Two of the best cafes in Sydney? Others would, no doubt, nominate their own favourites, but the espressos at these two establishments, located over the road from each other on Challis Avenue, in Potts Point, would be hard to beat: I have rarely had better even in Italy.
Spring Espresso perhaps has the edge with the intricate, leaf-like pattern its barristas skillfully etch on the cappuccinos they serve up. Both cafes do delicious eggs benedict, that Sydney breakfast institution.
Diners are mainly residents of the wealthy surrounding suburb of Potts Point; they are interesting enough to observe in themselves, but the main draws are the food, the coffee and the location. Potts Point is only a leafy, five-minute stroll away from Woolloomooloo Bay, on the harbour.
65 Macleay St, Potts Point
+61 2 9331 0191
12-16 Challis Ave, Potts Point
+61 9357 1744
Mundo Bizarro has gone seriously downhill in the last year. Gran Bar Danzon is for pathetic wannabe yuppies and expensive ladies of the night. Most bars in Palermo Viejo and Hollywood are all style and no substance and way overpriced to be completely honest. If you find a good one, stick to it.
Mundo Bizarro-Guatemala 4802, Palermo.
Gran Bar Danzon-Liberted y Santa fe, Capital Federal.
Just along from the Florianska Gate and the Barbakan, this is a Krakow institution and a place to enjoy Polish classics such as sernik (cheesecake). The art nouveau interior, designed by Karol Frycz, is rather cavernous, but once your eyes adjust they’ll feast on the amazing details of this highly individual cafe. After traipsing round the city you can sink into quirky chairs and vast green banquettes. It’s a place for leisurely chat, and the ‘it’s Tuesday so it‘s Krakow’ mentality is frowned upon here. Don’t come here if you’re in a hurry to catch a train – service can be slow, and asking for the bill before the waiter or waitress comes to you is not good form.
ul. Florianska 30, Old Town (Stare Miasto);
If you are used to looking in restaurant windows to check for free tables, beware. Especially around the central Stefansdom area, but also elsewhere, the small ground floor area you see will be nothing compared to the vast cavern downstairs.
Check in the immediate area around the Stefansdom
Go to Texas, the most famous rock club in Athens. Plays classic rock and metal every night until morning. Often frequented by bands such as Motorhead after they've played in the city. If you like Texas you can also try nearby Revenge of Rock.
Texas is on Ippokratous Street in the bohemian area of Exarhia. Revenge of Rock is on Leofourous Alexandras, also in Exarhia. Exarhia is central Athens – a 10 minute walk from Ommonia square or take a cab (most taxi drivers will know these clubs)
Situated above most of the skyline, Orbit Lounge is one of Sydney’s secrets, which is almost too good to share.
The bar’s early evening happy-hour, where a selection of cocktails and contemporary Australian wines are on sale at half price, is not to be missed.
An eclectic mix of Japanese tourists, young trendies and suited business men congregate here – 47 floors up - to watch the sun go down on Sydney.
Arrive early, the bar opens at 5pm, to secure a seat by the window. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the 360 degree views as the lounge floor slowly rotates, giving way to breath-taking views of the city.
On a clear day the view stretches from the Blue Mountains in the West to the glistening shores of the northern beaches. And there’s a pretty good view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House too.
Level 47, Australia Square, CBD;
Capitilanos I made friends with urged me to try a novel drink at this square - Mexican women set up small stalls serving a dark lager, with plenty of lime juice, in plastic glasses; the rim of which was coated in salt AND hot chilli powder. Much better than it sounds, though it doesn't travel so well - friends at home were not so keen (I put this down to the wrong sort of chilli powder - they have hundreds, you know)
On the Square, small stalls
Beautifully restored hotel in art deco style, the prices are exorbitant by Warsaw standards, but a pleasant surprise was being informed that our bill would be 50% cheaper because it was
happy hour 5-8pm.
Luxurious warmth, nice biscuits with the coffee, a pound of peanuts with the beer. Actually, you could even save money.
ul Krakowskie Przedmiescie 42/44
Forget tequila - the authentic Mexican drink is pulque, a watery alcoholic juice made from fermented maguey. Slightly foamy, with a tinge of aloe vera, it tastes like rinsed shampoo, smells terrible and you would need to consume a lot to get drunk. It is cheap, though ...
Seek out a local pulqueria, a spit-and-sawdust drinking saloon frequented largely by men.
