, you and your work mates can don highly attractive jumpsuits, strap into some safety harnesses and climb it! This is the quintessential Sydney work party idea. It’s a little different, but what better way to say ‘we’re an effective team’ than to climb one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most iconic structures together?

Things to Consider

  • Melbourne has a wicked cultural/arts/drinking scene.

The general consensus is Melbourne’s artsy/cultural scene surpasses that of its shinier and glossier counterpart - Sydney. So if your work party brief involves an edgy laneway bar or a live music joint in a subterranean jazz bar then Melbourne may come up trumps.

However, Sydney has begun to see resurgence in 1920’s style speakeasy bars, and edgy, hidden drinking holes to rival that of its cultural hotshot Melbourne. No better an example of this would be the Mystery world of Merivales Palmer & Co in Abercrombie Lane, or the taxidermy filled Shady Pines Saloon, hidden behind the shittiest door in Darlinghurst.  

  • The Crack Down

Sydney has recently introduced new laws including a 1.30am lockout and 3am last drinks in the Sydney CBD ‘Entertainment Precinct’. Melbourne is not constrained by such laws. This will not affect most typical types of work parties (unless you work at the current day equivalent of Wolf of Wall Street), but it is something to be considered.

  • Public transport

Both cities have a variety of public transport options on offer. Sydney has a relatively reliable and regular bus, ferry, light rail and train public transport system and Melbourne offers trams, trains and buses. Both operate public transport until the wee hours of the morning.

In Summary, Melbourne and Sydney both offer very different yet very interesting possibilities for work parties. Both have the potential to throw bigger, bolder and better work parties than the other. So what do you think? Melbourne or Sydney? The Garden State Vs The Premier State? Tell us about a work party you will never forget in Sydney or Melbourne and let's keep the debate alive! 

Written by April Lipson <>