The best bars are announced at the Time Out Bar Awards 2017

Time Out Magazine held the Time Out Bar Awards 2017 on Sunday 29 January 2017 at the Sky Terrace.

Every year, Time Out awards the best bars in Sydney over a number of categories. The ten winners were:

  • Best New Bar – PS40
  • Best Wine Bar – The Dolphin Wine Room
  • Best Cocktail Bar – This Must Be The Place
  • Best Neighbourhood Bar – The Gretz, Enmore
  • Best Restaurant Bar – Big Poppa’s
  • Bartender of the Year – Michael Nicolian, Continental
  • Best Bar Team – Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern
  • Hot Talent Award – Ryan Snedden, Lobo Plantation
  • People’s Choice  Hudson Ballroom
  • Legend Award – Venue 505

At the same event, Time Out launched their 2017 The Time Out Bar Guide which contains information on all the bars they reviewed. Since its inception, it has become the authoritative guide on bars in Sydney.

The bar industry has changed in the last 12 months. There are bars that are restaurants, pubs that are cocktails bars, restaurants that you can visit for a drink and places that you can do all three. Time Out no longer hands out an award for Best Party Bar due to the lockout laws, but introduced the new award category of Best Restaurant Bar and Queen of the Party.

Guests enjoyed a bar menu of: Yenda Pale Ale; Yenda Pale Lager; Yenda Golden Ale; Yenda India Pale Ale; Weston Caple Road No 3 medium dry; Weston Stowford Press medium sweet English cider; Southern Comfort and Fever Tree Ginger Ale; Buffalo Trace and Fever Tree Cola; Teeling Small Batch on the Rocks; and Hayman’s London Dry and Fever Tree Naturally Light Tonic.

The food that was served included: wild mushroom arancini with truffle mayonnaise; heirloom tomato and caramalised onion goat’s curd tart; Queensland spanner crab cake with lime aioli; BBQ pulled pork in a soft bun with Carolina slaw and Southern Comfort sauce; and poached crumble with Southern Comfort whipped cream.

For more information about Time Out, go to:

So Frenchy So Chic in the Park – a day of celebrating French culture, food, wine and music

Crowds packed Bicentiennial Park, Glebe on Saturday 21 January 2016 for the annual, So Frenchy So Chic in the Park, a French festival of food, wine and music.

Renault was one of the proud sponsors of the event and they provided chauffeur driven vehicles to all their guests (which included me) to travel to and from the event in comfort. On the way there, I experienced all the features of the Renault Koleos including the advanced safety features, the intuitive R-link 2 sat-nav and the premium accoustic performance of the BOSE® audio system.

At the festival, Sydneysiders had a day of joie de vivre, with French delicacies from a selection of gourmet food stalls, French wine and beer from a number of pop-up bars and live music from four impressive French bands. Kids also had lots of fun at the kids zone getting their faces painted and playing a number of lawn games.

In the Renault private picnic area, food was supplied by fine food caterer Simmone Logue. Guests enjoyed: a lunch picnic box consisting of a baguette filled with poached chicken, tarragon mayonnaise, charred peppers and butter lettuce, a braised leek and gruyere quiche with buttery creme fraiche pastry, a salad jardinere with French bean and julienne vegetables, a lemon curd cheesecake and petit four chocolate ganache tart; an cheese picnic box with a variety of cheeses (Bon-Mon-Sire, Bieu Auvergne la Veronne and Comte 6 months), accompanied by quince paste, strawberries, grapes and a crusty baguette; and a dessert box of red, white and blue macarons. All this was watered down with Laurent Perrier champagne and a selection of French wines.

The line-up of French musicians was impressive. The four bands were: Nouvelle Vague, The Liminanas, Bertrand Belin, and Deluxe. Nouvelle Vague means new wave and are considered the royalty of French contemporary music. They have had a number famous female lead singers (including Camille, Melanie Pain and Vanessa Paradis) and they return to Sydney for the first time since 2012. The Liminanas comes from Perpignan, South of France. They sing in both French and English and echo the sensuality of 60s French pop and American rock. Brittany born and Paris based Bertrand Belin is a jack of all trades. He is an actor, writer and funk-folk musician. He has five albums and is one of France’s most fascinating singers. Deluxe comes from Aix-en-Provence and progressed from humble buskers to sell-out concerts in Europe. They were the final act and people in the crowd told me that they came especially to see them.

