Juliana is Time Out Sydney's editorial assistant. The worst moment in her life is when an ibis made off with a whole wheel of brie she'd freshly unwrapped on the front lawn of the MCA. She spends most of her spare time trying to figure out which brand of soy milk will curdle in her tea.

Juliana Yu

Juliana Yu

Articles (24)

The 50 best cheap eats in Melbourne

The 50 best cheap eats in Melbourne

July 2024: 'Tis the season for melty cheese fondue goodness and mulled wines galore, cosy roast lunches (preferably in pubs with roaring fireplaces) and venturing out in our puffiest puffer jackets to bask in the wonder of Melbourne's seasonal light shows. But let's be real – all that winter fun can get a little exxy after a while. So if your wallet needs a break, try one of these cheap eats instead the next time you're out and about in town.  The late and great respected chef Anthony Bourdain once famously said: “I'd rather eat in Melbourne than Paris." It goes without saying that Melbourne has long been revered as one of Asia Pacific's most exciting food cities, but that status isn't just attributed to our fancy restaurants – special as many of those upper crust institutions may be. Our laneaways and hidden alcoves are brimming with cheap street eats, smashable pub deals and dinner options you can enjoy for $20, $15 or even under $10, so you can stop counting your hard-earned pennies and start eating instead. Looking for a drink to wash it all down? These are the best happy hour deals right now. Curious about other yummy specials? Here's how to get a cheap meal in Melbourne every night of the week.

The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

The best Chinese restaurants in Sydney

From specialty Sichuan spots to hot Cantonese kitchens, Sydney has some seriously great Chinese restaurants. Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around town to bring you this curated and up-to-date list. So whether you want to go all out and explore regional cuisines, sit down for yum cha, grab some takeaway barbecue duck or hand-thrown noodles, you'll find your spot here. These are the best Chinese restaurants Sydney has to offer – we're hungry just thinking about them. Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, food & drink inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox.  Recommended: Here are the tastiest cheap eats in Sydney right now Check out the best Italian joints in Sydney town

How to spend the perfect weekend in Canberra

How to spend the perfect weekend in Canberra

Small in size but big on culture, Canberra is the perfect place to venture for your next weekend getaway. All the capital's key attractions are within walking distance from the city centre, with plenty of trendy cafés and peaceful gardens for when you need to rest your legs.  We’ve curated the ultimate two-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in Canberra.  Have an extra night? Here’s how to spend the perfect long weekend in Australia’s capital city.

Your ultimate long weekend itinerary in Canberra

Your ultimate long weekend itinerary in Canberra

Long weekends and Canberra go hand-in-hand. Our nation’s capital is packed with pocket-sized adventures for culture vultures, foodies, nature lovers and history buffs.  From big names like Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia to hidden gems like the Arboretum and Little Burley Market, you’ll have no problem filling your three-day weekend with incredible and inspiring activities. Just follow our guide to the ultimate long weekend in Canberra. Only have two days? Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in Canberra.

The 21 best farmers markets to explore in Australia

The 21 best farmers markets to explore in Australia

Saturday sleep-ins are great, but nothing beats a weekend amble to the local farmers market. A mandatory stop on almost any regional holiday, these outdoor marketplaces buzz with local producers selling the freshest flowers, most seasonal produce and tastiest street food.  You've undoubtedly heard of the big players (hello Queen Victoria Market and Adelaide Central Market), but there are plenty of smaller (and equally spectacular) markets waiting for you to explore. Our round-up of the best markets in Australia covers them all – from the big names to the charming regional treasures. RECOMMENDED: The 9 most epic Australian road trips to do before you die.

The best places to eat in Sydney's Inner West

The best places to eat in Sydney's Inner West

Sydney's Inner Western suburbs have a well-earned reputation as the boho bloc of the city, with arty enclaves in places like Balmain, Marrickville and the rainbow streets of Newtown, where Sydney's counterculture communities still thrive in spite of soaring property prices. And with those creative energies comes a whole plethora of good eats to fuel the community spirits of the Inner West. Workday lunches could be anything from Egyptian street food to dumplings, tamales or banh mi, and when you don't feel like cooking dinner, there's pretty much no corner of the globe or price point not catered to. Want to eat on one of the city's most respected fine diners? Sixpenny is hiding in the residential streets of Stanmore. New world pizza? Hit Bella Brutta in Newtown. Nigerian, Pakistani, or Mexican? Got them all. And if it's the first meal of the day that concerns you, we've got top-tier coffee to spare and avo toast enough to finance a first home owner's grant. If you're hungry in this 'hood, these are the best places to fill your tank. Jump to a section: RESTAURANTS CAFES PUBS 

The best Indian restaurants in Sydney

The best Indian restaurants in Sydney

Whether you want thick, creamy, red curries; soft, charry naan breads; oily, hot pickles; a fiery vindaloo; or a cooling lassi, there's an Indian restaurant primed to sort your spice cravings in Sydney. Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure – who has spent weeks travelling from the palm-fringed beaches in Goa to the lush mountains in Darjeeling – have rounded up the best Indian restaurants in the city. We've got tropical flavours from the south and the earthy heat from northern fare, and, if you really want to go on a subcontinental adventure, head to Sydney's own little India in Harris Park. Want more food adventures? Check out our guide to the best Sydney restaurants. On a budget? Here are the best cheap eats in Sydney.

