A foodie's guide to dining and drinking in Sydney
The Sydney restaurant hit list
Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Sydney's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop – and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, of course. Behold: our eat-and-destroy list, a guide featuring some of the best new restaurants you need to try, along with some old standbys still doing things right. Go forth – and eat all the things!
The 27 most Australian dishes in Sydney
No matter how you feel about nationalism, there's one thing all Australians can agree on. We make pretty epic food. We thought we’d celebrate our country with some of Sydney’s finest fare. We’ve found the 27 most Australian dishes that Sydney has to offer. From the best pad Thai to our raddest lamington and most delicious native plant stir-fry. Here is our list, in no particular order, of Sydney's best takes on Australiana:
The best cheap eats in Sydney
In a perfect world, we'd spend every night enjoying fine cuisine at Sydney's most indulgent restaurants. We'd be at Quay, Sepia, Rockpool Bar & Grill... anywhere, really, that requires half (or all, or far more than) what's currently in your bank account for a shared plate. But we do not live in a perfect world – sometimes the stove is broken, the thought of checking your balance makes you break out in hives and skipping meals seems a viable option. But you don't have to do that! There's a host of restaurants all around our fair town serving up tasty food at prices that won't leave your wallet empty.
The best bars in Sydney
This has been the year Sydney’s bar scene got classy. People who not so long ago wouldn’t have touched a straight liquor cocktail with a bargepole are now ordering up Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs without a second thought, and they’re loving it. Sure, the lockout laws continue to dampen the late-night hijinks, but that just means our party starters have had to get creative. New bars are still popping up in any underground space, hidden enclave and lofty spot that becomes available, and the yardstick for bar snacks has been set at an all-time high. The old guard have applied fresh vigour to the cocktail craft in the last 12 months. New additions have reminded us that the best drinks aren’t always the booziest; orange wines are everywhere we look; and this year heralded the rise of locally distilled spirits. Way to level-up, Sydney.
The best pubs in Sydney
Charge your glasses, friends, and join us in a toast to Sydney’s pubs. To the fusty watering holes that champion the old ways: they’ve still got a pie warmer behind the counter, the footy is on the TV and their Reschs is cold and clean. And to the young guns swinging open the saloon doors to local breweries fermenting up a flavour storm in all corners of the city. Great evenings have been built on a foundation of schnitzel and steak, but we’re also showcasing the local pubs getting creative with counter meals and ensuring the tucker is top-notch. All up it’s been a ripper year for the Sydney pub scene: this guide is where we get to sing the praises of the best in the business.
The best things to do in Sydney
The best art galleries in Sydney
Sydney is busting at the seams with great art – from major institutions like the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to incredible privately-owned but publically accessible (and free!) galleries like White Rabbit, and right down to a thriving scene of independent and artist-run initiatives. Below are some of our favourites.
The best walks in Sydney
Coastal walks, bush walks, historical walks and inner city ambles: there are many routes to choose from to discover Sydney from a new angle. See our list of ten favourite places to wander and remember to pack a camera – these walks offer some of the best vantage points for snapping our city at its best.
Indigenous tours in Sydney
From tours that take you to previously restricted bushland to self-guided, inner city augmented reality apps that show you what life was like before European settlement in Australia – these Aboriginal led and operated businesses share knowledge and history that dates back thousands of years. Find more walks in Sydney or explore our harbour islands.
Free things to do in Sydney today
Sydney may have been voted the second most expensive city in the world to live in, but if you look closely you will find cheap and free things to do on any day of the year. Want LOLs without the price tag? Here's where to find free comedy nights in Sydney. Or a cheap date idea? See these venues for free live music on any night of the week.
Most popular events in Sydney
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Merivale is cutting your evening bar tab by 49 per cent in June
We love a good happy hour here in Sydney. Hell, most evenings the glorious post-work 60-minute drinks special will often last for more like two or three hours. But for the month of June, hospo giant Merivale is cranking it up a notch. For the second year running, they’re offering a 49 per cent discount on drinks from 5-7pm for the whole month, just to give you a fab start to every evening. Photograph: Anna Kucera And you won’t be limited to ho-hum house wine or bulk standard beer. The special covers everything on the drinks list up to $200, so you can splash out without getting all your cash out. The best part? Merivale’s venues stretch from the CBD to the Inner West, the shores of the Northern Beaches and by the sand in the Eastern Suburbs, so you can make your way through the fancy end of menus at 39 very cool bars and pubs across town. But if you’ve got a particular booze experience you’d like to knock over during this month of cheap hacks, you’ll need to study up. If you’re all about complex cocktails with a per-page description and ingredient list, head to Charlie Parker’s in Paddington. This subterranean joint will fix you a fantastical drink filled with seasonal produce and mixed with chef-like dedication. Try the Strawberry, which is a surprising blend of soy sauce, evaporated coffee, bitter orange and tonic water. Photograph: Anna Kucera Whisky hounds should make a beeline for J&M. You can while away the evening sipping smooth, top-shelf single malt pours for so
BoConcept brings chic Danish designer furniture to Sydney
Walking into a BoConcept store is like entering an alternative reality, giving you a glimpse of what your life could be like if you were living the best version of it. If your home were this clean, organised and stylish, surely you would cease to clutter it with unfolded laundry and takeaway menus? (Would you even order takeaway anymore, or would you cook organic meals and host dinner parties around your elegant-yet-functional dining table?) Good design can be aspirational like that. And Danish company BoConcept has been crafting modern, innovative furniture since 1952. You know – the kind of pieces that feel as good to sit on as they are to look at. Or effortlessly stylish interiors that signal the owner has both means and taste – or at least the good sense to outsource their decorating to the interior designers that staff BoConcept Sydney stores. The in-store stylists can guide you towards the furniture and accessories that fit your lifestyle, or the designers that most align with your aesthetic. Some serious names have designed contemporary pieces for BoConcept: Morten Georgsen, Anders Nørgaard, Henrik Pedersen, Frans Schrofer, ARDE, Oki Sato and rockstar designer Karim Rashid are all among their ranks. (Don’t know those names? Don’t worry, their work speaks for itself.) Whether you need to enliven your living space with one outstanding furniture piece, or furnish your entire dwelling with coordinated design, BoConcept's customer-focused interior designers can help. C
Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine have fascinated Sydney since they ruthlessly ruled the Darlinghurst underworld in the 1920s and '30s. Their long-lasting feud was even the subject of Channel Nine's Underbelly: Razor series. Now they're getting the musical treatment in this new show penned by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson. The show kicks off in 2019 when Kate Leigh's former shop for sly grog is being reopened as a hipster coffee shop. But the ghosts of the past are never far away, and the audience is taken back to the height of the razor gang wars. Amelia Cormack and Debora Krizak star as the two crime queens in this Hayes Theatre Co production directed by Benita de Wit.