Camilla and Marc
217 Glenmore Rd., Five Ways, Paddington
Camilla and Marc is an Australian family endeavor that has been super successful. There are nine boutiques across Australia, but the location at Paddington Intersection (a strip of Aussie boutiques, plus a few local galleries) is our favorite. The siblings produce collections that are a little more structured and formal than what you'll see from other Aussie designers—these are not pieces to be worn at the beach, but the quality more than justifies the cost.
Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Place, CBD
Bulletin Place is considered one of Sydney’s best bars. Yes, the perfectly muddled cocktails play a role in this, but really, Bulletin Place excels at creating that relaxed but elegant vibe Australians are known for. Paint (intentionally) peels off the walls, Edison bulbs and votive candles are incredibly flattering and romantic, and walls are covered in beautiful old sepia photographs. Multiple-award-winning barmen Tim Philips, Adi Ruiz, and Rob Sloan have narrowed down their list to a mere five cocktails. But no two days are the same, as the cocktails change depending on what herbs and botanicals happen to be at their peak. Of course, if you want a martini, they’ll make you the best martini of your life, but we recommend letting the experts choose for you.
16 Phillip Ln., CBD
Kittyhawk is known for its cocktails, plus a dose of serious old-world elegance. The concept centers around the 1944 liberation of Paris, and while the thought of enjoying a Rum and Rye surrounded by old French liberation posters sounds kitschy—and a tad ridiculous—it’s not. Instead, the low lighting, brick walls, and dark leather banquettes create a cozy ambiance.
Wine Room at the Dolphin Hotel
412 Crown St., Surry Hills
Sydney is one of those cities where locals actually drink in hotel bars. And the Wine Room in Surry Hills’ Dolphin Hotel is just the place for it. Sommelier James Hird is totally plugged into the organic and biodynamic wine scene, so expect fantastic, occasionally funky options. The bites are the salty, cured meats and pickles that go so well with a glass of wine, and a few plates of anchovies and shallots on toast are an ideal stand-in for dinner. The bar itself is alive and buzzing with the friendly Sydneysiders who live in the surrounding neighborhood and, delightfully, treat the Wine Room as their stomping ground.
285A Crown St., Surry Hills
Surry Hills is one of those impossibly stylish neighborhoods full of chic wine bars and locals who love to drink in them. At first glance, the Winery seems casual enough, with its exposed-brick walls, cabin-style wood-plank ceilings, and plants that seem to be crawling through the cracks at every corner. Perusing the wine list dispels this notion. The Winery takes wine—and food—very seriously. There are more than thirty wines by the glass, with a spotlight on Australian and New Zealand growers. And as far as bottles, prepare yourself for many pages of options. Come with a group, take over a table, and settle in for the night. While the wine is certainly abundant, the relaxed, secret-garden atmosphere makes staying for just one impossible.
35 Barangaroo Ave., Barangaroo
Barangaroo House looks more like a large-scale art installation than a place to grab a drink. From the outside, it looks like three giant black soup bowls stacked one on top of another, and while you can certainly eat dinner here, the rooftop cocktail bar—Smoke—is really your jam. The champagne menu alone has more than fifty titles, and the cocktails are complex with unusual twists, like cardamom, watermelon mist, and house-made mint oil. (Non-drinkers should note that the same thought and care has gone into the alcohol-free cocktails.)
362 Oxford St., Paddington
At Saint Peter, there is a whole room dedicated to dry-aging fish. You might find mackerel or albacore hanging until its flavor has intensified to the satisfaction of chef Josh Niland. Niland applies the nose-to-tail approach typical for meat to all the fish he serves: Nothing goes to waste. A meal might include a round of local oysters, rock flathead (similar to a small cod) with barbecued corn and sorrel butter, and a simple lemon tart for dessert.
44 MacLeay St., Potts Point
The Apollo is a Greek taverna unlike any Greek taverna we know. There’s not a wooden beam, an open grill, or blue anything in sight. Instead, the interior is smooth, grey stone, marble, and moody lighting. It resembles an elegant showroom with the warmth of a local, convivial crowd filling the space. While there is fish in abundance on the menu, the oven-baked lamb shoulder is also fantastic. Throw in a side of garlicky roast potatoes and a Greek salad and you’ve got the perfect meal for a cool Sydney night.
270 Campbell Parade, North Bondi
In the league of restaurants turning Sydney into a world food capital, Sean’s tops the list. There’s something so quintessentially Australian about the place. It feels casual, thanks to the relaxed décor, and there’s no pressure to dress up (this is a town of surfers), but the food—which Sean Moran grows on his farm in the Blue Mountains outside the city—is sophisticated and hyperseasonal: rich chicken livers and bitter radicchio; the freshest, sweetest tomatoes doused in creamy burrata; and all manner of fish from the sea a few steps away. Book well in advance and ask for a seat outside. Looking over the expanse of Bondi Beach below is what you came to Sydney for in the first place.
Continental Deli Bar & Bistro
210 Australia St., Newtown
Eaters the world over have gone mad for the art of preserving. Fermentation has never been so cool, and Continental Deli Bar & Bistro has tapped into this new zest for pickles. You can eat at the bistro or sample a drink at the bar or spend a happy thirty minutes peering at all the specialty products on the shelves (it’s all for sale), but we recommend a seat at the deli counter. A platter of silky anchovies preserved in oil, maybe some cheese, and a glass of Grüner Veltliner is the way to go. Wash down any remaining crumbs with a thimbleful of sweet, strong sherry.
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