With the girls coming back from Melbourne we had four days left to enjoy Sydney and expose Laura to as much as possible.
Here is how we got on…
Day 1: Pub Crawl
There are many things to do in Sydney on a Friday night but one of the more random acts is to do a pub crawl amongst Sydney’s Secret Bars. These small drinking establishments are a recent addition to the city and evoke hushed tones and mystique of the Chicago speakeasies of the 1920s as one strolls through a barber shop or record store to reach the bar.
These nights are always good in a crowd so we cast our net out and managed to snag some of our local buddies to help us enjoy the night.
We started the night at Stitch when we walked past rows of Singer sowing machines and down into the dark depths of this basement joint. Being Friday it was packed and we had to stand but the atmosphere was electric and we soon got into a good rhythm. Stitch is great for cocktails with the girls opting for a pair of Goosebumps (Grey Goose, Bitters and Ginger) before working their way through the menu.
Stitch is a great wee spot with the right balance between light and shadow and decor lifted straight out of the Picture of Dorian Gray.
Next up was the eclectic Mojos. The bar itself is located in the back of an actual working Record Store and features a Kiss themed pinball machine at the entrance. With leather backed booths and more vinyl adorning the walls than Russel Simmons Office, this is a must on any York Street Pub Crawl. Whilst the girls managed to blag some seats – John and Alec struggled to pick the best beer from a great selection.
With so many bars on this street there is always a new one to pick – this time we decided to (finally) go to the Spooning Goats Bar aka ‘The Star Wars Bar’. This retro bar has a great selection of NSW Craft Beers to choose from – as well as a collection of old computer games (Sega Master System and Arcade Machines!). But that isn’t it’s defining features – it has tons of Star Wars memorabilia including a Storm Trooper helmet. After half an hour of flirting with the barmen and trying to wrangle a shot of the helmet with no luck John had to settle for trying out a new beer instead – Crazy Ivan (Willie The Boatman Brewery)
With tummies starting to rumble we had to go back above ground and go to a normal bar (that served food) to finish the night off. Millie recommended ‘The Cuban Place’ a cuban themed bar that was literally called ‘The Cuban Place’. We ended the night here eating some food, drinking some beers and laughing at Karen as she got chatted up at the bar in full view of everyone.
Day 2: ANZAC Day
There are three cornerstones to ANZAC Day, Remembrance, Drinking and Two-Up – which is allowed to be played legally only on that day each year. Our Aussie Pal Cindy insisted that we join her to enjoy the last two.
But first we needed food so we decided to head to Surrey Hills for some decent brunch/lunch. It was such a lovely day that we decided to go somewhere with outdoor seating and Karen had a good place in her back pocket for the occassion – The Winery off Crown Street. This swanky place had a cute courtyard that had a free table so we grabbed it with gusto and ordered food with relish knowing that soakage would be needed for later on as we would be embracing Australian culture on this ANZAC Day and partaking in Two-Up over at the Balmain Exchange Hotel in Balmain.
The place was jumping with hundred of merry makers on the street and in the hotel bars making the most of a sunny day and it wasn’t long until we found the rest of the gang and got stuck in with fivers in our hands and odds in our heads. It was great laugh and our pal Cindy managed to get a go at being the ‘Spinner’ – the person who spins the coins and is the centre of the universe for 5 minutes!
Day 3: Let There Be Light
Laura managed to get the second bite of a particular cherry on her visit on her last full day in town. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) was hosting the spectacular Light Show exhibition that she couldn’t get tickets for in London. Featuring works from over 60 Artists, Light Show invites you to experience the spatial and sensory effects of light in a myriad of forms. There were crazy interactive exhibits and lots of colours and we spent ages exploring it all. John took a lot longer as he likes to read everything….everything!
Half time involved cakes and tea in the Baker’s Oven a great little cake shop in The Rocks. So bad but so so good 🙂
The second half brought Art of a more traditional nature with a short walk across the Domain to the National Gallery of New South Wales which had finished a refurb project so there were a lot more galleries open – including a cracking section of Asian Art and Sculptures.
We would be staying local for dinner so we had no burning desire to rush home that early. This allowed us a chance to visit the O Bar, a 360 Degree spinning bar and restaurant on Floor 33 of Australia Square Tower. But there was a snag!
As we were behaving like tourists Laura was wearing sneakers so the Maitre’D would not allow us entry. That was of course until Karen unloaded a sob story about how her sister had travelled all the way from Scotland and that this was her last night and all she wanted to do was to sip fizz while watching the sunset over Sydney from the fabulous O Bar. Within 30 seconds we had one of the best seats in the house – Karen had obviously picked up some of Helen girl’s tricks.
Day 4:Last Chance Saloon
With an evening flight there was not much time left to explore Sydney. Getting up early the girls headed onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge and paid 13 Gold Coins each to climb the Pylon and discover some pretty awesome views of Sydney that 200 Steps and being 87 Metres above sea level afford. And at a fraction of the cost of paying to climb the Bridge! There was also a small museum and photo collection about this wonderful creation by Chief Architect JJC Bradfield.
With the sun beating down the girls decided to go to Balmoral Beach in Mosman which fittingly was named after Balmoral Castle – the Royal Families residence in Scotland. The promenade here is ideal for strolling and that’s what they did.
All that climbing and walking was rewarded with brunch at a new favourite place of ours – Burnt Orange at George’s Head. This restuarant now occupies the abandoned club house of the long gone Mosman Golf Club and it’s combination of 1920s Interior Decor and stunning views of Sydney Harbour and Watson’s Bay was the best setting for Laura’s last meal in Sydney.
All that was left to do was squeeze all Laura’s new shoes into her case and flag a cab to the airport. We had a brilliant 2 and half weeks together, it was fantastic to share our Sydney bubble with family. Although it was sad Laura’s trip had come to an end, the good bye was more of a see ya later…We would be back in Scotland the following month.