Afternoon sightseeing with Jessica and Falan began at the Sydney Opera House. All the photos I’ve ever seen before don’t do it justice. Not only is the architecture pure genius, the power it radiates took my breath away. It is the heart of Sydney. In its presence, you feel it beat. We ate lunch at the Opera Bar connected to the opera house; pretty good, over priced. With few clouds in the sky we decided to venture to Manly, a beach town 30min. away by ferry. The ferries depart right next to the opera house from Circular Quay, so embarking on our journey couldn’t have been easier. It was a pleasure looking back at the city from the seas perspective.
Manly was cool, just really cool. We walked the boardwalk passing scattered restaurants and bathing suit shops, turning right once we hit the ocean. Destination: Manly Wine, from my must-see-while-in-Sydney list. (Thanks Bob!) Manly Wine has an extraordinary cocktail list. Jonathan, my bartender, even experimented around with his supplies making my favorite drink. Ask him for the Tequila Roro, or the Yes Please. After having gotten a little too comfortable, Jessika, Falan and I moseyed off to Manly harbor and ate at Papi Chulo. The previous night’s samples had inspired us to check out their full menu. Delicious; grilled corn with cheese and lime, pea guacamole, and, may I stress, the brisket is life-changing! Our ferry ride back was stunningly beautiful. I snapped a favorite photo of my trip so far. (Been gone 17 days and it’s just the beginning.)
Later that night, another friend escorted me to Shady Pines, recommended by a few different people, now I know why. There’s no sign for it, just a door in an alley with a man standing outside. Descending the stairs you feel like you’re entering an old time Wild West secret poker game. The lights are dim, peanut shells carpet the floor, stuffed animal heads on the wall…and everyone there seems to be hiding something…
We were lucky to score two seats at the bar. Getting the attention of a bartender is a challenge, but once you do, you’d think no one else was there because you have his undivided attention. Cocktails take a bit of time due to fine details I’ve never before seen put into a drink, (and I work at a bar). Like sprinkling caramel bits onto sliced apples, then blow torching it to a melt, exuding the perfect aroma. I was sold, eager to order every cocktail on the menu.
Unfortunately, last call came before I could get through the intoxicating list. As we departed, climbing back up the wooden, shell-covered stairs, I pinched myself, ensuring this dream bar was a real place.