Parramatta: A local's guide to the best things to do

Parramatta: A local's guide to the best things to do

Parramatta sits at the intersection of rich history and rapid development. The ‘place of eels’ is home to one of the earliest sites of ancient Aboriginal communities in Sydney, with the Burramattagal people, a clan of the Darug, having first settled along the upper reaches of the Parramatta River around 60,000 years ago. It’s also the site of Sydney’s second European settlement. In search of fertile farming land, colonists arrived here just two months after landing in Sydney Cove in 1788, and as a result, the area is thick with significant heritage buildings and vital archaeological sites. Jump to a section EAT DRINK COFFEE THINGS TO DO SHOPPING What’s Parramatta known for?  These days, it’s the booming geographical centre of Greater Sydney and has become a city in its own right. In the space of a few decades, it’s gone from a typical suburb to a commercial hub, with high-rise residential developments now shooting up faster than you can say ‘DA’. However, despite rapid growth, the suburb has retained plenty of local character. Parramatta has long been one of the most diverse areas in NSW, with over 70% of the population speaking a language other than English, and that diversity is well reflected in the local economy and cultural calendar – there are few places where annual events like Diwali and Lunar New Year are celebrated in as much an official capacity as Christmas. Why do locals love about Parramatta?  Because it embodies “live, work and play”. The suburb is home to hig

The 21 best bars in Australia for a memorable night out

The 21 best bars in Australia for a memorable night out

There’s always time for a tipple when you’re travelling around Australia. Our thirsty country is swimming in stellar watering holes that are loved by locals and tourists alike. We’ve even got a handful of contenders on the World’s 50 Best Bars list to back us up. Whether you’re looking for the best spot for cleverly crafted cocktails or a natural wine bar with superb snacks, drink your way through our selection of the best bars in Australia. After a meal? Check out the best restaurants in Australia here.

54 fun things to do indoors in Sydney

54 fun things to do indoors in Sydney

Sydney: the city of blue skies, alfresco living and fabulous times in the great outdoors, right? Well, hold on a second. That may the case for a majority of the year thanks to our sunny Aussie climate but the Harbour City has its gloomy days too. Who said that hunkering down indoors was reserved for home? Take shelter in style with our guide to the most fun things to do indoors in Sydney. Whether you're in search of a crafternoon, a cultural adventure, or a cocktail with a view, there's something for everyone on our list of fun venues and activities where you can stay warm (or cool) and dry, all year round. Or why not wait out the rain in one of Sydney's most luxurious staycation locations?

The best restaurants in Newtown

The best restaurants in Newtown

For decades Newtown has been an evolving creature, where creativity abounds and self-expression is paramount. And yes, while we still want to #keepnewtownweird and vegans are still well catered for, there's plenty on the dining scene to keep even the most straight-laced pearl clutchers happy, too.  There's high-end dining to be had in this rainbow neck of the woods, but also a bunch of hyper-focussed regional diners dishing up everything from Egyptian street food to killer pizza and fiery Chinese hot pots. Time Out Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor Avril Treasure, have eaten their way around King Street and beyond to bring you this guide to Newtown's best restaurants. And if you're thirsty, check out our guide to Newtown's best bars here. RECOMMENDED: The best Sydney restaurants for your dining hit list

Seven unusual museums to visit in Sydney

Seven unusual museums to visit in Sydney

Sydney’s larger museums and art galleries are where you can experience a well-rounded dose of arts and culture. However, for something a little offbeat (and sometimes more fun), we’ve found the most quirky, niche museums in Sydney; they’ll have you laughing, gagging and wondering in awe at vintage vehicles, magic tricks and the human body – all in the name of education. RECOMMENDED: Explore Sydney's best public art and these Sydney harbour islands. 

