sydney

Redfern Small Bars

Even though I live fairly close to Redfern in Sydney, I’ve never really socialised much in the area. Sure, I’ve been to a few pubs. I’ve been to Railz. I’m a member of South Sydney Rugby Leagues Club. I’ve also been to the uber-hip Freda’s. But aside from that, I’ve never really experienced much of the emerging small bar culture in the area. Partly, it’s because this small bar culture has developed only in the last few years, and now being in my late forties, friends and I tend to socialise in places which are little less-hip, a little less noisy.

And that’s the one thing you have to remember about small bars: they can be quite noisy. Like us ten years ago, these bars are full of younger types out for a night on the town with their friends. They’re probably out for a pick-up too. But that wasn’t the case for two friends of mine and I on Thursday night: we were just out for a few drinks and a catchup. We had previously called ourselves “The Boozehounds”, reflective of a time when we were all a bit younger, single, and thus able to be fairly spontaneous about our social lives. But when partners and young babies come along, you need to plan such events.

That said, it was a fairly spontaneous night. We started off at Arcadia which is a nice enough bar, though really very noisy. From there we wandered to The Beardedtit, a bar which we all really loved. The bar had a great vibe about it : there was a hip young crowd, but there was also room for 40-somethings like ourselves. On the walls there was art for sale, including one piece I almost made an impulse purchase of. You could also order take-in food from nearby restaurants : we had some really fantastic Chinese. We also chatted to the woman who runs the bar, and she was really lovely. We ended up the night at The Dock. An intimately small bar, we even had a dance to a band playing just a few feet away from us. So yeah, a night of great spontaneity, and great to get “The Boozehounds” back together.

The view from Balmain Wharf

Balmain Wharf

The view from Balmain Wharf is pretty fantastic. A couple of friends (from high school) and I spent about thirty minutes there yesterday, waiting for a ferry to arrive.

“There’s nothing quite like a ferry ride in Sydney to make me feel good”, I told them. “It’s like when a dog hangs its head out the window”, I added, noting the physical sensation of sitting up front of a ferry, rather than being stuck inside.

We had spent the last few hours enjoying lunch at The London Hotel (John Dory x 2, and Tenderloin x 1, both of which tasted terrific) and as we waited, we were all a little overwhelmed at how beautiful the clouds were, the harbour was, the bridge looked and the light was. Thought I’d share.

Winter has arrived in Sydney (as you can see from the tree); it's my last day of holidays (back to work tomorrow); and these are very ugly noisy birds you normally find on top of garbage bins; but this was still a rather nice image to wake up to earlier this morning.

Staycation

I’ve never really been one for the “sit on the beach/read a book” style of vacation. Generally, I like to go somewhere interesting, discover as much as I can about the place, and hopefully get to chat with some new and interesting people.

But having enjoyed a wonderful holiday in China, I opted to take an extra week’s annual leave to stay at home in Sydney for a “staycation”. In the back of my mind, there were still plans to get out and about: to visit galleries, go walking, cycling etc. But the reality, I’m slightly ashamed to say, has been staying at home, getting out of bed late, watching a bit of catch-up television, and little else.

I’m philosophical, though, since I think your body is usually the best guide to what you should do. If you’re feeling sick, I always think it’s far preferable to have a cup of tea, go to bed and sleep for as long as you can, rather than take pharmaceuticals. I’m guessing the inner-sloth in me took over and for the last week my body has said rather clearly, “just relax”.

Still I got up earlyish this morning in preparation for a return to work tomorrow.

As you can see from the tree: winter has most certainly arrived in Sydney, and despite being woken by the awful noise of these rather ugly birds (the ones you normally find hanging out around garbage bins), it was still a rather nice view to be greeted by.

Here’s to a lovely mild Sydney winter.