If you'd have told me a year ago that you'd find me in a slick Japanese lounge bar, picking caviar from between my teeth amid a thick haze of liquid nitrogen, I would have choked on my cider and fallen off my bar stool.
My date might have been fluttering her eyelashes at me from across the table, but it was Cruise Bar's gorgeous twilight views of Sydney Harbour that I found myself lusting over. Sprawling across three levels, my date and I spent our evening at the oriental-inspired (and appropriately named) Junk Lounge on Level Two.
I approached this month’s Smooth Festival of Chocolate like I would if I were shopping while starving: I literally threw anything that looked remotely delicious into my trolley (aka: mouth). After avoiding breakfast, so I could have as much room available for edible decadence as possible, I started my cacao journey at Chocolate Del Mondo, where I dived face first into a Volcanic Chocolate Eruption ($10).
If you can't afford a room at the Four Seasons, spend the night at its swanky hotel bar that coolly juts off the side instead. While my date was no stranger to whisky, Grain Bar's comprehensive Scotch menu left me cross-eyed somewhere in between the Glenfarclas and the Glenfiddich.
This funky small bar in Darlinghurst is perfect for a first date: the balcony overlooks Taylor Square (so you'll have lots of colourful wildlife to giggle about if the conversation runs dry) and it's dark enough that you can easily escape if your Tinder date turns out to be shit.
Remember that ramen burger from the Noodle Night Markets that blew everyone's minds? Well now it’s found a permanent home at David Yip's One Tea Lounge & Grill. Since launching, Yip has become the matcha man, infusing green tea into at least 80% of the bar's menu.
Someone once told me that the key to happiness is to make others happy. Well, they were wrong, because after a visit to this quirky Jamaican hangout, it's pretty clear that the key to happiness involves jerk chicken and alcoholic sunsets served over ice.
After almost getting arrested (who knew you weren't allowed to wear a mask in a casino?), my date and I arrived at the Dom Pérignon Masquerade Party, only to be pointed and laughed at by one of the classy birds from The Bachelor.
While many small bars are going down the American or speakeasy route, it's refreshing to see one quirky Darlinghurst bar doing things differently. Kubrick's, situated on Stanley Street (get it?) has bright white walls punctuated by funky geometric wall sculptures and angular murals.