Listings and reviews (68)

Black Pearl

Black Pearl

5 out of 5 stars

Mar 2024 update: This review was written in 2019, so please be aware that some elements may have changed since. Check out the bar's 21st birthday update for our most recent reporting. Melburnians never needed the succession of big international awards to know that the Black Pearl is where you go for a bloody good cocktail – though undoubtedly those accolades benefited the travellers who now flock to the bar as a checklist destination. Tash Conte’s family-run bar has been a beacon of excellence for decades, and they’re the place many of us learnt how to appreciate a fine drink. Not content to sit pretty on tried-and-tested masterpieces, their list is always on the move, keeping step with moods and seasons. All summer they’ve been leaning into a tropical, fun-loving theme, taking the tacky cocktails you’d get at an all-inclusive resort and reimagining them into serious contenders. You won’t find many world-renowned cocktail bars serving up a frozen Cosmopolitan, but here they do, made with proper, locally crafted curaçao to give depth and fragrance to the good-times drink. It’s the same kind of pluck that sees them doing an inspired bourbon-and-banana number in the Lady Finger, with citrus, Earl Grey and falernum lifting then tempering their burly flavours for a refreshing tipple that defies logic. A true legend is a magnanimous one, and in this regard the Black Pearl stands tall. The bar’s record for fostering talent is unmatched, with a litany of fresh faces turning into some

Ford’s Farm

Ford’s Farm

If you’re not afraid of a little heavy lifting, there’s a charming citrus orchard less than two hours' drive north of Sydney where you can pick more zesty goods than you can throw at an industrial juicer. At Ford’s they specialise in mandarins – satsuma, imperial and hickson varieties are all grown here, and some of the original emperor mandarin trees planted more than 50 years ago are still bearing fruit today. You can also pick Tahitian and kaffir limes, lemons and cumquats, tiny oval shaped fruits that are both sweet and tart, and incredibly fun to pop in your mouth whole. Make a day of your visit – there are picnic areas, a farm shop selling homemade chutney, and sheep to feed. If you’re driving, there’s plenty to do before and after your citrus stockpiling session. Located right on the Hawkesbury River, the farm is wedged between two massive national parks – Dharug up north, and Marramarra down south, plus the historic town of Wisemans Ferry is on the way, just 20 minutes out. There's an entry fee of $10 per car (this covers up to 6 people in your car). Once you're in, you only pay for the fruit you pick (at $3 per kilo; cumquats are $10 per kilo). Make sure you book via their website before driving on up, because bookings are essential and they allow you to pick fruit on specific dates.

F45 Alexandria

F45 Alexandria

Everyone knows someone who has converted to the cult of F45, a global chain of specialty gyms where instructors lead 45-minute sessions of HIIT (high intensity interval training) that’ll leave you knackered in the best possible way. Devotees love the variety of workouts (composed from a database with thousands of exercises so each day is different), enthusiastic trainers, high-energy music and the camaraderie – not to mention accountability – that comes with exercising in a group. Obviously there are studios all around Sydney. Find locations here. Keen for a healthy feed? Check out our guide to healthy eateries that don't suck.

Mr Ramen San

Mr Ramen San

Increasingly enveloped by glassy ‘dining precincts’ and international players, we can’t help but wonder if the CBD’s remaining old-school arcades and food courts are living on borrowed time. We hope not. The hardy, usually family-run eateries within have long filled the bellies of CBD workers for minimal coin, from steamy boat noodles and sour pork fried rice in the ‘90s chic Paramount Food Court to bain-maries full of legit Padang cuisine at Tivoli Arcade.  Bourke Street’s MidCity Arcade is another stalwart, best known for dumpling institution Shandong Mama but also home to the peppily named Mr Ramen San, a homey joint banging down some of the most dependable noodles in town.  Compared to hyped tonkotsu joints like Hakata Gensuke and Ippudo that sell themselves on ultra-concentrated, rich soups, the bowls at Mr Ramen San are flavourful while being restrained enough for everyday consumption. The 10-hour pork bone broth is soft and creamy without being heavy, sporting a level of gelatinousness that slips rather than sticks. Thin and bitey wheat noodles, made in house, are just the right vehicle for this lower viscosity tonkotsu, while sliced spring onion, pickled bamboo shoots, seaweed and a jammy soy egg tick the customary topping boxes.  From there you can steer traditional with thinly sliced chashu that’s a half-and-half swirl of supple fat and char-blushed meat, or switch out for miso-simmered beef, spicy chicken mince, prawns and even a “vegan chashu” that mostly invokes

