Gone are the eccentric lamps and mismatched antiques that made The Victoria Room so endearing when it burst onto the Sydney bar scene around eight years ago. The new quartet of owners - The Lobo Plantation’s Michael Hwang and Eddie Levy, and The Island's Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias – have redone the spacious loft with an L.A. country club in mind.
It is ‘Thirsty Thursday’ at the Dove & Olive, and in addition to $5 craft beer schooners, everyone seems to be tucking into the $9.90 burger special. This would normally seem par for the course, but since it is 38 degrees outside I can’t quite face a burger and just need something cold.
This opulent underground drinking den will shield you from the heat while also tricking you into thinking you're in a Wes Anderson film. Inspired by the 1920s actress, Della Pringle, Della Hyde pays homage to luxe lobby bars from around the world.
I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.
Lured by the promise of poolside Frozen Margaritas ($15) and High Tea ($45/person) I parked myself under one of the swishing hula-skirt umbrellas for the afternoon. It’s a very modern high tea rendition with the customary cucumber sangers switched out for sliders, Reuben sandwiches and grilled cheese toasties.
Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art has rolled out the Astroturf, popped the pink umbrellas and created a truly whimsical fairy-lit pop-up leafy oasis called the Gin Garden, that had me feeling like I'd time travelled and gatecrashed a 1950s backyard tea party.
Lit up cherry blossom trees and vibrant washes of colour turned the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf into a magical fairyland for the launch party of Ovolo Woolloomooloo last week. Alongside celebrity guests like Marcia and Deni Hines, and Jessica Mauboy, I wove my way through the clever interiors that have transformed the cavernous warehouse style-space into something surprisingly intimate, all without losing sight of those soaring ceiling heights.
My approach to cooking steak usually involves buying whatever's on special, overcooking it until it resembles old carpet, and then failing to rescue the taste by drowning it in tomato sauce. Since discovering this cool Redfern gastropub, my approach has changed... now I leave it to the professionals at The Woolpack to fulfil my meat cravings with a grilled slab of what I'm convinced is Sydney's best steak.
When I want to drink Japanese whisky I head to Tokyo Bird. And this Surry Hills small bar is making it hard not to want to drink whisky on Tuesday 22 December with their inaugural Christmas Whisky Dinner ($135/person).
I'm sitting in a glamorous L.A .country club. No wait, maybe it's a yacht club. In Darlinghurst. And I'm eating lobster mac 'n' cheese and drinking bubblegum-infused cocktails that have been delivered to me by a girl who looks fresh off the tennis court.