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Food at Ho Jiak Haymarket
Photograph: Anna KuceraHo Jiak Haymarket

10 great bars and restaurants to visit as soon as lockdowns lift

Revive the industry and Shop Small with 10 great venues in Sydney to get your vaccinated butt into just as soon as you can

By Time Out in association with American Express
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The Time Out Bar & Restaurant Revive Awards are here: a way for customers to show their appreciation both for the venues that have kept our spirits up in 2021 by staying open with creative pivots, and for the ones we just can’t wait to visit once again in real life. Time Out readers are urged to vote for their favourite venues now or before October 31. 

The Revive Awards are presented in partnership with American Express, who have been backing small businesses during the pandemic with their Shop Small campaign. Shop Small works like this: save the offer to your eligible American Express Card then spend with participating Shop Small venues and get 3 extra points per dollar you spend up to 40,000 points, up until March 31, 2022.

Among the many nominees for the Revive Awards are the following businesses where you can take advantage of the Shop Small offer. Order online or visit in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Now is the time to support the places that you love!

This beautiful distillery bar pumps out gin, vodka and white rye on Rosebery’s most innovative block. Curl up in an over-sized barrel booth if you need to kick back, but it’s more fun posting up at the copper bar where every metallic surface gleams in the light refracted through the shelves of oversized beakers. Archie Rose Distillery is one of our nominees for the Revive Award for Favourite Booze Delivery – shop online for their exclusive range of gin, whisky, vodka, cocktails or merch. 

Sydney’s most celebrated yakitori restaurant expands the repertoire in a 75-seat Potts Point venue built for purpose. If you’re not into offal there’s still plenty to occupy you: skewers of chicken thigh, each piece interspersed with a slice of onion, slow-grilled over charcoal, or exceptionally tender Wagyu tri-tip given extra impact with anchovy butter. Chicken wings are cleverly stuffed with minced chicken and pork, fried crisp to mimic gyoza. Chaco Bar gets a Revive nod for Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant – bring your Amex Card for extra Shop Small points.

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Harris Park
  • price 1 of 4

This is the most popular Indian restaurant in Sydney, according to Indians. The hype, queues and Friday evening bustle are due to the fact that Chatkazz serves street food as it’s done in Mumbai, and they were the first in Sydney to do so. Expect to find soft white bread rolls buttered to high-heaven and plated up with rich chickpea stews, puffy flat breads crisped on a hot grill and samosas. Or maybe just bits of fried dough, smashed and splattered with yoghurt and tamarind syrup. If you're a fan, vote for Chatkazz in the Revive Award for Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant

This is the most popular Indian restaurant in Sydney, according to Indians. The hype, queues and Friday evening bustle are due to the fact that Chatkazz serves street food as it’s done in Mumbai, and they were the first in Sydney to do so. Expect to find soft white bread rolls buttered to high-heaven and plated up with rich chickpea stews, puffy flat breads crisped on a hot grill and samosas. Or maybe just bits of fried dough, smashed and splattered with yoghurt and tamarind syrup. If you're a fan, vote for Chatkazz in the Revive Award for Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Penrith

Ask any Penrith resident where to go for breakfast and they’ll say Henri Marc. The industrial style café found near the Memory Park War Memorial is so popular they’ve expanded into the vacant garage shop next door (they’ve kept the steel roller door) and onto counter benches out front. It’s run by Penrith locals who made good in the big city only to return once they realised they could recreate the same great cafés they knew and loved in suburbs like Surry Hills, but a lot closer to home. We thoroughly approve and have nominated it for the Revive Award for Favourite Coffee.

The char koay teow here is spectacular: even more so if you add plump king prawns grilled with their heads on to the mix of juicy Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, egg, green onion and charred flat rice noodles wearing wok breath like a heady perfume. Ho Jiak's signature dish elevates instant Indomie noodles to lofty flavour ranks, the curly noodle strands stained a glossy chestnut by the housemade black sauce (a potent mix of soy sauce, caramel sauce, kicap manis and oyster sauce) and capped with a soft fried egg. We love this place so much we've nominated it both for Favourite At-Home Restaurant Experience and Favourite Casual Diner.

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  • Bars
  • Manly

No surprises why it is one of our nominees for Favourite Rooftop. The top floor at the Steyne has spectacular views out over the breakers from the balcony, and a stage at one end for live bands. They’ve also given the bistro a spit and polish to use the hotel’s enviable location looking out onto Manly Beach to maximum effect. There’s a certain appeal to be found, too, in pulling up a stool at the tiled-and-timber public bar, downing a fresh Tooheys Old and watching the Sea Eagles give it their all. 

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Woolloomooloo
  • price 2 of 4

The Old Fitz has always been a charmer. Established in 1860, the tavern once known for dishing up steaming bowls of laksa is now pushing the boundaries of pub grub. The theatre out back still stands and an eager audience can often be found waiting for the clanging bell that signals the performance’s imminent start. With the fire roaring, craft beers on regular rotation (the Grifter, Yulli’s and Young Henrys are all on tap) and a concise wine list heavy on the natural stuff, proceedings are relaxed and jovial – even a Beatles song playing starts a singalong. Is it any wonder it's on our Revive Awards list for Favourite Pub?

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One hundred and two steps: rooftop bars are not for the faint of quad. But all that thigh-burning just primes you for the reveal. Swing open the door at the top and there you are, in a lushly planted oasis in the Sydney skyline. A smiling bartender hands you a VB throwdown while you flip through the menu. A bowtie is slung around their neck unknotted, Rat Pack-style. It might only be a quarter past six down on street level, but up here, it’s always time to take it easy. In the 2019 Time Out Bar Awards, Old Mate's Place was our Best New Bar and our Bar of the Year, and in 2021 it's a nominee for three Revive Awards: Favourite Rooftop, Favourite Cocktail Bar and (if you're staying in) Favourite Cocktail Delivery

It takes moxie to make a potato the star of your degustation, but at Sixpenny, tubers are a power move. The last time we ate in this understated dining room in a Stanmore terrace, a whole confit spud was presented with mustard, the heart of a tomato and fennel flowers, and it was the most memorable dish of the meal. The secret ingredient on the menu here is confidence, and you can taste it just as much in the cakes and takeway offerings of Sixpenny General Store (Revive Award nominee, Favourite Restaurant Reinvention) as in the dining room innovations that have made it one of the city's best restaurants for eight years and counting.  

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Finding amazing food in the least likely places is one of the best things about Sydney. All that sprawl means more hot spots for ace noodles, baked treats, and in this one very specific case, a smoked chicken katsu. Wolli Creek might not be somewhere you can immediately pinpoint on a map and in many ways Yan looks merely serviceable, with big glass walls looking into a plain white room – turns out they’re channeling all their creativity into the food. We're delighted to nominate it in the category of Favourite Casual Dining Restaurant.

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