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Table for two?

How will I know? Now that our favourite restaurants and bars are reopening, we've round up our favourite venues in Sydney for vetting a potential paramour.


A Test Of Attention

3 Dalley St, CBD

Bistecca Sydney

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they order a steak, and even more, if that steak is ordered at Bistecca, about the scope of their addiction to their devices. If you manage to locate the intimate CBD bistro you’ll find a small 50-seat room with an open hearth, a menu that celebrates Tuscany’s revered cut of steak (bistecca alla Fiorentina), negronis on tap, edible candles (made from beef drippings) and an invitation to leave phones in a lockable draw dedicated to your table. If the conversation’s easy, you’re welcome in advance. Should your date begin to display an intense physical aversion towards the prospect of a few hours sans phone, delete their number post-meal, and you’re welcome in advance.


I Like The Way You Move

107-109 Regent St, Chippendale

Freda's Sydney

“Dancing: the vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalised by music.” Because you can only sit for so long. Aside from the obvious health benefits that come from moving your body, dancing is a great way of getting to know someone in a close physical proximity. And if your desire is to spend a moment in rhythm with another person, neighbourhood party bar Freda’s is the converted warehouse dance floor of your dreams. Come for the Italo disco, stay for the Ethiopian jazz, leave only when the after-party beckons (whatever that looks like for you).


Game On

Frankie’s Pizza
50 Hunter St, CBD

Frankie's Pizza

Frankie’s Pizza is synonymous with many things. Those red and white checked tablecloths, pizza by the slice, karaoke Tuesdays and that concealed whisky room. But what you’ve really come here for is the wall lined with various vintage pinball machines – because nothing elicits one’s true character quite like a little competition. Grab a beer at the bar, sidle up to your machine of choice and allow the ensuing scores to dictate the mood. Sure, winning is the aim, but we’re much more interested in watching how you lose.


Crowd Control

Arcadia Liquors
7 Cope St, Redfern

Arcadia Liquors Redfern

So they want to meet your friends? Assemble your unit at Redfern’s Western saloon meets local pub, Arcadia Liquors, where the outdoor courtyard provides plenty of scope for scene changes should you need to engage a rescue mission at short notice. But for the most part it’s the ideal blend of casual and raucous – enjoy an obligatory beer or two with your nearest and dearest before bailing into the night, or drink whisky sours ’til the bitter end and let your friends run wild with inappropriately probing questions. The place fills up quickly but that’s half the fun of being there. It’s like Fitzgerald wrote, “I love big parties. They’re so intimate.”


To Be Alone With You

Love, Tilly Devine
91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst

Love, Tilly Devine Sydney

For when you don’t want to be seen. Whether it’s early days or you still haven’t quite made up your mind, there’s nothing worse than making a date and then running into the entire neighbourhood. Discretion is the name of the game at Love, Tilly Devine, a back alley wine bar in Darlinghurst, where the tables are for two, the wine list is 300-strong and the staff are on hand to assist should you desire (and, importantly, leave you be when you don’t). Take your glass with a side of toast laden with shiitake and ricotta, or nature’s original aphrodisiac – the oyster – and linger for as little or long as you want.