Bia Hoi

Bia Hoi

3 out of 5 stars

It seems like just yesterday that our options for shopping centre sustenance extended from Maccas to Muffin Break. Thanks to the retail apocalypse, however, we’re now expected to spend via the stomach. Rubrical food courts (fast food, self-serve Chinese, salad and wrap counter, sushi rolls, repeat) have made way for “dining precincts”, with centre operators splashing the cash to lure big-name chefs and overseas chains that become a destination in and of themselves. As it were, the capstone in the final stage of the Glen’s half-billion-dollar redevelopment is a leafy, open-air pavilion of flash casual eateries, with drawcards including Korean imports Massizim and Gami Chicken and Beer, plus Dainty Sichuan spinoff Tina’s Noodle Kitchen. Esteemed Annam chef Jerry Mai has thrown her hat in the ring too with Bia Hoi, a big and bright eatery inspired by the laidback beer halls of Vietnam. While there are quick pho or bùn bowls to power grocery runs, Bia Hoi’s really pitching for diners to stick around for convivial rounds of beer, street snacks and DIY barbecue. There are even cocktails for the most devoted of the ‘treat yourself’ crowd, consisting mainly of peppy twists on the familiar – lychee-sweet caprioskas and Vietnamese coffee martinis swirled with condensed milk. For the rest of us it’s frosty glasses of Bia Hanoi and 333 along with an impressive selection of craft beers (we’re in Glen Waverley, after all), going beyond pale ale with sours, IPAs and flavoured stouts from Vi

Neko Neko

Neko Neko

Winter’s tightening grip turns our yearnings to comfort food. Landlords across Melbourne may refuse to install double glazing, but at least we can warm ourselves from the inside out with steamy stews and starches, summertime ideals of virtuous eating be damned. But what if belly-warming food could be also wholesome and healthy, satisfying without tasting soporific? Leave it to the Japanese. Down the city end of Smith Street is Neko Neko, a cosy little eatery cooking homestyle vegan and pescatarian Japanese for which it has amassed a loyal following. Forgoing dairy and red meat – staff instead pack dishes with vegetables cooked, raw and pickled while working in plenty of seeds and whole grains, elevating dishes that would usually leave you feeling comatose into lighter but no less satiating weeknight dinners.  Vegan Japanese curry fills gaping winter appetites, arriving via boat-shaped vessel in which shore of bitey purple rice meets thick, earthy curry. Unlike its south Asian counterparts, Japanese curry is light on spice, made by cooking down root veggies including onion and carrot into a curry powder roux that becomes gently sweet and starchy. Plopped on top are couple of panko-coated potato and bean croquettes drizzled in tangy coriander and bulldog sauce. The veritable carb fest is balanced by an assortment of veggies, from a perky floret of blanched cauliflower to a tangle of pickled daikon ribbons. Packing in your RDI of fibre has never been so enjoyable. And while we l

Issan Thai Street Food

Issan Thai Street Food

4 out of 5 stars

From the moment you step inside Issan Thai, you know you’re onto something good. The air hits you like a wave, warm and thick with sugar, fish sauce and lively chatter. Chirpy Thai-pop and ‘sawadeeka’s sing out, while immediately to your left is a bain-marie that houses not gloopy chicken cashews and orange pad Thais, but a rotating fiesta of Issan delights, like spicy and sour catfish stew, rubbles of fiery larb, and brow-mopping jungle curry.Hailing from Thailand’s northeast, Issan cuisine is characterised by simple preparations (think grilled meats and soups eaten with sticky rice) and flavours that are punchy yet clean – you won’t see coconut cream cushioning curries, but rather a tendency to dial up with chillies and pickles. With Issan food still pretty hard to find in Melbourne (the ever-popular Dodee Paidang offers a CBD fix), to get best mileage here you’ll want to order adventurously. Coast past the pick-your-protein stir fries that prop up their roaring takeaway trade and head straight for som tum. It’s a powerful addition to the salad canon, a mountain of shredded green papaya dressed with dried shrimp, crushed peanuts, lime, garlic, chilli and fish sauce. For the full experience get the pla ra version, which invites the salty funk of fermented crab to the party.At the heart of the menu are grilled meats ready to be bundled up with a leaf or tacky ball of rice, so if you like ssam, you’ll love this too. Here, it’s less about top-shelf cuts or exacting sear times b

Goldie Canteen

Goldie Canteen

3 out of 5 stars

You have to love the audaciousness of a carb-on-carb dish, which defies convention to give us gems from the culinary canon like potato pizza, red bean mochi, and the glorious chip butty. The latest to straddle that fine line between crazy and genius is all-day CBD eatery Goldie Canteen, which has created a macro-busting frankensandwich that stuffs instant ramen and peking duck between its bready borders. With crunchy, toasted sourdough couching the slip of noodles and hoisin sauce, bolstered by a layer of juicy shredded duck meat, it may sound like the brainwave of a stoner or a child, but there’s no denying it strikes those pleasure receptors square on. A second punt on the format is a take on jianbing, a Chinese breakfast street food. Thin, crisp crepes are given a wash of egg and earthy fermented soybean paste before being wrapped around a hot baton of youtiao, deep-fried dough crullers with an oily crunch. True jianbing fans will find Goldie’s take a lightweight cousin of the real thing, which is traditionally packed with scallions, sesame, wonton crisps and pork floss, but context forgives. After all, you couldn’t get much further from a Shanghainese pavement than the lobby of the Novotel Melbourne Central. It’s an unexpected move for a hotel chain to open a bright Asian-inspired café, one that sports cute cartoon graphics and neon lights while spinning bing, bao and bubble tea. As could be expected, in the process of giving street food a hotel-ready polish they’ve also

