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Photograph: Supplied/Casula Powerhouse

Explore art and dine after dark at the Casula Powerhouse this summer

Bellbird restaurant and bar will be staying up late, so you can grab dinner and a drink after you get arty

By Stephen A Russell
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In a glorious win for Sydney’s once thriving nightlife, the last vestiges of the city's lockout laws have been banished at long last. But it’s not just rock and roll clubs and cocktail bars that are staying up later these days, nor is it only city centre venues making the most of what the city can really do after dark.

The Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is joining the party on weekends, throwing open their door to art-loving night owls every Friday and Saturday from February 19. The gallery will now stay open until late, with free entry for all. That means you’ll be able to check out blockbuster shows like the 66th Blake Prize Finalist Exhibition of contemporary artists reckoning with spirituality, religion and belief in grown up company.

“Casula Powerhouse will now be the first and only major gallery to be open every Friday and Saturday evening, making the gallery more accessible to the public and giving people the chance to enjoy this amazing space at night,” CPAC Director Craig Donarski says.

Afterwards, you’ll be able settle in with dinner and accompanying libations at in-house hotspot Bellbird Dining and Bar. Head chef Federico Rekowski and his team have put together a dinner menu that draws on their passion for showcasing locally-sourced, seasonal produce, much of it plucked direct from their on-site garden. The two-course menu, very reasonably priced at $49 per person, includes dishes like cured swordfish ceviche served with cherry tomatoes, herb-crusted Cowra lamb loin with smokey eggplant, and veggie options like ricotta gnocchi with Leppington Valley figs, fennel and shaved parmesan. Add desert for only $10 – we are all about that vanilla bean crème brulee.

“This is an exciting evolution for Bellbird,” Rekowski says. “It gives us an opportunity to get creative with our dishes, up the ante and do something new and unexpected.” Rather like the art on show, which seems even more exciting after dark.

Love checking out the latest exhibitions? Here's our handy guide to what's on this month

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