Nine Sydney Solstice Experiences to Have This Winter If All You Think About Is Food (and Wine)

Sydney’s dining scene is good at the best of times, but it’s getting even better this June.
Samantha Teague
Published on June 03, 2021

Nine Sydney Solstice Experiences to Have This Winter If All You Think About Is Food (and Wine)

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Sydney’s dining scene is good at the best of times, but it’s getting even better this June.

Any night of the week, you're guaranteed a good feed in Sydney. But during Sydney Solstice, the city's dining scene is taking things up a notch. The new two-week event is taking over more than 200 bars, restaurants, art galleries and live music venues across multiple suburbs for a series of magical feasts, devilish dinners and food-filled street parties.

Running from Tuesday, June 8 till Sunday, June 20, the event series will feature a midnight feast at CBD dumpling master Mr Wong, a wine series with Opera House views at Aria and a free beer fest at Pyrmont's Terminus Hotel — and that's just the start. We've teamed up with NSW Government via Destination NSW to round up nine Sydney Solstice experiences to lap up this winter if you, like us, are always thinking about food and booze.

  • 9
    Aria After Dark

    Promising some of NSW’s best wines paired with views across the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, the Aria After Dark event series pretty much sells itself. As part of Sydney Solstice, the award-winning restaurant is showcasing four of the state’s greatest winemakers across four evenings. You’ll get to know Will Gilbert and his Mudgee wines on Wednesday, June 9; swirl Brokenwood’s stellar vino, courtesy of winemaker Kate Sturgess, on Thursday, June 10; try Angus Vinden’s vinous Hunter Valley drops on Wednesday, June 16; and, finally, get familiar with Nick Spencer Wines on Thursday, June 17. To help line the stomach, you’ll tuck in to some top local produce, too. Tickets for the events will set you back $85 a pop, which’ll get you two glasses of wine, three snacks and plenty of tastings.

    Image: Cole Bennetts

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  • 8
    Brews, Beats and Burgers

    Pyrmont’s Terminus Hotel is transforming into a burger-slinging, beer-pouring, beats-playing festival of hops and carbs for three days this June long weekend. Aptly dubbed Brews, Beats and Burgers, the event will play host to some of the finest brewers from across Sydney and regional NSW, who’ll be pouring their weird, wonderful and damn tasty drops. You’ll be able to pair these cold ones with something off the extended burger menu, which’ll have vegan and gluten-free options to boot. There’ll be live music, too, and, if you need any more convincing, entry is free.

    Image: Kitti Gould

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  • 7
    Midnight Feast

    At one point or another, you’ve probably found yourself in the Sydney CBD at 3am — but, we’re certain you haven’t been at Mr Wong at witching hour. Well, at least not in the building’s current iteration. The Merivale dumpling master is throwing it back to the venue’s former life as Tank Nightclub by hosting an adults-only, after-dark party this winter. Running from midnight till 3am on Friday, June 11, Midnight Feast will see the Bridge Lane restaurant come alive with DJs, entertainment, cocktails and, of course, dim sum until the early hours. This is sure to book out fast, so get tickets while you can.

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  • 6

    A collection of heritage-listed railway sheds in inner Sydney is now home to South Eveleigh — one of the city’s most exciting new food precincts. Inside, you’ll find the world’s first permanent no-waste bar Re, run by hospo legends Maurice Terzini and Matt Whiley; Kylie Kwong’s highly anticipated modern Chinese canteen, Lucky Kwong; and cult-favourite RaRa Ramen‘s new eatery. The precinct is throwing a two-day festival in the lead up to winter solstice, where you’ll be able to peruse art installations, listen to live music, attend workshops about native Australian plants and make your own cheese — oh, and eat and drink at all the venues. So, expect steaming bowls of noodles, Kwong’s famous savoury pancakes, boundary-pushing cocktails and juicy lamb shawarma.

    Image: Lucky Kwong, Destination NSW

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  • 5

    Another inner city precinct, YCK Laneways is not home to one bar or even two. Rather, it’s home to 15 small bars located across York, Clarence and Kent streets. Which means you have 15 very good reasons to head along to its Sydney Solstice event YCK Laneways: Night over Light. Not only will the bars be shaking, stirring and pouring their signature cocktails, they’ll also be hosting live music, tarot readings, drag queen bingo and more. You’ll be able to sip rum and kick back to Caribbean tunes at The Lobo, eat tacos and sing along to Latin American melodies at Esteban and pair rare whisky with hot dogs and live jazz at Stitch.

    Image: Since I Left You

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  • 4

    You’ve probably sat at the bar at Bitter Phew and learned a lot about beer while making your way through lagers, ales and stouts, and chatting to the friendly staff. But this winter, you can sip schooeys and learn about native Aussie ingredients thanks to this series of workshops. Gabriel Gutnik (Ziggy’s Wildfoods), a local champion of ingredients that are foraged or sourced from Indigenous-owned and -operated companies, will chat about Australia’s plethora of local flora and their potential. He’ll also serve up a native ingredient-heavy cocktail and grazing board pairing. The Oxford Street bar will also host lunches and dinners by Caitlin Koether of Wild Provisions, who’s known for highlighting old-world preservation techniques, like fermenting, salting and sugaring.

    Image: Destination NSW

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  • 3

    The QVB’s second-level restaurant Esquire is serving up more than food and wine at its Sydney Solstice event. In fact, it’s dishing up an evening that’s set to go beyond the veil. At the venue’s Smoke & Mirrors Wine Dinner, you and your friends will be wow-ed by mentalist Andy Nunn and magicians Vincent Kuo and Adam Axford. Prepare to have your mind read before diving into a four-course menu of twice-roasted duck, slow-braised wagyu and a bombe alaska, all paired with local wines. Then, you’ll get a second dose of dessert in the form of gravity-defying tricks.

    Image: Damian Flanagan

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  • 2
    Five Ways Festival

    Paddington has long been a cultural melting pot, with everything from food and wine to fashion, art and music found throughout its tree-lined streets. So, naturally, all five will be showcased at the suburb’s Five Ways Festival during Sydney Solstice. The free street party will see restaurants, bars and shops around the buzzing intersection open their doors for pop-up events, limited-edition offers and art shows. There’ll be live music, a bake sale pop-up from renowned chef Phil Wood and even a margarita and magazine matching event at Journals. You can also pop into Tequila Mockingbird for beef barbacoa tacos and mezcal and pair linguine vongole and americanos at Vino e Cucina.

    Image: Visit Paddington

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  • 1
    The Queen's Feast: A Last Supper for All the Senses

    Some of the city’s best chefs are coming together for a debaucherous winter feast fit for a queen — or many. Taking over Sydney Town Hall for one day only, The Queen’s Feast will see MasterChef Australia’s Sarah Tiong, Claire Van Vuuren from Bloodwood, Bart Jr’s George Woodyard and dessert queen Anna Polyviou create a four-course meal paired with booze by Hunter Valley’s Lisa McGuigan. As you tuck in to the decadent dishes, you can expect live performances, art and music by way of Stereogamous. It’s all being overseen by Heaps Gay Creator and Sydney Mardi Gras Creative Director Kat Dopper, too, with an overarching theme of a twisted, dark last supper. So, wear your best leather and lace and get ready to feast like it’s your last. You can pick from two sittings: 1–4pm and 7–10pm.

    Image: Sarah Tiong and George Woodyard. Photo by Zoë Hyland

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Keen to check out the full program? Head to the Sydney Solstice website.

Top image: Since I Left You

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