Agostino

Agostino

4 out of 5 stars

Have you ever tried to style your hair into a ‘messy bob’, or attempted to cook paella at home? As it turns out, looking effortless requires a lot of work. With Agostino, about four years’ worth has resulted in a restaurant that’s breezily confident from the outset, ready to elbow its way into Melbourne’s Italian canon. The place has barely opened, but the linen-clad staff are already gliding around buzzing rooms, pouring wines from a towering backlit cellar and swooping down plate after plate of sophisticated regional fare.  Agostino is the final, crowning jewel in the Valmorbida family’s epic complex of Italian drinking and dining, which also includes the revived King & Godfree Deli and rooftop spritz bar Johnny’s Green Room. But where the other two are more casual affairs, this upscale wine bar is here to make an impression. The space is a study in relaxed, discerning luxury, pale woods and dusty greens soothing as shiny terrazzo and marble bars adding a moneyed weight. Meanwhile, that glowing cellar holds a small town’s economy in triple digit European wines, sure to be given high rotation by the long lunchers and Carlton’s comfortable retirees. Smaller budgets are kept intact by the glass, with interest-piquing options like a buttery moschofilero from Greece and a deliciously unfussy red on tap – a tannin-light field blend of Italian varietals including lagrein and nero d’Avola that’s fat with dark fruits and yours for only $10. The menu, meanwhile, is a clear-eyed explo

Saint Dreux

Saint Dreux

3 out of 5 stars

Whether you like to eat at hip cafes or homey ones, sleek wine bars or spenny fine diners, you’ve probably noticed that the katsu sando – panko-crumbed, deep-fried meat in crustless white bread – is defying the laws of our attention deficit dining scene. You'll see versions of the humble sarnie of convenience stores and train station bentos in Japan everywhere across Melbourne, with Cutler and Co’s abalone katsu sandwich and Congress’s pigs head sanga still two of the most coveted bites in the city.The sandwich's interminable rise finds its latest launch pad at Saint Dreux, a standalone coffee and sandwich bar. Its futuristic, Blade Runneresque aesthetic has kindled a torrent of images of the pitch black storefront, punctuated only by perfectly prismatic sandwiches that seem birthed by 3D printer rather the hand of common man.Yes, you could lean into largesse and go for the $28 wagyu number, served medium rare with 7+ marble score beef, but without the offer of a big brassy glass of red and the rest of the afternoon off, a more lunch-appropriate indulgence lies in the $15 kurobuta pork. It’s a well constructed beast, the all-important panko coating is super flaky and audibly crunchy even after minutes steaming under tangy bull dog sauce and mayo. The thumb-thick cutlet inside, while juicy, is a jaw workout in parts to get that intense, unmistakeable ‘pork but more’ flavour of kurobuta. It’s the prawn sando we’ll be returning for. Its marriage of bouncy sweet prawn meat, crack

Union Kiosk

Union Kiosk

The world has come a long way for vegans – now we’ve got lush oat lattes, plant burgers that bleed and coconut-based ice creams every bit as silky as their dairy counterparts. Even cheese toasties are on the table at Union Kiosk, where they dole out cheap and cheerful tuckshop-style jaffles from a hole in the wall window on Causeway Lane. They’re coy on their cheese sorcery methods but a base of tapioca flour and coconut oil give it a melty, elastic texture that’s a worthy mimic of the Kraft slices of your childhood, but creamier. For peak nostalgic snacking, we reckon its best enjoyed with their house made baked beans toasted between white sandwich bread.  

Wild Life Bakery

Wild Life Bakery

5 out of 5 stars

Tearing into the crunchy, deep caramel crust of Wild Life Bakery's sourdough feels like holy communion with carbs. The intense, chewy crumb in slices swabbed with miso butter or dipped into harissa-heavy shakshouka is why locals cram this bakery for breakfast. They also leave with grand, hunking baguettes and sandwiches you hope will never end for lunch. Toasties arrive thick as a forehead and big as a face, yet achieve the all-important mission of properly melting the abundance of sweet and nutty Comté inside couched around sticky, worcestershire-rich onion. Meanwhile, old school salad sambos achieve new crush status when folded into chewy sourdough baguettes, lifted with the zip of pickled carrot and tempered with soft avo and roast beetroot.We’re even moved by the fruit bread. Plump gems of raisin, apricot and whole dates glisten in the cross section and quenelles of smooth mascarpone and spoonable lemon curd lift this far above its lowly status on the café menu pecking order. Only the photogenic brown rice congee, topped with a topaz-yolked soy egg, kale furikake and pickled mushrooms falls short of ecstasy. It feels good to eat, but lacks that deep, stock flavour. Perhaps though, its greatest crime may simply lie in being in the company of greater things.It’s best to take your time here – fresh or toasted, these malty crusts are deafeningly crunchy, with a crumb so elastic that any haste will imperil palates and jaws. Alternate bites with sips of ace Market Lane coffee,

