PLAYMAKER by
The Playmaker
Driven by
Let's play
PLAYMAKER by
  • It's Monday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Sydney
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
17° & RAINY ON MONDAY 26 FEBRUARY IN SYDNEY
FOOD & DRINK

Where to Celebrate Your Birthday in Sydney (and Not Send Your Friends Broke)

Our top picks to celebrate another lap around the sun.
By Yelena Bidé
October 07, 2017
  shares

Where to Celebrate Your Birthday in Sydney (and Not Send Your Friends Broke)

Our top picks to celebrate another lap around the sun.
By Yelena Bidé
October 07, 2017
  shares

WHERE TO CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY IN SYDNEY (AND NOT SEND YOUR FRIENDS BROKE)

in partnership with

Our top picks to celebrate another lap around the sun.

Rounding up your mates to celebrate a birthday is meant to be something to look forward to all year, not an unnecessary source of stress and drama. But between conflicting schedules, dietary restrictions and different budgets, trying to pick the perfect place can be such a nightmare, that you'd be forgiven for just giving up and spending your birthday eating pizza on the couch. As understandable as this approach may be, it's also far from ideal. To make sure it doesn't happen, we've enlisted help from our mates at American Express to pick out some of the city's best places to celebrate your special day.

Some of our all-time Sydney favourites — that also happen to accept Amex — each of these 12 spots has stellar food and drink offerings, enough space for larger groups and great atmosphere that doesn't translate into a budget-breaking bill, letting you tick off all the boxes with glorious ease. Picking any of these people-pleasers is a foolproof way to make sure that everyone — including yourself — will be heading home happy. Cheers to that.

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

  • 12

    There’s just so much to love about China Diner; from the killer yum cha service to the extensive cocktail menu, this is the place to go for fuss-free, share-style modern Cantonese cuisine. Start with the incredible dumplings, duck pancakes and some jugs of Samurai Pimms for the table, and let the night unfold from there. Pick between the front section, with its communal tables and wood booths, or the back, where you’ll get a more formal atmosphere, complete with white tablecloths and softer lighting. Either way, China Diner is a decidedly glorious place to while away those precious birthday hours.

    Image: Dominic Loneragan.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 11

    This gorgeous little place operates as a cafe during the day, drawing in a loyal crowd of locals with its excellent food and chill vibes. On Thursday and Fridays, though, it stays open into the evening hours for their highly-lauded vegetarian dinner. If you’ve got non-meat eaters in the crew, look no further — also take note that meat eaters will thoroughly enjoy this joint, too. Not only does their excellent degustation take you through the entire evening menu for $55, the price also includes BYO corkage. So, brush the dust off that fancy bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion and get ready to indulge in an incredible feast of homemade pasta, local Australian cheeses and fresh salads.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 10

    This Rushcutters Bay favourite offers a surprisingly affordable degustation menu served up in a gorgeous atmosphere. Whitewashed walls, warm lighting and backlit mirrors — it’s the perfect backdrop for a grown-up birthday shindig. For a reasonable $65, the aptly-named Crush Me menu delivers four chef-selected entrees, followed by three delectable kinds of pasta from the restaurant’s Italian-focused-with-Asian-influences menu. If you’re feeling a little more splurgey (or have mates with especially huge appetites), there’s also the $80 banquet option, which includes snacks and dessert on top of an extensive banquet menu. There’s no way you’re going home from ACME anything but gloriously, perfectly stuffed.

    READ MORE
  • 9

    For an epically fun night out on the town, make a beeline for Ms.G’s. Housed in a narrow, four-storey building on Victoria Street, this hipster haunt is one of Sydney’s best bets for a memorable evening. The noise levels are as loud as the decor, with distressed walls plastered with graffiti and decidedly moody lighting. But the crazy fun vibe is not all this place has going for it — the inventive Asian fusion menu will satisfy all the cravings you didn’t even know you had. The $67 banquet menu lets you sample all of the smash hits, including the cheeseburger spring roll, sweet & sour lamb ribs and the insanely decadent Stoner’s Delight dessert. Grab a group (you can book for six or more) and enjoy the ride.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 8

    This tiny osteria in Enmore dishes up what is quite possibly the neighbourhood’s best Italian food, and it does so in a notable Godfather-esque setting. From the lace curtains on the front windows, menus pasted into vintage books and funny paintings on the walls, you’ll be forgiven for spending a good chunk of your night trying to take it all in. But don’t get too distracted from the food because it’s eccellente. We’re huge fans of the Va Bene five-course shared feast ($60) or, if you’re on the hungrier side, the Ultra Bene that sees seven-courses ($75) coming out to what is sure to be a very satisfied table.

