WHEN it comes to going out for a drink in Sydney it's all about the small bar - the smaller the better. Thanks to changes in licensing laws, size no longer matters, and all over the city intimate, elegant little watering holes are popping up. It's a wonderful change from the argy-bargy of big pubs and these new venues invite personal connections and intimate conversations.
Top of our hit list is Stitch (61 York St), located in a Wynyard basement and decorated with all things sartorial. With moody jazz and a killer cocktail list, you can't help but go with the flow. Meanwhile, the appropriately named Small Bar also in the city (48 Erskine St), allows you to get up close and personal with your neighbours upstairs thanks to the closeness of the tables, while downstairs it's loungey with old-fashioned lamps, couches, fairy lights and brick walls. There's a great wine list and scrummy bar snacks.
Head to Surry Hills to check out the new Italian wine bar 121BC that everyone's talking about (4/50 Holt St) thanks to its eclectic wine list and inexpensive Italian bar bites.
Meanwhile 10 Williams St in Paddington is also a hot favourite. After shopping up a storm down the street at Belinda and The Corner Shop head here for everything from sherry to sake, French and Italian wines and bar plates that range from carpaccio presce to black angus tagliata.
Snuggle in by the bar downstairs or head upstairs for a cosier feel.
Moving up in size is the Ash Street Cellar - not so much a small bar but a wine bar serving delicious tapas. It's tucked away down a lane in the CBD and has a distinctly European feel. Further down the lane, and proving there is always demand for the grandiose is the Ivy - the bar of the moment. Take the stairs to the first floor and you're hit by the roar of the crowd under the outdoor fairylights. Don't linger here for long, because the higher you go the better it gets. There is a variety of chic restaurants in this complex owned by the Merivale group, including Sailors Thai, Uccello, Mad Cow and the uber-elegant Ivy Lounge bar where you can sip cocktails in velvet chairs and nibble on the best bar snacks ever - like betel leaves with crab, coconut, chilli, lime, ginger, peanuts and a caramel sauce. Next, take the lift to the Pool Club and be transported to LA. Here the glossy posse chill out in poolside cabanas or shimmy to the beats at the water's edge.
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