Tag Archives: Opera Bar

10 things to do in Sydney

Here are my favourite places to go in Sydney- a top ten list, if you will. Some of them may seem cliché, but there is a reason that certain places are deemed tourism worthy.

My number one place in Sydney is Taronga Zoo. I love animals and will go to any zoo at any given opportunity. Taronga Zoo is special because you can take a ferry to get there and it has the best views of the city from its grounds. You can even take a gondola from the ferry terminal to the zoo entrance and back again. I also like Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour for an animal fix. It has great shark tank viewing tunnels and they have beluga whales too!

The Botanic Gardens is the place to go for its iconic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I am lucky because I used to work close enough to the gardens to go for lunch time walks there. I always enjoyed seeing the tourists stopping to take pictures along the way as it reminds me what a lovely city I live in. In summer they have open air theatre shows for kids and they always seem to be setting up for a festival or opera on the harbour side.

The Opera House is the best place to catch a show- pretty much just because you are in the Opera House. My favourite bar, Opera Bar, is also here. It’s often crowded and hard to get a drink, but you can’t beat being under the Opera House looking at the Harbour Bridge while you sip your pre- show cocktail. For a more old skool pub, I also like The London in Balmain. Rustic and sturdy, they have a large selection of beer on tap and decent food. Plus, how can you not love a pub that welcomes dogs?!

One of my favourite restaurants is at The Deck at Luna Park. It has great Spanish style seafood share platters and is not too expensive. It’s also located in my favourite suburb- Kirribilli. I was fortunate enough to live here for a while and there is no place quite like it in Sydney. Lavender Bay is beautiful, the Harbour Bridge is above you and the city is just across the water. You also can’t beat walking to work over the Harbour Bridge.

The European clothing brands have finally landed in Australia! So my new favourite place to shop is the brand new H & M‘s that keep popping up all over Sydney. I must admit that I am a little addicted.

But the best way to see Sydney is to be on the harbour in a boat– preferable at the start of the Sydney to Hobart Race. The harbour is what makes Sydney special, and it is beautiful, so if you ever come here make sure you get out on the water.

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Cocktail Hour in Sydneytown

After 17 years of living in Sydney, I would consider myself somewhat qualified to find a good cocktail bar in the city. I may not be at my youngest and hippest anymore, but fortunately I work with a couple of twenty something’s who are, so am still able to find a good cocktail when I need one.

My most recent favourite cocktail bar is Lobo Plantation in the city. Decked out in some sort of Cuban Caribbean colonial theme by an ex-Ivy bartender, it exceeded expectations and was indeed discovered to be cool when the hipsters showed up to disturb our pre-dinner cocktails. I recommend the Awkward Pearing- a coffee and expresso cocktail that was surprisingly good.

Another of the recent cocktail-bar-in-a-basement variety is Eau De Vie in Darlinghurst. I was not impressed and will not be back. Fortunately, we discovered the nearby Hinky Dinks which was a pleasant surprise. I loved the American diner set up and the Popcorn Paloma- popcorn infused tequila with grapefruit soda. Yum!

Baxters– the late night whisky bar down an alley way that everyone down the Circular Quay end of town is talking about is a favourite of my husband. If you are not a whisky drinker go to the nearby Palmer and Co instead. This 1920’s themed speakeasy below The Establishment is noisy, but nice, and they have lovely staff.

For a summer cocktail, Opera Bar is my go to place. You can’t beat a bar at the Opera House with a view of the Harbour Bridge on a sunny day in Sydney. I have often been known to remark that “it isn’t summer in Sydney without a cocktail at Opera Bar.”

The nearby ECQ Bar is also a great alternative for a less crowded destination. Nice high bar stools and good classic cocktails like Cosmopolitans and Margarita’s. I also like Cruise Bar on the other side of Circular Quay- comfy outdoor lounges and lovely Mojito concoctions.

In my 20’s, I was taken to Jimmy Lik’s in Potts Point by a much cooler person than I. We also went to a place where you had to knock on the door and they looked at you through a peephole. Sorry- I have no idea where it was, how to find it, or how to get in again.

Other cooler than I friends have introduced me to The Cuban Place in the city centre which is a bit noisy, but has a cheap cocktail hour. I have also been taken to a bar in Paddington that was a place to be at the time, but I just didn’t like drinking my cocktail out of a jar while sitting on a crate that much.

Sometimes these new funky cocktail bars make me nostalgic for the days when Cargo Bar, Bungalow 8 and Pontoon in Darling Harbour were the places to go. Nice traditional bars on the water with a packed dance floor and a line up at the door.

Last time I checked Ivy and The Argyle were the places to go for cocktail and night out on the town, but I am sure that’s all changing again even as I write this.

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