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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Get free tickets to see your favourite TV shows live in Sydney
Normally, bingeing a bit of telly is the antithesis of engaging in Sydney’s vibrant culture, but now you can turn your couch cruise into a fabulous and free city escapade. That’s the Ticket offers Sydneysiders the opportunity to be part of the audience in a huge range of Aussie TV shows. There's something for the brainy, the musical, for hopeless romantics or for those who simply want a laugh. Tickets are completely free, making it a real social saviour after a holiday blowout. Simply sign up to the mailing list – and follow them on Facebook and Instagram – to find shows that’ll suit a family of television fanatics, your team of Netflix succubi or your significant other (hint hint, check out The Proposal below). That’s the Ticket will ensure you have a superb time being the first to see popular TV shows, providing free snacks, prizes and giveaways, while making sure your data is safe and you’re not bombarded with unwanted emails. It’d be hard to find a cheaper, more entertaining adventure in Sydney, and since there are sessions on during the week and shows to fill your weekend evenings, it’s easy to get out of the living room and into all the action.
Boys of Sondheim
Even if you don't know the name Stephen Sondheim you'll most likely find that you are familiar with his work. It includes the likes of West Side Story, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy (just to name a few). He’s also arguably one of the most important theatre composers and lyricists of the 20th century. City Recital Hall is hosting a cabaret show entitled Boys of Sondheim in dedication to his work. Featuring an all-male cast, the performance will take you through Sondheim’s work, including everything from love duets to triumphant ballads, to routines designed for their spectacle. It originally made its debut at Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the 2017 Melt: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture, and is now being performed as a 2019 Mardi Gras Festival Premier event. Among the cast are Kris Stewart (the creator, director and narrator), Anthony Nocera, Blake Erickson, James Lee, Tyran Parke, Kurt Phelan and Hayden Rodgers. The evening begins at 8pm at the City Recital Hall and tickets are $40-$55 per person with an additional booking fee if you buy them online or over the phone (but none if you do it in person).
Win a double pass to Alliance Française French Film Festival’s screening of Girl
Alliance Française French Film Festival is celebrating its 30th year of bringing the best French and Francophone cinema to Australia, and to celebrate Time Out is presenting a special Film Club screening of one of this year’s must-see films. Girl is the debut film of Belgian director Lukas Dhont. It’s the powerful story of Lara, a transgender 15 year old who fights to become a ballerina despite being trapped in the body of a boy. Winner of several awards at the Cannes Film Festival last year, it’s a film that has provoked a strong response and opened up a lot of discussions. We have over 25 double passes to give away to the screening at Palace Central, Chippendale, on Wednesday February 27 at 6.30pm. Enter below before Friday February 22. Enter here
Trevor Ashley's Mardi Gala
Mardi Gras just wouldn't be Mardi Gras without a big show from Trevor Ashley. This year, the cabaret and drag artist is returning to the Opera House's biggest venue for a glitzy gala featuring some of his famous friends: showbiz royalty Rhonda Burchmore, comedian Tom Ballard, singers Tim Campbell and Shauna Jensen, actor-turned-crooner Hugh Sheridan, and Oxford Street legend Minnie Cooper. They'll be joined by a 12-piece orchestra. And it also wouldn't be Mardi Gras without a party: there's a post-show function in the Opera House's Northern Foyer, with beautiful harbour views and sounds from DJ Victoria Anthony.