Event season has started, good and proper, and beer is the first order of the day. To kick things off, I headed to Hotel Centennial for dinner (cooked by Justin North) with singer/songwriter Josh Pyke and music industry heavyweight, Mark Pope.
As people open the doors into the newly renovated Charing Cross Hotel, you’re likely to hear a sharp intake of breath.
"Our son’s Italian greyhound can sit right there," a couple at a neighbouring table explains, as they fill me in on why they frequent the new-look Annandale Hotel.
Sydney was clearly champing at the bit for another place to celebrate whisky, but as bar industry heavyweight Jeremy Shipley explained, it takes time to amass over a hundred whiskies!
While the padded white booths in the upstairs showpiece Uncorked are now only reserved for functions, there’s still reason to visit The Union Hotel to eat.
‘Cheap and Cheerful in the Central CBD’, or as otherwise subtitled: ‘Thank God For a Rainy Day’. It was pissing down actually; otherwise we wouldn’t have stumbled up the stairs looking for respite.
“There are not many places in Sydney where you can flop your willy out and look at a picture postcard view of the Sydney Opera House,” my dining companion comes bounding back from the bathroom to announce.
Things are looking up if you work around Wynyard with an outpost of Chefs Gallery opening up at MetCentre. Just like the original, you’ll find a glass-walled kitchen that allows you to enjoy the theatre of hand-stretched noodle making while your dish is prepared to order as you wait.
This pub’s a cosy spot to hole up on a cold and blustery night; from happy hour in the comfortable front bar where I sink an Austrian Stiegl ($4/middy), to the dark brown wine bar with pressed tin ceilings; the chic red lounge, or the popular (though more cavernous) back bar.
Another notch in the belt for Sydney’s expanding pub gentrification with Erskineville’s former Kurrajong Hotel being refitted and re-imagined British West Indies-style.