During the day people were enjoying their picnics and at night they were all dancing near the stage.

For more information about So Frenchy So Chic in the Park, go to:

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The Grove Rooftop Bar launches in Haymarket Sydney

Novotel Sydney Central unveiled their new outdoor bar, The Grove Rooftop Bar, to over 100 media and influencers on Thursday 19 January 2017.

The bar is located on the eighth floor of Novotel Sydney Central, Haymarket and nestled within the hotel’s outdoor garden on a converted putt-putt course.

The pop-bar has a relaxed casual atmosphere featuring fairy and festoon lighting, director chair seating, recycled timber furniture (that conceal the holes of the former mini golf course) and green synthetic turf.

The Grove Rooftop offers a selection of beers served in cans, along with a limited selection of wines and spirits. The wines on offer include: McWilliams Markview Brut; McWilliams High Altitude Pinot Grigio; Essenza Sauvignon Blanc; McWilliams Chardonney; McWilliams Bagtown Pinot Noir; McWilliams High Altitude Shiraz; and McWilliams Cabernet Merlot.

Guests also enjoyed two cocktails on the night: Solerno Serata (made of Solerno, pink grapefruit juice, orange bitters, and sparkling water) and Hendrick’s Sunburnt Fizz (made of Hendrick’s Gin, slices of cucumber, lime, mango nectar, sugar syrup and mineral water).

The menu consists of crowd pleasers such as sweet potato fries with house made truffle oil and organic honey, wedges with sweet chilli and sour cream, loaded fries topped with bacon, melted cheese and chipotle mayo, and nacho style hot chips loaded with spicy ground beef, melted mozzarella, jalapeño and sour cream.

The Grove Rooftop Bar uses five UE Boom’s Mega Boom Bluetooth speakers to deliver music to the venue. The speakers are weather and shock proof, and pump out incredible 360-degree sound.

The Grove Rooftop is open to Novotel Sydney Central guests and external patrons from Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30pm until 10pm until 31 March 2017.

For more information about the Grove Rooftop Bar visit or call +61 2 9281-6888

The Sydney Festival Village comes alive with great James Estate Wines that can be matched with the food

While many may attend the Sydney Festival to see the world’s best performing and visual arts, others are flocking to the Sydney Festival Village to sample the food and wine on offer.

The Sydney Festival Village (running from 7 – 29 January 2017) has plenty of delicious eats and exceptional James Estate Wine at the heart of the city at Hyde Park.

James Estate Wines is the official wine partner of the Sydney Festival and has introduced their 2016 wine varietals to the Festival including their Chardonnay, Verdelho, Sweet Surrender (a sweet Semillon), Rose, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc and, the most popular drink this summer, Frosé (frozen Rose). The whites are crisp and vibrant and the reds are the richest varietals.  James Estate wines are 100 percent grown in the Upper Hunter region of Baerami, and each wine is a reflection of the varietals the Hunter does best.

These wines can all be purchased from the Sydney Festival x James Estate Wine Bar for $9.50 with a $2 deposit on the glass, which is refunded when you finish your last drink and return the glass.

The Sydney Festival x James Estate Wine Bar is the perfect place to kick back in the afternoon after work during the warm summer nights. You can grab your favourite wine and match it with the food from the food outlets.

Below, I matched the wines from the following food outlets: Sake Restaurant, Mary’s Newtown, Fratelli Fresh and Bodega..

The most common grape grown in the Upper Hunter Region is the Chardonnay grape. The wine is characterised by its rich, oaky flavours and with peachy and cream notes. Chardonnay can be paired with a variety of food including poultry, pork and seafood, especially those with a heavy cream and butter base. Also, oysters, salmon, crab cakes and cheeses match well.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Chardonnay matched with the Sake’s famous prawn shumai with spicy ponzu from Sake Restaurant, the Duck Ragu pasta with orange, bitter chocolate and grana padano from Fratelli Fresh, and the fried chicken wings from Mary’s Newtown.  It also would have matched with the Grilled Chicken pie (leek and tarragon pie with creamed corn) from Porteno, which I did not try.


