Out in the blue ribbon suburbs of Paddington and Woollahra there are pubs aplenty and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. But there is also a select collection of excellent bars which are serving up some of the best wine in the city, high-end cocktails and next level bar snacks between them.
After Luke Burgess closed his famed Hobart restaurant Garagistes earlier this year there were guest appearances and collaborations for the talented chef, but now he is settled behind the burners at this compact Paddington wine bar. Furnish your adventures with a glass of the gentle Thick as Thieves pinot noir from the Yarra Valley, or let all the restrained fruit out of a bottle of the Domaine Lucci orange sauvignon blanc. Whatever your wine choice, the new 10 William Street menu will get you all fired up about raw bar snacks this summer.
If all you want to do is sink pints of Little Creatures, White Rabbit and Heineken and watch the world go by, this is an extremely good looking place to do it. They’ve ticked all the boxes for a high-end pub so expect lots of white tiles, dark timbers, landscape paintings and distressed finishes – it matches the well-heeled set here perfectly. But our favourite haunt is undeniably the bar upstairs where you can order up a Margarita and sink into a plush bar stool by the open windows.
Above the oldest pub in Paddington you’ll find the Print Room, an elegant wine and cocktail lounge without a Tato or pint in sight - just look for the separate entrance on the left, painted dusty pink. Take the stairs and enter a room filled with old-world charm and glamour: ornate chandeliers, vintage mirrors and large leather chesterfield lounges. The soft lighting reveals a beautiful custom-built bar and quirky accessories including an old typewriter, antique soda syphons and historic quotes hand-written on the walls.
You can always opt for a crowd-pleasing drop at the Wine Library, but that needn’t mean it’ll be run of the mill. There’s a cool, textural vermentino from La Sorga in southern France that spends only a week on skins – it’s a gateway to freakier skin-contact wines further down the track. There are plenty of familiar varieties for the pinot noir devotees, but this is a safe space – get outside your comfort zone and you’ll discover something dynamite. In fact your bartender here is packing a whole cache of awesome recommendations; he’s just waiting for the ‘go’ order from you.
Head further east for harbour beaches
It's sunny outside. You want to go to the beach. But the drive to Bondi is looking like absolute hell. And besides, you haven't shown one of our (many) harbour beaches much appreciation lately. But which ones are worth the trip? We asked an expert – Caroline Ford, author of the new book Sydney Beaches: A History – for her opinion.