    Image: Katje Ford.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 7

    A few hours spent in this California-inspired Neutral Bay eatery will have you feeling like you’ve taken a mini-holiday to celebrate your birthday. The decidedly beachy vibes — a breezy paint job, tons of greenery and cheerful, coloured lighting — will transport you straight to the American West Coast. Nab a table outside (they’re large enough for a big group), and get your sunshine-drenched drink and dinner on. The sliders, snapper ceviche and tacos are particularly recommendable, as well as their various margaritas. We’re also huge fans of the bottomless rosé with spicy snacks ($65) situation that’s on offer every Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Just grab three friends to meet the four-person minimum, and enjoy two hours of free-flowing rosé.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 6

    Big Poppa’s is a solid favourite for three very good reasons: the cheese, the cocktails and the hip hop. If this glorious trifecta sounds like the perfect mix for your birthday bash, look no further than this buzzy Oxford Street locale. Downstairs is the cocktail bar with low lighting, leather booths and a vintage mosaic of Biggie Smalls. For something a bit fancier, head upstairs where there’s more of a classic ristorante vibe. Get in early though, the place fills up fast and they don’t take reservations. Still, if you manage to bag a table, you’ll be able to linger until the wee hours — Big Poppa’s is open until 3am.

    READ MORE
  • 5

    This iconic Manly smokehouse and grill right on the water ticks all the right boxes. From the stunning interior — whitewashed brick walls, lofty ceilings and plenty of wood accents — to the glorious South American-accented menu, it’s not hard to see why this place is constantly packed. Join the crowds and stuff yourself silly on the burgers, rotisserie, barbecue and smoked dishes, making sure to save room for one of their decadent desserts. Drinks-wise, there’s a full wine list catering to practically any palate likely to pop in, and there’s also plenty of yummy cocktails. To make sure you get a table for your birthday bash, consider a lunch reservation or an early dinner. Honestly, the earlier you get in the better — this is a place you’re going to want to linger in for as long as possible.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 4
    Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta

    Bondi Icebergs’ casual younger brother delivers just what its name suggests: pizza and pig. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one that’s done stunningly well. This is the place to go when you want to celebrate with incredible food but absolutely zero fuss. Not only is pizza arguably the greatest group meal ever, the low-key setting means you can feel at ease in your thongs and t-shirt after a long day at the beach. Order a good number of the incredible pizzas (all 100 percent handmade using traditional techniques), a couple platters of spit-roasted pig and a few great Italian wines, and your job is done.

    READ MORE
  • 3

    Bondi Hardware is the place to go for trendy, casual elegance; think warm candlelight dancing on exposed brick walls, recycled timber panels and wall-mounted tools that hark back to the venue’s history as a hardware store. The international tapas-like menu — featuring sliders, pizzas and small plates — is perfect for sharing, and the wine and cocktail selection is expertly-curated. As the weather warms up, you can post up in the leafy courtyard, with its atmospheric lighting and ample people-watching opportunities. Bondi Hardware also earns major points for its attentive service — your birthday group will be well-taken care of even on the busiest nights.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 2

    Inspired by Middle Eastern street vendors and the splendour of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, this Glebe gem is our go-to for stellar contemporary Middle Eastern fare like hummus with paprika burnt butter and some of the best haloumi you’ll ever have. Seriously. You’ll also find Araks (Middle Eastern beers), baklava-inspired cocktails and ice cream kebabs. Yes, ice cream kebabs. Do not miss these. Set across two floors of exposed brick, peeling paint and antique chandeliers, this delightful joint blows all expectations out of the water. With its relatively small tables and stool seating, this is a good one if you’re going for a small birthday meal with the besties or significant other.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
  • 1

    Dishing up one of the best brunches in town, there’s almost nowhere better than Kepos Street Kitchen if you’re in the mood for a morning fiesta. Nestled on a quiet, leafy corner in Redfern, this award-winning cafe serves up creative Middle Eastern dishes that are perfect for sharing — a good thing because practically everything on the menu is worth a try. If it’s a dinner party you’re after, though, Kepos still fits the bill. With a generous sharing menu that rings up at just $65 per head (or $55 without dessert), and lets you BYO wine, your birthday dins will be both classy and affordable. Note, though, that the cafe’s small size means this is a place for an intimate party with your closest mates rather than a rowdy gathering.

     

    Still searching? For even more spots where you can drink and dine with your American Express (and reap the sweet rewards of being a Card Member), click here.

    READ MORE BOOK A TABLE
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x