News (33)

A Harry Potter-themed brunch is coming to Melbourne

A Harry Potter-themed brunch is coming to Melbourne

UPDATE: Tickets for Melbourne's Harry Potter-themed brunch are now on sale. Drop everything and hitch a ride via the nearest broomstick, enchanted vehicle or flying horse-drawn carriage, because there’s a Harry Potter-themed mega brunch coming to Melbourne this May and it sounds downright magical. They’re calling it the Wizard Brunch, to be held in May at a secret city location that will be transformed into the Hogwarts Great Hall. Organisers are shy on the details for the moment, promising only that it’ll be an immersive entertaining and dining experience that’ll make you forget the existence of the drab muggle world outside. Guests will feast on dishes inspired by the series, drink ‘magic potions’, and be invited to glug as much butter beer as their bellies can hold. There’ll also be Quidditch, sorting ceremonies and wand lessons as side entertainment on the day. More details are set to follow, but if you’re happy to hand over your email deets, you can sign up for pre-release tickets on their website. We have to say though, we’ve noticed a raft of novel pop-up bars being announced recently, from ‘ball-pit playground bars’ in December to the (definitely not affiliated with Lego) building block bars hyped last week. With none of these great ideas yet to materialise, we’re starting to wonder if they might all just be a bit of marketing wizardry? After looking into the Wizard Brunch, it's our understanding that the event is being organised by the same people as the ball bit p

This booze company is offering tinnie deliveries for Valentine’s Day

This booze company is offering tinnie deliveries for Valentine’s Day

Less than a month out from Valentine’s Day, the more diligent partners out there are likely beginning to consider their gifting options. Something sentimental? Something sweet? Something sparkly? If none of those criteria really sing out to you, you might like to consider the ‘Valen-Tinnies Gift Box’ instead. Created by alcohol delivery company BoozeBud, it’s a box of 16 craft beer cans in a variety of styles, from pale and summer ales to lagers and IPAs. They’ve sourced tins from across Australia, including a Sorachi Kolsch from Mornington Peninsula and an IPA from Last Rites in Tassie, as well a handful of foreign imports from breweries like Kona in Hawaii and BrewDog in Scotland. And because romance isn’t dead, the box costs $69.69 (yep, you read right), for which they’ll chuck in a personalised card too. While we don’t have plans to ‘accidentally’ leave the tab for this particular gift open on our partners’ web browsers, there’s definitely an audience for this out there – perhaps if you have the kind of partner who, when referring to ‘perle’, ‘crystal’, and ‘golding’ isn’t talking about jewellery, hates sweets, or simply has really bad hayfever.

A Harry Potter-themed brunch is coming to Sydney

A Harry Potter-themed brunch is coming to Sydney

Drop everything and hitch a ride via the nearest broomstick, enchanted vehicle or flying horse-drawn carriage, because there’s a Harry Potter-themed mega brunch coming to Sydney this April and it sounds downright magical. They’re calling it the Wizard Brunch, to be held in April at a secret CBD location that will be transformed into the Hogwarts Great Hall. Organisers are shy on detail for the moment, promising only that it’ll be an immersive entertaining and dining experience that’ll make you forget the existence of the drab muggle world outside. Guests will feast on dishes inspired by the series, drink ‘magic potions’, and be invited to glug as much butter beer as their bellies can hold. There’ll also be Quidditch, sorting ceremonies and wand lessons as side entertainment on the day. More details are set to follow, but if you’re happy to hand over your email deets, you can sign up for pre-release tickets on their website. We have to say though, we’ve noticed a raft of novel pop-up bars being announced recently, from ‘ball-pit playground bars’ in December to the (definitely not affiliated with Lego) building block bars hyped last week. With none of these great ideas yet to materialise, we’re starting to wonder if they might all just be a bit of marketing wizardry? Stay tuned. Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Break your way out of one the best escape rooms in Sydney.

