The Investec Rugby Championship kicks off in the City of Celebrations on August 17. The Wallabies will be looking to repeat last year’s Bledisloe Cup victory over the AB’s, while you’ll be looking for the best places to celebrate. Hip new bars and hot new eateries pop up like weeds in Sydney, but here are a few of our favourite spots around the inner city.
The first thing you’ll need is a decent coffee and you won’t have to go far. Mecca at 67 King Street is just around the corner, serving perfectly crafted espresso and delicious treats. Walk a bit further and you can step out of your flat-white comfort zone with one of the exotic brews from Antidote at 80 Pyrmont Street.
When it’s time for something stronger, the options are endless; from icy Aussie beer to mixological masterpieces. For the former, try uber-Aussie gastropub, The Unicorn. For the latter you can’t go wrong with The Baxter Inn, an underground gem of a whisky bar where they make the classics just right. Then there’s PS40 at 40 King St. Once you’ve figured out how to get inside (down the laneway) you’ll be rewarded with the sublime work of superstar bartenders and co-owners, Michael Chiem and Thor Bergqvist.
And so, on to dinner. Fine dining icon, Quay at The Rocks, reopens in August after a massive makeover. If you want a table, you’ll need to book on their website, but don’t hold your breath. Fortunately, there are plenty of other excellent options, including Benelong in the Opera House. Consistently voted one of Sydney’s best restaurants, Peter Gilmore’s uber-diner has already been through its makeover and features stunning mid century design, a menu to match and panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. It’s amazingly reasonably priced too. Don’t miss the cherry jam lamington for desert.
A bit more basic, but great for a pre-game or late night burger run, Melbourne's famous 8BLT is now just a short hop from the Sofitel in Steam Mill Lane. They’re open late serving up crafted mega burgers, gourmet hot dogs and over-the-top shakes, surrounded by vintage arcade machines. Another good late night option is Korean Beer garden, Arisun at No.1 Dixon, which welcomes noisy groups with its signature beer towers, Korean fried chicken with addictive house-made sauces.
No visit to Sydney would be complete without a big, fat Greek dinner and it doesn’t get bigger, fatter or better than 1821 in Pitt Street. Three levels of utterly OTT eye-popping indulgence, serving lobster pasta, Greek san choy bow and caramel baklava ice-cream.
And now, for something completely different. James Cameron - Challenging the Deep is an epic new interactive exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum that traces the famed director and deep sea explorer’s journey to the deepest parts of the ocean. Featuring an immersive underwater environment created by cinema scale projections, it’s a great way to kill an hour or two, experiencing what it’s like at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, without the risk.
And that’s the great thing about seeing an All Black game away - the whole experience. Our packages include match tickets and a range of accommodation and travel options, but it’s the people and places that make it holiday to remember. See you at the game.