The 2016 Estate Verdelho has tropical aromas of banana and peach with a dry palate of passionfruit and grapefruit and a zesty finish.  It matches perfectly with spicy Asian dishes and seafood.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Verdelho was matched with the Yeah Dog (pork hot dog, fried onion, mustard, ketchup, cheese sauce) from Mary’s Newtown.

The 2016 Sweet Surrender (a sweet semillon) is partially fermented and bottled. It has tropical notes of passionfruit, green melon, and peach with a lingering citrus flavour. Due to the partial fermentation, it is great as an aperitif served with canapes and cheeses.

At the Festival, the 2016 Sweet Surrender was matched with Fratelli’s crispy squid loaded hot dog with Italian seasoning, lime aioli, parmesan fross in a brioche bun.

The 2016 Estate Rose is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. It has aromas of fresh strawberries, watermelon and a hint of cinnamon and a juicy palete of red berry fruit and spice. It is perfect with a cheese platter or a barbecue lunch.

At the Festival, the 2016 Estate Rose matched with Caprese Salad (heirloom tomato, burrata, buffalo mozzarella, basit oil, croutons from Fratelli Fresh or a Mary’s burger.


Shiraz is the most popular red varietal drunk in Australia and the Hunter Valley has the most oldest vines. Shiraz is best served with beef and pork dishes.

At the Festival, the 2015 Shiraz was matched with Kirin Braised Lamb Ribs with furikake spice, Kirin-Ake sauce and Japanese slaw from Sake Restaurant. Mary’s burger and Mary’s cheese burger would have also matched.

Similar to the Shiraz, the Cabernet Franc is best served with roast chicken, pork, roasted and grilled beef, duck, sausage, lamb and veal. You could also try it with hearty fish dishes and soft and hard cheeses.

At the Festival, the 2015 Cabernet Franc was matched with the Chimichanga Pibil (deep fried buritto with pork, rice, beans and cheese) from Bodega.

Food such as fries match perfectly with champagne, sparkling or beer (of almost any kind). However, matching it could be tricky when there are toppings. These fries are from Fratelli Fresh and were covered with Italian seasoning, truffle aioli and parmesan. For simplicity, I enjoyed them on their own.

The popular drink this summer is the Frosé (frozen rose). This drink is perfect for a hot summers day. I enjoyed this drink alone without matching it to any food.

The bespoke James Estate licensed bar is open from 4pm daily (but closed on Monday), and will also be served at The Domain Symphony Under The Stars, as well as VIP events throughout the festival.

Head to or to find out more!


The 26th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival launches at Bondi Pavilion

The 26th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival officially opened on Friday 6 January 2016 at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach with the screening of five short films and an after party.
The five films that were screened at opening night included:
– OS Love – a film about a woman who immerses herself into a world of tropical screensavers and desktop backgrounds and manages to create an operating system called ‘OS Love’
– Bon Voyage – a film about a Swiss couple who are sailing the Mediterranean and encounter a refugee boat
– Messiah – a film about an Irishman and his French girlfriend who encounter a mystical Aboriginal man while driving in the outback
– Fish with Legs – a film about a group of fish who wake up to find that they have four legs and are trying to comprehend why this occurred
– Timecode – a film about two security guards at a carpark who work different shifts but still manage to find a way to connect.
After the screening, guests enjoyed drinks at the after party which was held at the Flickerfest bar and the balcony overlooking Bondi beach.
For ten days, Flickerfest will be screening some of the best short films from Australia and around the world at Bondi Pavilion until Sunday 15 January 2017. It will screen over 150 short films hand picked from over 2400 entries.
The Flickerfest bar will be serving delicious food and drinks every day throughout the festival.
When the ten days are over, Flickerfest will leave Bondi beach and travel to over 50 venues around Australia for their national tour.
Flickerfest began as a small local festival at Balmain High School in 1991. Since then it has grown to become Australia’s leading Academy accredited and BAFTA recognised competitive Australian and International Short Film Festival with 1000’s of entries coming from filmmakers across the globe.
Flickerfest awards a number of prestigious prizes including the Flickerfest Award for the Best International Short Film, the Yoram Goss Award for Best International Animation, the Virgin Australia Award for Best Australian Short Film, and the Flickerfest Award for Best Documentary. There are also a number of prizes for various craft areas inherent in making great short films.
Please visit the Flickerfest website for further event information at:
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