The Hedonist: Sydney

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

What to see and where to be seen

A seasoned hedonist should never have a massage before a night of debauchery, but that's exactly what I've gone and done. Smothered in essential oils from a pampering session at the Shangri-La hotel's Chi the Spa (00 61 2 9250 6000; shangri-la.com), I feel more placid than party-girl, as I float upstairs to my suite. It's almost too tempting to wrap up in a bathrobe, order room service and guzzle the mini-bar dry. But gazing out at the glittering harbour view, Sydney's nightlife beckons – and Australia's sassiest city is a mistress who waits for no one.

Anyone who pooh-poohs Sydney's nightlife should think back to the last time they visited. Since 2009, the stranglehold on licensing laws has loosened; these days it seems barely a week passes without another bar opening.

The so-called "small bar" scene is flourishing, and a short taxi ride away, my friends and I are hanging with the cool kids at one of the city's hippest venues: Grasshopper (00 61 2 9947 9025; thegrasshopper.com.au). It's a slip of a thing wedged in a former derelict laneway now heaving with stylish twenty- and thirtysomethings, where cocktail names are replaced by numbers.

I keep a straight face when I ask the bartender whether he likes number twos. Turns out he does – and so do I. After quaffing two, eight and 21, we steady ourselves to walk to The Ivy (00 61 2 9240 3000; merivale.com), a multi-bar-and-restaurant ode to pleasure-seeking that culminates in a rooftop pool.

We schmooze our way past the clipboards and head for the bar. Here, aside from posturing, posing and trust-fund boasting, it's all about the outfit – or lack thereof. Tsk-tsk, did you forget your swimsuit? Fear not, they sell them at the bar. The place to take in the splish-splashing exhibitionists is the glamorous, invite-only Ivy Penthouse bar on level six. The split-level haunt takes in a sexy, circular leather lounge and a dance pole that lowers from the ceiling over the marble coffee table. The sanctified few can overlook the pool shenanigans below from the comfort of the Jacuzzi on the balcony – Dom Pérignon in hand.

It's all exceptionally classy but our behaviour after a few Negronis is anything but, so we take a cab to Burton Street for further libations at The Commons (00 61 2 9358 1487; thecommons.com.au), Pocket (00 61 2 9380 7002; pocketsydney.com.au), and lastly Shady Pines Saloon (shadypinessaloon.com), a Western-themed dive bar where the whisky is served straight up and the bar is made for slouching.

Next, it's time for sustenance, so we head to Duke Bistro (00 61 2 9332 3180; dukebistro.com.au), an edgy eatery headed up by formidable young chefs who flip a respectful bird at bland gastronomy: try kingfish gin-and-tonic sashimi or quail with coffee and pistachio. After dinner, we walk past Oxford Street's flamboyant gay bars to Hunky Dory Social Club (hdsc.com.au), with its painfully beautiful crowd.

Fast forward and it's nearly 2am. Our lubricated bellies are baying for a second feed. We hail a cab to Golden Century (00 61 2 9212 3901; goldencentury.com.au), the legendary Chinese restaurant where service is surly at best – but there's a reason the sprawling restaurant is packed out, even at 3am. The seafood is sublime and the gai-lan so garlicky that hair sprouts from the chest with each chopstick-full.

At 10am the following day, the sun is mocking us. What to do with this hangover? Nothing beats immersing a puffy face into the brisk Bondi surf. The deal is sweetened with a Campari and fresh orange at North Bondi Italian Food (00 61 2 9300 4400; idrb.com). However, the way my stomach is feeling, waves and cocktails are foe, not friend, so we go east.

Nielsen Park is a harbour-facing beach favoured by Sydney's fashionable eastern suburbs set. It boasts a great little café (00 61 2 9337 7333; nielsenpark.com.au) serving knock-out eggs Benedict. There's little else to do other than work on our tans, cool off in the water... and plan the next night's activity.

A Hedonist's Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see hg2.com

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager

    £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer and Brand Manager required for ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator

    £25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator A...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement