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FOOD & DRINK

The Best Aperitivo Hours in Sydney

Where to find super affordable Italian drinks and snacks every night of the week.
By Samantha Teague
February 21, 2018
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The Best Aperitivo Hours in Sydney

Where to find super affordable Italian drinks and snacks every night of the week.
By Samantha Teague
February 21, 2018
  shares

THE BEST APERITIVO HOURS IN SYDNEY

Where to find super affordable Italian drinks and snacks every night of the week.

You've finished work. It's not quite time for dinner but a bite of something salty and a sip of something carbonated (and alcoholic) would go down a treat. Luckily, the Italians have a solution for that — the aperitivo hour. And it has made its way to Sydney. Restaurants and bars around the city are offering up Italian-style spritzes and cocktails, with bite-sized snacks to keep you going until dinner (and to reward you for completing another hard day of work). The kicker? They're offering the food and drink at heavily discounted prices — think $10 negronis, $5 wines and complimentary snacks. An Italian happy hour, if you will. And here we've rounded up our favourites, so you can kick back with an Aperol spritz any night of the week.

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    The Dolphin does a lot of things well. Its eclectic design by George is eye-catching. Its menu (spanning across the wine room, restaurant and pub area) by chef Monty Koludrovic is tasty and hearty. The wine and cocktail list by James Hird is extensive. But another aspect of the newly-renovated venue that has gained a cult following is its aperitivo hour. From 5–7pm, Sunday to Thursday, the wine bar serves up drinks and snacks costing between $5–7. And once week, a top chef from somewhere across Australia (or internationally) flies in to prepare the food. The 2018 lineup includes Acme‘s Mitch Orr, David Moyle from Melbourne’s Longsong, Saint Peter‘s Josh Niland and Analiese Gregory from Franklin in Hobart. These one-off events give you the chance to try food from award-winning chefs at the fraction of the price. Our suggestion? Head in early, the small room packs out when there’s a big name in town.

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    If you could picture the kind of restaurant you’d like in your neighbourhood, you’d probably picture Matteo.  A new opening in the old Limoncello digs in Double Bay, Matteo is brought the labour of chef Orazio D’Elia (Da Orazio Pizza and Porchetta), Eddie Levy (KittyhawkLobo Plantation and Darlo Country Club) and Adam Abrams (also of Darlo Country Club and The Island). Together, they’ve teamed simple Italian food with friendly service, great booze and a thumping big pizza oven. Every day between 5–7pm, the restaurant is easing the hunger pains between lunch and dinner (and simultaneously easing the strain on your wallet). Between these hour, whatever drink you order — whether its an Aperol spritz or a cocktail with watermelon and gin — arrives with free snacks.

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  • 4

    From the moment you open the door, Hubert will hurtle you headfirst into a C.S. Lewis-style adventure, taking you from dreary Bligh Street to the resplendent old-world opulence of post-war Paris. It’s like an adult’s version of Narnia, only this time there’s steak and wine. And, because you like cheap booze — and Hubert is all about giving you what you want, the restaurant has just started running a daily aperitif hour from 4–6pm. It’s serving up a whole heap of really affordable drinks, including $5 G&Ts, $10 negronis and $5 glasses of riesling. Aperitivo hours aren’t complete without salty snacks, so they’re also offering $3 devilled eggs, $5 parfait and $10 burgers. We suggest you ask for an early mark, tout de suite.

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    Bacco Osteria e Espresso is the first city collaboration between executive chef Andrew Cibej and head chef Scott Williams, both of whom hail from Surry Hills stalwarts Vini, 121BC, Berta and Chippendale’s Ester. So, if nothing else, you can expect the food and wine selection to be very good. And, capitalising on our love for spritzes and free stuff, Bacco has just launched an aperitivo hour that combines the two. On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 4 and 9pm, drinks — including negronis, Aperol spritzes, vermouth and one of the restaurant’s 100 wines — will come with complimentary snacks. These will be chosen at the chef’s discretion and could be anything from bread and butter to sardines, meatballs, jaffles, arancini and even roasted cabanossi. All you need to know if that it’s free.

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    Maybe Frank is much trendier than your typical neighbourhood trattoria. Yes, there is still the odd kid with a napkin stuffed in their shirt and pasta sauce on their fingers — but primarily this is a young, lively crowd who has been lured just as much by the caprioskas as the capricciosas. Maybe Frank’s menu features 20 different pizzas, and you can try them all on Tuesday for $20, when they hold their aforementioned all-you-can-eat pizza night. Alternatively, you can head in between 5.30 and 7pm to score the aperitivo hour specials. There’ll be a rotating range of Italian cocktails available for $10 — think spritzes and negroni-like concoctions — and a special spuntini street food menu available for cheap.

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  • 1

    Casoni shyly greets Oxford Street from its corner next to the courthouse behind Taylor Square, beckoning you in for a plate of house-made pasta. Not that it’s a hard ask to step into the smart little dining room, done in a Scandi-industrial palette of grey, white and leatherwood honey-coloured timber. Perhaps the only difficulty is deciding whether you’d prefer to start with an Aperol Spritz or one of the many beers — both of which are on tap. Or, if you head in between 5 and 6.30pm, you can have both. During this hour and a half, every day of the week, all tap beers are $7 and Aperol spritzes are $9. Pekish? Order a round of savoury cacio e pepe doughnuts for $8.

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