Think you know Sydney? Rethink with our Citi Guide to Sydney

Sydney. We locals will defend our seaside city to the ends of the earth and beyond. But just how well do you know it?

From coffee to couture, when you’re comfortable in your hometown it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Well it’s time to rethink your routine and start exploring the Sydney you’ve been missing out on. We’ve teamed up with Citi to rethink eating, drinking and experiences to try in Sydney.

Take the Daily Addict challenge and swap your usual haunts for our options below.


Sokyo: Think you know Japanese food? Think again. This intimate bar/restaurant inside The Star brings new meaning to the term fusion, with Chef Chase Kojima’s quirky take on Asian cuisine. Try an interesting maple miso and lamb chops or Moreton Bay bug sashimi given the tang of Vegemite croutons. The DJ will have the decks spinning so you start the party before the dishes are even cleared. Want to make this night even better? Dine and pay with your Citibank card and you’ll get a free bottle of wine to enjoy.


OTTO Ristorante: Does Italian fine dining in Sydney get any better than this? Not only is the food superb, but the vibe is fun and fresh at OTTO Ristorante. And then there’s the location. Perched on Cowper Wharf in Woolloomooloo, this is Sydney’s restaurant to see and be seen. And that doesn’t mean you have to be a celebrity to reserve a table. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just in need of a nice long lunch, OTTO isn’t exorbitantly expensive and all diners are treated with the same relaxed yet polished service. So go on, do something different, treat yourself.

Diner en Blanc: No you can’t book here tonight, next week, or even next month. This exclusive event is held just once a year and is definitely worth the wait. As the name suggests, diners will meet en mass, all dressed in white, for a dinner in a secret, and very special location. Bondi beach was last year’s location and we’re all waiting with bated breath to find out where 2014’s November dinner will be served. You can find out more about Dinner en Blanc by visiting

Diner en Blanc Sydney Bondi Beach 2013


WIP Bar: Work. In. Progress. Ever get sick of those meetings where you discuss work each week, but nothing ever seems to get done? Well now there’s WIP Bar, where you can start brainstorming by taking a paintbrush to the walls. Literally. With exposed brick walls, and temporary wooden partitions plastered with pop art, Merivale’s small bar actually has a work in progress feel to it. You can settle in with a few cocktails and get the creative juices flowing. Just don’t draw on the actual works of art on the walls.

Apothecary by Eau de Vie: If you thought you could show off your cocktail skills, the mixologists at the Apothecary will make you think again. Hidden behind dark curtains in the entrance corridor to Sydney’s famous Eau de Vie, this intimate space should be your first stop for a taste of cutting edge cocktail mixology. Start off on one of the cocktail flights and expect all your senses to be wowed by liquid nitrogen, blow torches, sparklers and smoking guns – and that’s all before your first sip. His & Hers is the perfect choice for couples, just make sure they sit you in one of the cute booths snug in the corners.

Down the Garden Path

The Barbershop: Is this inner-city watering hole a barbershop or a cocktail bar? Well if you’re walking down the street looking for a bar, you won’t find it. As the name suggests, The Barbershop has a barber in residence, with hot towel shaves and beard trims on offer. But behind the barber, to the left and up the stairs, is a small bar where the lights are low and the gin selection is top notch. Yes there’s lots of gin – there’s even a vintage gin collection. The cocktails and craft beers also keep the crowds coming. 

The Barber Shop Bar


Golden Age Cinema & Bar: These days going to the cinema isn’t just about choc tops and blockbusters. Golden Age Cinema & Bar is located in what was once the screening room for Paramount Cinemas and has brought the glamour and charm of the silver screen back to life. From cult classics like Purple Rain and The Shining to pop hits like Grease and the more recent Frozen, there’s a film for all tastes. Taste buds will enjoy a brand new winter menu (think cinnamon donut popcorn and a daily changing Gelato Messina sundae) and the Hot Toddys or martinis at the art deco bar. Like we said, the humble choc top is out and the new age cinema experience is in.

Retrosweat: Forget your boring gym membership and dust off your lycra. Retrosweat brings the best of the 80s back in a fun one-hour workout that will have you sweating up a storm. Started by NIDA graduate Shannon Dooley, Retrosweat takes place in Redfern every Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm and will have you doing the grape vine and getting in shape to your favourite 80s tunes. Expect plenty of leg warmers and short shorts but the lyrca isn’t mandatory. Just be prepared to get your heart rate pumping.

Ryokan Gojyuan: If you thought you’d need to go all the way to Japan to get a taste of traditional Japanese culture, think again. This boutique guesthouse in Balmain is a little piece of traditional Japanese living brought to us by Linda Evans. Tatami matts, shoji (paper screen) doors, slippers, zen garden and even a koi pond – this is as close as you’re going to get to a traditional Japanese Inn experience without hopping on a plane. There are just two rooms at this ryokan and there is still an onsen on site – the wooden bath’s sand filtered water is kept at the ready during your entire stay. You’d be crazy not to hop in for a soak.

Ryokan GojyuanGood Food Month: Ah, the one month of the year when the entire city celebrates eating, drinking and merry making. Okay, Christmas is a little like that too, but October is all about giving your taste buds a new lease on life, rather than drowning in office parties. Good Food Month, presented by Citi is Australia’s largest food festival, hosting everything from Pop Up Parties and Bar Hopping to masterclasses with celebrity chefs from around the world. This year is headlined with the famous Mr Yotam Ottolenghi, whose food books are drooled over by many an Aussie. The Night Noodle Markets are always a huge hit too – sprawled across Hyde Park, stalls selling everything from dim sum to organic desserts give Sydneysiders a chance to sample dishes from their favourite restaurants and food stores. And if you’re a Citi customer, flash your Citi card at the VIP area to enjoy the ultimate Night Noodle Markets experience with the free Citi Concierge service.

Rethink your city. Rethink banking. This is a sponsored message presented by Sydney City explorers Citibank.

About the author

Carrie is the Founder of Daily Addict. She's an uncanny ability to uncover social experiences and must-have things that interest and inspire. Consider her your go-to-lady (you have on speed dial) to reveal the lesser-known gems compelling you to get more out of life.


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