What’s on in Sydney This Weekend: 25-27 January
The countdown to Friday is officially on, and we’re right here to help you figure out how you’re going to spend those three glorious days off in the sun. From murder mysteries to gourmet feasts, here are the coolest events in Sydney, guaranteed to supersize your weekend.
PS. Check out our guide to Australia Day, too!
EAT & DRINK
This bar flung open its doors last week, and it’s already set to be summer’s biggest hit. We don’t know what we like the most: the Palm-Springs-meets-Vegas décor, the award-winning bartending team, or its ideal location in The Rocks. Our tip? Order the New Frontier cocktail – it’s served in a clear bag that’s popped at your table to reveal a scratchy. Fingers crossed you win some free bar food!
111 Harrington Street, The Rocks
Ready to take your Messina obsession to a whole new level? Over the next couple of weeks, the team is hosting an eight-course degustation at its Creative Department restaurant in Darlinghurst. The menu showcases Sydney’s local farmers, growers and suppliers, and will feature ingredients from Gelato Messina’s farms – think strawberries from Dural and milk from its dairy farm in Victoria.
243 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Friday 25 January – Sunday 3 February
6.30pm and 8.30pm sittings
$130 per person
The North Shore hotspot is pulling out all the stops for the long weekend, starting with $12 espresso martinis on Friday. On Saturday, DJs will be spinning Australian tunes from 4pm in the leadup to Sunday – where the Triple J Hottest 100 will be playing loud and proud. The most loyal locals will be heading back on Monday for a kombucha spritz recovery session. Because, balance.
76 Middle Head Road, Mosman
11am til late
We can always count on Devon to dish up delicious gourmet eats. This long weekend, they’ll be serving up an Aussie-inspired surf n’ turf special that sounds downright divine. Picture a rack of lamb ribs seasoned with cumin salt, plus grilled Queensland king prawns with three types of dipping sauces: provencal, minted coconut mignonette and good ol’ tzatizki.
Barangaroo and North Sydney
The Opera House has truly outdone itself this summer, hosting a string of world-class events like Blanc de Blanc EncoreandAn Evening with Ottolenghi. To complement the glitz and glamour, this pop-up bar has set up shop underneath the pearly shells. The Blanc Bar has a Parisian theme and the menu to match: think gin-cured ocean trout and Sydney rock oysters with verjus vinaigrette. There’s also live music each night.
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point. Sydney
Until February 4
With its lush décor and laidback vibe, The Botanist is the place for a fun-filled Sunday session. It’ll be open all weekend (including Monday) and whipping up Aussie favourites in honour of the occasion. Start with the herb-crusted lamb rack with beetroot purée and finish with the pavlova – it’s the patriotic thing to do! Wash it all down with the bar’s signature botanical-inspired cocktails.
17 Willoughby Street, Kirribilli
Barangaroo will be bustling all weekend. If you prefer to people watch, find a perch at NOLA. The waterfront restaurant will be serving its usual mouthwatering menu, as well as a few Australia day specials. We’ll be ordering the lamb neck croquettes with NOLA’s house-made sauce, and of course, a bucket of prawns with tangy tarragon mayo.
Level 1, One International Towers Sydney, 100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
Good news! On Sunday 27 January, Paperbark will be flinging open its doors a few hours earlier for an all-vegan brunch. The plant-based diner is famous among foodies for its creative menu, and brunch is no exception. Whatever you do, try the toastie stuffed with lemon myrtle-marinated eggplant, roasted cauliflower and macadamia. If you can’t decide, opt for the three-course tasting menu ($50 pp).
8/18 Danks Street, Waterloo
12pm to 6pm
Yes way, rosé! The goodvibes will be flowing all weekend at SoCal. Pop in after work on Friday for happy hour (4.30pm-6.30pm), or save your energy for the Australia Day party, where Tyler Azza Diuo and Aaron yon will be performing. Or, do what the regulars do and make a reservation for the Bottomless Rose Brunch – which includes two hours of unlimited rosé and sangria.
1 Young Street, Neutral Bay
$65 per person
Spend your Saturday living la dolce vita at Rosetta. The restaurant will be hosting its signature long lunch, which is designed to share among friends. You’ll be handed an Aperol spritz upon arrival (naturally), before feasting on the Italian charcuterie, grilled market fish, and fusilli pasta with zucchini, pine nuts and mint. The hardest decision you’ll make all day is dessert: tiramisu or cannoli?
118 Harrington Street, Sydney
Saturday 26 January from 12pm
$70 per person, or $99 per person with the two-hour beverage package
Tucked away in Surry Hills, this Indian restaurant is an instant mood-booster. With its bright pink walls, blue velvet banquettes, 70s Bollywood tunes, and charismatic owner – Jessi Singh – it’s the perfect place for big group dinners. The best bit? It’s all-you-can-eat! Stock up on curry mussels, yoghurt kebabs and all the naan bread you can handle on Saturday and Sunday night. (It’s closed on Monday).
414 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
$25 per person for the all-you-can-eat dinner
ARTS & CULTURE
It’s a striking installation in the middle of Blacktown Showground, but Blak Box is more than art. Step inside the sound pavilion, and you’ll be immersed in a world of Indigenous stories. Sit down, and you’ll be transfixed by the spoken word, music and field recordings that talk about the past, present and future of the land you’re standing on – as told by its original custodians.
