Savvy Sydney resident curator Kate Cody rounds up the top spots for biz bees to eat, drink and play in the Emerald City.
If you only have a few free hours
Sydney Harbour is truly impressive and the best way to take it all in is on a ferry. Take the Fast Ferry to Manly for surfy sips and bites but also try a slow ride to Cockatoo Island, that takes you under the Harbour Bridge and past Luna Park, for industrial artefacts, cultural events and pop-up bars in summer.
Hottest new venue in town
Restaurant Hubert is approaching its first anniversary and continues to win hearts with its dreamy Belle Epoque decor and scrumptious French fare. The experience begins with a theatrical saunter down a long stairway, past a mosaic of what seems to be thousands of miniature liquor bottles.
Inside, an opulent grand dining room with cabaret space awaits. The business-friendly lunch menu is a highlight with staples such as steak frites, seared foie gras and whole roasted yabby done to perfection.
Where the business crowd meets and greets
Forget the CBD proper: Sydney is bursting with emerging precincts that are raising the culinary bar. Bankers and consultants will feel right at home in Barangaroo, where there are old-school barbers, single-origin coffee places and buttoned-up bars and eateries.
Standout Banksii wows with a playful vermouth-led approach and modern Mediterranean dishes. Head to Cirrus for sustainable fine dining in a sinuous Pascale Gomes-McNabb-designed space, served with mesmerising views.
Tramsheds in the former Rozelle tram depot is now home to myriad stylish bars and restaurants. Creative souls flock to Bodega 1904 for tapas with a Latin flair, a brilliant global wine list and the cutest bar stools in town. Next door, Osaka Trading Co. excels in whiskey nightcaps, sake, Japanese beers and light bites.
While unpopular lockout laws have imposed a somewhat early bedtime on the city, there’s still a clutch of bars and clubs – from prohibition-style hideaways to grand spaces with plush decor – for post-business bonding on Bligh and Bridge Streets.
Eat, Sleep, Play
The Bridge Room: High-end Eurasian fusion from Ross Lusted, former executive chef at Rockpool. Dishes are slow-smoked Japanese robata style in a custom-built charcoal grill. thebridgeroom.com.au
No. 1 Bent Street: A CBD businessman’s favourite, the meats at this Euro-style concrete cellar are simply incredible. Save room for the hearty skillet pot pie, stuffed with beef cheeks, bone marrow, tail and suet. onebentstreet.com.au
Old Clare Hotel: Chippendale digs in a former brewery HQ. Eclectic and urban with light-filled rooms. theoldclarehotel.com.au
Hotel Palisade: The antithesis of characterless chain hotels, this small, quirky, historic hotel in Millers Point is a stone’s throw from creative agencies, Barangaroo and the CBD. hotelpalisade.com
MCA: This airy contemporary art space has stunning views of the harbour and Opera House from its rooftop cafe. mca.com.au
Bondi to Coogee walk: The clifftop route is packed with beach vistas. However, expect the path to be chockers with Nike-clad joggers at any time of the day.
For more top Emerald City recommendations, get your mitts on the LUXE Sydney guide.
The original version of this article was published by the Australian Financial Review.