Nightlife/entertainment.Don't miss the extraordinary spectacle of Plaza Garibaldi, where there can often be upwards of fifty Mariachi bands touting for business at any one time. The atmosphere is friendly, safe and more than a little mad. You can listen in the open air, or take a table in one of the salones, of which Tenampa is amongst the best. Bands comprising a dozen or more musicians move between diners and drinkers, offering songs for a few pounds each. There's an irony-free cigarette girl, and even a man with an electric-shock machine to test your machismo.
Escape the hordes who are walking mugging targets on Las Ramblas, by making base camp in the hills of the city.
La Zona Alta refers to an entire neighbourhood in the north of the city and it encompasses the familiar sights (Parc Guell) and new experiences (Calle Verde).
Rub shoulders with students, dissidents and street performers who are as committed to drinking as they are to people watching.
Make Calle Verde your home and venture down the hill to have a drink in Placa de la Vireina - a beautiful and buzzing square perfect for pulling up a chair and admiring the street life
Situated on the top floor of 18-on-the-Bund, Bar Rouge encapsulates contemporary China. The 18th-century casing is starkly contrasted by the ultra stylish interior and views across the Yang Pu River to what is one of the most modern cityscapes in the world. With its velvet red sofas, a glass wall looking out on to a decked veranda, secluded booths and a lighting scheme that contrives to make the ugly look less so, in its year or so of business Bar Rouge has carved a niche for itself at the top of Shanghai’s bar scene.
It has become somewhat of a magnet for the cities well to do, including a scattering of national, and international, celebrities.
However, the bar also typifies China’s almost super human commitment to ignoring any concept of customer services and Bar Rouge takes this attitude to new levels. Many one time punters come away scoffing at paying 80RMB for a drink and not only not getting a smile but more often than not actually being ignored. (This probably stems from the fact that a round of drinks here is roughly equivalent to the waitresses’ nightly earnings.)
So, the services isn’t great, (or down right awful) the drinks are expensive and understatement doesn’t do justice to the word pretentious, but hey, this is Shanghai in 2006 – what was it you expected?
7F, Bund 18, 18 Zhongshan Dong Lu; tel: 633 9119
Once a very popular hangout for foreigners, Voodoo Lounge has seen a recent shift back towards a largely Japanese crowd. A good place to head if you're interested in the local live music scene, as most nights have some form of live entertainment. Thursday night is the Nama Special - beers at 100 yen between 21:09 and 22:09.
The two bars serve a wide range of cocktails at reasonable prices, and the chicken in a basket is surprisingly good.
Third floor, Tenjin Centre Building, 3-2-13 Tenjin; five minutes’ walk from Tenjin subway station
If you're tired of beautiful bodies on the beach and want to check out the alternative scene in Ipanema get yourself down to Dama. Owned by metal-work artist and furniture designer Adriana Lima, (Dama de Ferro = Iron Lady) Dama is a late night electro/house/alternative club with the best local and international DJs, contemporary decor and an up-for-it late night crowd.
Rua Vinicius de Moraes, 288, Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
Legend has it, this was once some sort of illicit opium den. Perhaps an exaggeration, however it certainly feels like you're entering a crack den as you're casting one eye over your shoulder at the dealers on the street corner whilst looking out for the unmarked entrance to this once illegal (inevitably now legit) after hours drinking den in Alphabet City.
Tip: look out for the yellow liquor store sign, enter the apartment block next door and go upstairs. Trust me, you wouldn't happen upon this place by accident! Inside is awash with chandeliers, dim red lighting, and comfy sofas (if you're they're early) an ominous looking mannequin behind the bar and a mischievous atmosphere.
Due to the sheer challenge of finding this place, you're invariably going to find great music, cool bar staff, plus a like-minded, fun-loving, up for it, and good-looking crowd. Open very late and when busy (always) it may feel like you’ve unwittingly forced your way into a random person’s loft party just as things are getting messy.
Avenue B, between 13th and 14th
I am not an opera lover, but this was a fantastic experience. Don't go early. About 10 pm on a Thursday night go two doors along Calle Montcada from the Champagne Bar. Insist on getting past an old bloke who seems to try to prevent people entering! Explain to him that you do not expect to eat there. Pay 20 euros, get a table near the bar and experience real opera singers performing right beside you. It was wonderful.
Calle Montcada, opposite Picasso Museum
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