Once a sommelier, DAN KNIGHT is now stirring up a storm in Sydney’s thriving small bar scene, with his retro-style cocktail bar Hinky Dinks. The popular joint in the city’s funky Darlinghurst area is fitted out like a ’50s diner and specialises in unusual cocktails, from a whiskey-laced milkshake to the Banana Hammock, with banana-infused rum and chocolate bitters.
Dan is full of excitement about the city he’s called home for more than 30 years, saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how long you live here, it never gets old.’
Sydney’s bar scene is on fre. There’s such a variety of places to suit your every mood. Shady Pines Saloon (1) is a fun Wild West bar in Darlinghurst, with great whiskeys and taxidermy.
Wine Library in Paddington has fabulous wines and the atmosphere is so warm that it seems to wrap you up. But if I want just a quick drink and snack, I go to Buffalo Dining Club for the best buffalo mozzarella in Sydney. shadypinessaloon.com; wine-library.com.au; buffalodiningclub.com.au
This city has great restaurants. The Apollo (2) in Potts Point is fantastic on a Saturday night. It serves great Greek food, and the décor is perfect, with exposed bricks and the right soft touches.
But my favourite place to eat is a brightly lit fast food eatery called the Chinese Noodle Restaurant in Chinatown. If I were to be executed tomorrow, their spicy chicken salad would be my last meal. theapollo.com.au; Chinese Noodle Restaurant, 8 Quay St, Haymarket
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (3) is a fantastic day out for something cultural. It has an ever-rotating collection, so you’ll always see different exhibitions. Every two years we also have the Biennale of Sydney, a contemporary visual arts festival that takes place on Cockatoo Island. The Island Bar (4) there is a lovely place for a drink in the sunshine. mca.com.au; biennaleofsydney.com.au; cockatooisland.gov.au; theislandbar.com.au
Sydney is known for its beautiful beaches, but I’m a North Shore boy, so my favourite will always be Balmoral Beach (5). It has the feel of not being in the city because you’re looking out towards trees on a little island. It’s also a safe place for kids because it’s a harbour beach so there are no currents.
The theatres here put on some cool stuff. You can go to the Sydney Theatre Company or Sydney Opera House and watch a big, lavish production.
But I also love the smaller venues, such as Griffn Theatre Company, 100-seat theatre that’s committed to new Australian works. You sit right up close to the actors, which makes for a visceral experience. sydneytheatre.com.au; sydneyopera house.com; griffntheatre.com.au