24 HOURS IN CBD
Bag-alls australia lady boss jenny took a staycation in her hometown of sydney together with husband johan. Here she shares her highlights and best restaurant- and shopping tips. come along mate!
Sydney is, like many other large cities, divided in different areas such as Paddington (where the Bag-all store is located), Surry Hills, The Rocks, Barangaroo, Kings Cross and Central Business District (known as CBD). As charming these smaller areas are, Central Business District, isn’t too bad either. Me and my husband decided to go on staycation and spend 24 hours in Sydney’s CBD with a wish to stay at a nice hotel, do some serious shopping, eat good food and drink awesome drinks.
There are many hotels to choose from in Sydney’s CBD, and we didn’t want to stay in a large hotel complex but rather a smaller boutique hotel so QT Sydney was our perfect choice. This hotel is located in a historic building on 49 Market Street next to the iconic State Theatre in the middle of CBD and it has a cool mix of Art Deco architecture and contemporary quirky design.
One of our best packing hacks when going on a weekend trip like this is to put your dress in one of Bag-all’s Garment bags. It keeps your dress from getting all wrinkled and it is foldable making it super handy to carry.
However, if QT Sydney isn’t your cup of tea, Hotel Palisade is another great option, designed by talented Sibella Court, situated in The Rocks with a magic view over Sydney harbour.
CBD is the place to go to if you’re into shopping, so this is where we started our shopping day. Within walking distance, there is a mix of high fashion brands, Australian brands and department stores. On Pitt Street there are well-known stores as COS, Scotch & Soda, Uniqlo, H&M, Zara, Sephora and many more. The main shopping mall Westfield Sydney is home to brands like Nike, Gap, Aesop, MaxMara, Zimmerman, Sass & Bide and luxury brands like Gucci, Chanel and Bottega Veneta.
Queen Victoria Building, a magnificent Victorian building on George Street well worth a visit for its architecture, provides brands like Camilla, Calvin Klein, RM Williams, Dermalogica and more. Don’t miss Louis Vuitton’s flagship store on 345 Georg Street or Christian Dior’s stunning store on 65 Castlereagh Street.
Before heading further north towards The Rocks, we had lunch at The Grounds of the City on 500 George Street. This is truly one of our favourite places. Such a cool environment, great food and friendly staff. If you love this place as much as we do and if you have got time, head to The Grounds of Alexandria located in an old industrial building. You can easily spend a whole day here because they have a couple of restaurants, markets, garden, animal farm, bakery and there is always some kind of event going on, so bring your shopping tote and get some locally produced products.
The grounds of the city
We decided to take a little detour to The Rocks, one of the oldest precincts in Sydney located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour. It is not actually in CBD but we don’t want to miss the renowned market on Saturdays and Sundays with locally designed fashion, jewellery, art and street food. If you need a pit stop grab a beer in Sydney’s oldest pub, The Australian. Well worth a visit!
Bar & Restaurants
To maximize our 24 hours in the city we decided to go bar hopping, instead of having a dinner at one single restaurant. So, we went to five different bars and had a drink and appetiser on each bar. This turned out to be such a great way to experience many different bars and restaurants in one night. Simply a winning concept! But after a long day out shopping we had to go back to the hotel room and relax for a while before getting ready for a night out. A special and much appreciated feature in our room was a complimentary Espresso Martini kit with espresso, coffee liquor, shaker, ice, simply all you need to make your own Espresso Martini. So cool to getting dressed while sipping a self-made Espresso Martini.
A much appreciated complimentary kit in our room.
Excited to kick off the evening we headed back out on the street and our first stop Reign at the QVB a premium champagne bar located on the second floor in Queen Victoria Building. What else to have in a champagne bar except bubbles and oysters? And it sure wasn’t a disappointment. The Reign is a beautiful bar with brass, pink, gold and marble detailing in an old retail store run by an all-women bar team. How cool isn’t that?
Our next stop was The Old Mate’s place on 4/199 Clarence Street, a hidden gem on the 4th floor in an old office building. It sure was hard to find this bar and I must admit I hesitated walking up the stairs in this old run-down office building, but truly worth the effort. The interior reminds of an old library with bookshelves, brown leather booths, velvet curtains, family heirlooms and Japanese plants. The atmosphere is exclusive and casual at the same time and the bar is packed with suits, hipsters and tourists. Old Mate’s have a variety of creative cocktails weekly and we had a Lady Killer – gin, roasted white peach, bergamot tea and citrus and with that a Cheese and Charcuterie platter.
After another drink and charcuteries it was nice with a quick walk to Sydney’s oldest suburb The Rocks, and a bar called Maybe Sammy on 115 Harrington Street. Maybe Sammy is inspired by Las Vegas in the 50s with pink suede sofas and palm leaf wallpapers and bartenders in pink jackets. We had two delicious starters, Blue corn taco and Smoking Gun Bagel, and to top it up two Mini Martinis, The Sammy and The Dean.
It was time to head back to CBD and a bar called Employees Only (yes, as in the classic bar on Manhattan New York) located in a heritage listed basement on 9a Barrack Street. Follow the ‘Psychic’ neon sign and walk down the stairs and expect nothing but a packed bar and dining area. This is a New York styled cocktail bar with signature drinks as Amelia with vodka, elderflower liquor, blackberries and lemon or Fraise Sauvage with strawberry, vanilla, gin and Champagne and of course Manhattan, doesn’t get more New York than that does it? Employees Only have a late night menu and serve dinner until 3pm. Great if you crave for some snacks on your way home. We had a Spanner crab ravioli which unfortunately was a disappointment, and a much better Citrus cured ocean trout. Don’t miss the lady fortune teller down the stairs behind the curtain.
Happy, full and a bit tired we headed back to the hotel. But the walk home refreshened us and the bar at our hotel was too tempting to resist. We decided to grab one last cocktail and went for a classic Gin & Tonic the QT way with elderflower, cucumber and rosemary twist.
After a great day in the CBD and good nights sleep we where more than ready to wrap it up and head back home to our kids. But first the highlight of highlights, hotel breakfast!
My husband is probably the most perfectionist person I’ve ever met, so do I have to tell you how much he loves Bag-all’s traveling bags? He loves putting his fancy shoes in our Shoe bag and his watch, bracelet and such in Men’s Accessories bag.
On our way to the ferry we popped by a hidden gem called Forgotten songs on Angel Place close to Martin place. It’s an art installation of 50 cages, representing birds flourishing in Sydney before European colonisation. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity and the birds’ songs shifts as day turns to night. An Instagram friendly spot so charge your phones and head to the hidden alley behind Martin place.
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