Poolside Cafe

All your beach parties and frolicking in the ocean counts for nothing if you haven't visited this place.
Trish Roberts
Published on November 21, 2011
Updated on October 22, 2021


Sydney summer may mean lounging in the sand, swimming in the surf and basically living at the beach, but you'd be remiss not to consider some of the city's fine outdoor pools — especially, Andrew (Boy) Charlton. The saltwater pool sits just above the harbour and boasts a cafe with some fine views.

Once you've picked your day to go, your plan for that day is simple. Head past AGNSW, without stopping. (Yes, we know that's a difficult one to do, but you can loop back in the afternoon.) Dive into Andrew (Boy) Charlton pool for a few laps to work up an appetite, then head for the Poolside Cafe at the top. We hope you've decided to come on a weekday because this place sure does get busy on weekends. That said, it's well worth waiting your turn if there's the need to do so.

Sit down at your table, remembering to borrow a hat and slap on some of the sunscreen on offer if you're outside. This is the spot with the best view, over not only the pool but across Woolloomooloo Bay. Next, order up a storm. We suggest a frappe to start. The limonata with mint is our vote, though the passionfruit, mango and orange option also comes highly recommended. From the breakfast menu, try the mushroom bruschetta ($18), with ricotta, smashed peas, truss tomato and soft boiled egg on grain toast. If you're arriving later, lunch is available, with crispy zucchini flowers ($16), the Nourish, Rainbow and Soul salad bowls ($19 each) and a good ol' fashion fish and chips ($23) all available from 12pm.

To be fair, it's hard to miss with this food. Super fresh, almost as affordable as a visit to the pool downstairs and served up surprisingly fast. Add a warm, clear day and an incredible view, and it doesn't take much to realise why this is such a popular summer haunt.


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