Until Saturday 2 February
Blacktown Showground, Richmond Road, Blacktown
As always, Sydney Festival has delighted, entertained and impressed us this year. It all wraps up this weekend, so now’s your chance to see the shows, spaces and installations before they’re gone. Here’s what’s on our bucket list:
- ‘Until’ by Nick Cave at Carriageworks. American sculptor and dancer Nick Cave has brought his largest exhibition to date Down Under. The 12-metre-long and 6-metre wine is made up of thousands of shiny crystals, beads, flowers and other objects. It’s a beauty – and a thought-provoking one at that.
- One Infinity. A collaboration of Eastern and Western artists, this dance performance celebrates cultures around the world, and encourages us to open our minds. It’s an awe-inspiring reminder to never stop learning about each other.
- Beware of Pity. An Australian exclusive, this is a bold theatrical performance of Stefan Zweig’s 1939 novel about a Europe catapulting towards chaos.
- Pigalle. Starring Marcia Hines, this is a beautiful burlesque-slash-cabaret show that’s set in the Parisian suburb of the same name.
- Alwaysby Jacob Nash. The phrase “always is, always will be Aboriginal land” has been key to the Indigenous land rights movement, and this 5.5-metre high, 28-metre long sculpture in Barangaroo Reserve aims to get festivalgoers to be “culturally courageous.”
- Festival Garden. Nestled in Hyde Park, this is a place to relax, sup on a cocktail and enjoy live entertainment before the shows kick off.
While you’re in a Sydney Festival state of mind, wander through the free, family-friendly art spaces around the city. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, they’re designed to transport you to another galaxy. There’s the Apollo 11 display at Barangaroo, and Moon Drops at Darling Harbour, which are giant waterbeds that make you feel weightless – just like you would in space.
Are you a Leia, Luke or Jabba the Hutt? Find out once and for all at this exhibition. Armed with a smart technology bracelet, you’ll answer questions about your personality and values at a series of interactive stations. At the end of the intergalactic identity quest, you’ll have your match. The quest aside, there will be over 200 original artefacts, costumers and props on display, including Yoda’s green ears and Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.
Until 10 June
500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Admission: $36 for adults, $32 for concession, and $23 for children aged 4-16
Round out the school holidays in style with a family movie night at Sydney Olympic Park. The park has turned into an open-air cinema for the month of January, so now’s the time to catch a flick. There are food and drink stalls from 6pm, and the movies start at 8.30pm. You can pack your own picnic too, if you like. Oh, and it’s all free! These are this weekend’s showtimes:
- Friday 25 January: Coco
- Saturday 26 January: The Greatest Showman
- Sunday 27 January: Short Soup
Cathy Freeman Park, Sydney Olympic Park
Fancy yourself a detective? Climb aboard the HMAS Vampire. The Australian National Maritime Museum is hosting an immersive murder-mystery experience on the navy destroyer. You’ll be transported to the Pacific Ocean in the middle of the Cold War, and it all starts with an SOS: the ship’s captain and all its officers are dead. Then it’s up to you to weave your way through the 67-year-old warship to solve the mystery.
2 Murray Street, Sydney
Friday 25 January and Saturday 26 January, 6pm and 8pm
Tickets: $52 for concession and members, $59 for adults
To celebrate Mary Poppins Returns, The Grounds has adorned its laneway with cherry blossoms, London street lamps and kites. It’s nostalgic and a beautiful tribute to the umbrella-toting nanny. At 10am, 12pm and 2pm, the team will be serving bubbles under the blossoms. Our advice? Tie your visit with one of those slots, and then try the Poppins-themed cake at the café.
Until February 3
7A/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria
Rise, shine and paddle your way to an excellent Australia Day. This event invites locals and their pooches to compete in a range of stand-up paddleboard races. There will be tons of prizes up for grabs, plus awards for the best-dressed owner-doggy duos. If you want to sharpen your skills before race day, Watsons Bay SUP is offering a 25% discount on training in the lead-up. Don’t have a furry friend? Head to the website to see the categories you can enter.
Registration starts at $35 per person
Road trip! For something a little different, cruise down to picture-perfect Wollongong Harbour for the Aquathon. With long, short, mini, kids and team races on offer, there’s a category to suit your stamina. If you’re not quite a pro in the water, you can enter the Warrigal Fun Run, Walk or Roll right after. Either way, the online registration is open until January 25.
Wollongong Basin, Wollongong
Aquathon at 8am, Warrigal Fun Run at 10am
Registration between $30 and $60
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
With its sparkling ocean views, it’s hard to think of a better place to spend a summer’s afternoon than Manly Wharf Hotel. ‘The Wharfy’ – as locals affectionately call it – has a stellar lineup in store for the long weekend. On Australia Day, local DJs Alex Preston and Graham Mandroules will be spinning the decks til the early hours, and the Triple J Hottest 100 will take over on Sunday. Fuel up with cheese and vegemite pizzas, buckets of prawns, or poke bowls.
E Esplanade, Manly
12pm til late
Get a front-row seat to Coogee Beach – and world-class tennis – this weekend. The pub will be hosting a range of events over the long weekend. Live music aside, it will be screening the Australian Open Finals in the beer garden on Saturday and Sunday. As you’re soaking up the sun, dig into an Aussie Open burger and sip on two brand-new cocktails: Havin’ a Gaytime and Callipo Spritz.
253 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee Beach
This underground bistro is our go-to for all things French. From now until the end of January, they’re taking it to a new level of chic by hosting live jazz every night. While you’re enjoying the tunes, you can dine on a three-course set menu ($60 pp), which includes Hubert’s famous chicken fricassee, a juicy roast chicken with bread sauce and green garlic. The a la carte menu will be available, too.
15 Bligh Street, Sydney
Live music from 7pm-11pm