Sam Smith is touring Australia this November

Sam Smith is touring Australia this November

If you missed out on tickets to his intimate Opera House gig tomorrow night, you can wipe those tears: Sam Smith is returning to Australia in November and he’ll be playing five whole arena shows. It’ll be the soulful UK singer’s first tour of Australia in three years. During that time he’s accumulated a colossal cache of metalware from ARIA, the Golden Globes, the Brits and the Grammys, selling over 12 million albums in the process to become one of the world’s most successful contemporary artists. He’ll grace the Qudos Bank Arena stage on November 16, singing tracks from his latest record The Thrill of It All, including hit single ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’. General release tickets go on sale at 2pm on Monday January 22 – if you want to save yourself the heartbreak of missing out on seeing the wildly popular balladeer twice in a year, you’d better set those lunch hour alarms now. Sam Smith's not the only megastar coming to Sydney this year – Mariah's also on her way.

Sam Smith is touring Australia this November

Sam Smith is touring Australia this November

If you weren't able to jet up to Sydney for his intimate Opera House gig tomorrow night, you can wipe those tears: Sam Smith is returning to Australia in November and he’ll be playing five whole arena shows. It’ll be the soulful UK singer’s first tour of Australia in three years. During that time he’s accumulated a colossal cache of metalware from ARIA, the Golden Globes, the Brits and the Grammys, selling over 12 million albums in the process to become one of the world’s most successful contemporary artists. He’ll grace Rod Laver Arena on November 6, singing tracks from his latest record The Thrill of It All, including hit single ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’. General release tickets go on sale at 2pm on Monday January 22 – if you want to save yourself the heartbreak of missing out on seeing the wildly popular balladeer twice in a year, you’d better set those lunch hour alarms now. Sam Smith's not the only megastar coming to Melbourne this year – Mariah's also on her way. Can't wait till October? There's plenty of Laneway sideshows to check out. 

Gross alert: authorities warn of bacterial contamination at your favourite beaches

Gross alert: authorities warn of bacterial contamination at your favourite beaches

Hold the togs – before you jump in for a post-work swim today, be warned that for a number of major Sydney beaches the Office of Environment & Heritage is forecasting cloudy with a chance of BACTERIA. Due to heavy rainfall over the past few days, they’re predicting stormwater pollution to have washed into the sea potentially anything from litter and chemical detergents to ‘natural pollution’, which includes leaves, soil and – horror! – animal droppings. Today’s report advises swimmers to avoid the waters at Bronte, Tamarama and Coogee completely, citing “likely” pollution. For now, Bondi, Clovelly and Maroubra are still good to go, although they recommend keeping an eye out for water discoloration and debris on the tide line. Stay updated by checking the Office’s daily beach pollution forecast, but if you really want to make sure you don’t catch something nasty while taking a dip, head to one of Sydney’s many outdoor pools, or go north – according to the report, Avalon is looking peachy. Need something to do outside of the water? Check out our Coogee area guide for the suburb's best bars, restaurants and activities.

Sydney Festival is hosting a giant rainbow wedding reception tomorrow

Sydney Festival is hosting a giant rainbow wedding reception tomorrow

Ditch your dinner plans and don your dancing shoes, because Sydney Festival is hosting a giant rainbow wedding reception tomorrow night and everyone’s invited. The Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park will be awash in cake, Champagne, and that wonderful little thing called love as the city celebrates the first day that same-sex couples can legally marry in Australia. For the reception, Black Star Pastry will be unveiling a five-tier rainbow pavlova cake (prepare for your Instagram feed to be flooded), while My Little Panda Kitchen will be baking a vegan wedding cake for all the plant-based lovers. The folks from Gelato Messina will also be scooping a special ‘Equality Time’ flavour on the night featuring salted caramel and fior di latte coated in biscuit crumb, while the bubbles will get those joints greased for a boogie as DJ Charlie Villas plays a set packed with wedding classics. Many of the village’s installations will transform into reception-ready activities – step up to the Karaoke Carousel for a shot at playing wedding singer, throw mad shapes in the name of love at 10 Minute Dance Parties, or go for a dip in the village’s pop-up swimming pools, which will turn pink for the night. Head down from 6pm to join in on what’s sure to be one of the most joyous nights in the summer calendar. You’re unlikely to find another wedding as good as this – cake, equality and true love under the stars, all without being forced to sit next to your annoying aunt.

Free public Wi-Fi is finally coming to the CBD

Free public Wi-Fi is finally coming to the CBD

Tired of sheepishly asking baristas for the Wi-Fi password, or spending the last week of every month staring into the void on commutes because your phone data’s run out? Here’s some good news – free public Wi-Fi is finally on the way. The City of Sydney is currently seeking service providers to run free public Wi-Fi, estimating a roll-out within the next two years. Similar programs have been running successfully for years everywhere from Bondi Beach to Manly Beach and the Corso, Parramatta (from Church Street to Riverside Theatre), central Penrith and Campbelltown, but until now there hasn’t been a move to do the same in the CBD. It’s a big win for tourists and people who like to work outside of the office, who’ll be able to stay connected no matter where they are. Freelancers: 1, wanky cafés that don’t have Wi-Fi because they want to encourage “real human connections”: 0. Sydney’s streets will also start to look a little different with a city-wide overhaul of its ‘street furniture’ from 2019. Bus shelters, kiosks, automatic toilets, benches and bins will progressively be replaced with a new suite equipped with ‘smart’ technology. What that means exactly is yet to be seen, but it’ll comprise things like bus shelters showing real-time travel information, event and emergency updates. Better late than never, but shout out to anyone living out west, who’ll recall that the T-Way had real-time data on their bus shelters in 2003, long before TripView existed. In the meantime, here's

You can catch a London black cab in Sydney for free

You can catch a London black cab in Sydney for free

On Wednesday December 20, you can cart yourself between the office, lunch and meetings in a shiny London black cab, but without the London prices (a moment of silence for everyone who’s unwittingly copped a $200 fare from Heathrow). Head down to Exchange Place in Barangaroo from 8am to nab a free ride. If walking’s more your speed, they’re also offering free shoe shining, grooming and styling sessions by an onsite barber so you can look extra swish for your Christmas lunch. It’s all to promote the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle on Blu-ray, and there’ll be an artist recreating artwork from the comics, mural-style, to keep visitors entertained. Note: the freebies wrap up when the live painting finishes, so head down early to secure a seat in the cab or on the barber’s chair. Need a new suit? Get one custom made by one of the best tailors in Sydney.

Guide Dogs NSW needs your help raising 40 puppies

Guide Dogs NSW needs your help raising 40 puppies

These days the media always seems to be going on about a boom of some sort: housing booms, commodities booms, the Bitcoin boom. Well we’re here to tell you about the only boom that matters right now – a bona fide guide dog PUPPY BOOM. Guide Dogs NSW have around 40 little woofers that need to be placed just after Christmas in a loving home for their first year. While this is surely the cutest contribution to society you can sign up for, it’s a big responsibility as well – in addition all the cuddles and fetch, you’ll be introducing them to the sights, sounds and smells they’ll encounter as a guide dog, taking them to puppy pre-school and helping to train and socialise them. The association will provide all food, vet care and plenty of guidance to puppy raisers over the year, and are looking for people who will be home most of the time (only away for less than four hours at a time), have a fully-fenced yard and access to a car. Despite all the work that goes into raising a guide dog puppy, the hardest part is surely saying goodbye to these floofy angels at the end of the year – but knowing that they’ll grow up to become invaluable support for a blind or vision impaired person is something you can always feel good about. If you’re interested in becoming a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs NSW, you can apply here. Find more ways to volunteer in Sydney.

Messina, the Little Marionette and Chargrill Charlies are feeding the homeless this Christmas

Messina, the Little Marionette and Chargrill Charlies are feeding the homeless this Christmas

This weekend, some of Sydney’s favourite cafés and eateries are teaming up to put on the Big Christmas Feed, a hearty festive dinner for 200 men and women from the homeless community. Chargrill Charlies, Oregano Bakery and Seagrass Hospitality (who run the Meat & Wine Co) will be providing meals, with tea and coffee from Inner West roastery the Little Marionette and Messina gelato for dessert. The Passion Project’s Simone Azzi, who created the event, has rounded up the support of other local businesses to supply some extra Christmas cheer – Harris Farm is donating 100kg of fresh fruit and sportswear label P.E. Nation is giving 200 baseball caps as gifts. If you want to show your support, you can donate to this event here.

Take home a Centennial Park plant for as little as $2

Take home a Centennial Park plant for as little as $2

Set your alarms now folks, because if there’s one thing Sydney loves it’s a plant sale, and Centennial Parklands have just announced a big one. Next Saturday, they’ll be hawking a wide variety of greenery at their Christmas plant sale, with pots that cater for everyone from the laziest gardener to the budding horticulturalist. They’ll have low maintenance succulents, indoor plants, bird and bee-attracting natives, colourful perennials, and intriguingly, they’re also promising a number of plants that are “exclusively seen” throughout the Parklands. Forget high-end fashion sample sales, lovingly-grown herbage flogged for a gold coin are the only exclusives we’re lining up for. The December 16 sale comes at a most advantageous time as well – with office kris kringles breathing down our necks, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up a cute little succulent for your plant-loving desk neighbour or your picky sister-in-law. Because while some people might hate your artisanal soap or home-fermented kombucha, no one hates plants. Everything is grown by volunteers who nurture these species throughout the year, creating a stock of plants that keep the park self-sustaining. The sale runs from 9am to noon, but we suggest getting there early, because like at that other Saturday morning queue forming at Iggy’s Bread – they WILL sell out. Turning the backyard into your summer project? Stock up at the best plant nurseries in Sydney. Always up early on the weekend? Here are 90 things to do