Eighty-eight installations will again light up Sydney buildings, laneways and landmarks for Vivid 2017. All of that footwork will be thirsty work, so here's where to pull up a pew in at some of the best bars and restaurants in the vicinity of Vivid.
Soft Future Piano Bar Pop-Up
Beneath the sails of the Opera House, you'l find the Soft Future Piano Bar, a zero-waste pillow-strewn pop-up conjured up by Goodgod (of legendary Small Club fame) and featuring a nightly synth soundtrack, natural wines on tap and plates of charcuterie.
Sydney Opera House, vividsydney.com
The signature Ume burger at Bar Ume. Photo: Lee Tran Lam
Book a table at Bar Ume and carb-load on a Vivid Box filled with a burger, chips, Japanese pickles and matcha Mochi. From here, you can set off into the night to admire the installations in and around Barangaroo, Sydney's hottest new dining district.
Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo, umeburger.com
NOLA Smokehouse and Bar
NOLA in Barangaroo South earns bragging rights for its view over the brilliant installations around Jones Bay Wharf, Barangaroo and beyond. Nosh on barbecued Yamba shrimps while working through the 500-strong list of whiskies.
100 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo South, nolasydney.com
Escape the crowds and bunker down in historic Fort Denison for the return of its Dinner DeLights series. The experience - which costs $118 per person - includes being picked up by a private ferry and whisked across Sydney Harbour followed by a two-course meal under fairy lights.
Fort Denison, Sydney, fortdenison.com.au
V is for Vivid (yeah, we know. Sorry.) But V is also for vermouth. Perch on a leather bar stool and order up on vodka Martinis at this brightly lit vermouth bar and bistro. Do as we do and order them extra dry. And while you're at it, take a run at the suitably striking share plate of grilled prawns, curry leaf butter and pickled turmeric ($24).
33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo, banksii.sydney
Matt Moran's newly renovated two-hatted Aria Restaurant is one of the best vantage points for the Opera House and Sydney Harbour view. Try new head chef Jason Staudt's iridescent vanilla and parsnip tart, raspberries and wild hibiscus.
1 Macquarie St, Sydney, ariarestaurant.com/sydney
Make Vivid a multi-sensory experience with chef Michael Roper's set menus ($55 for two courses; $70 for three). Warm up with a walk over the Harbour Bridge after dinner at The Deck, which includes $9 parking. The adventurous can also give Ferris Wheel Dining a whirl.
1 Olympic Drive, Milson's Point, thedecksydney.com
Steel Bar and Grill
Steel Bar and Grill looked to the light festival for inspiration for its mini sliders built on colourful brioche buns (four for $20) and rainbow-layered lamington ($16). The bar is right in position opposite Martin Place.
60 Carrington St, Sydney, 9299 9997, steelbarandgrill.com
Blu Bar on 36 at the Shangri-la Hotel
View Vivid from the Blu Bar on Level 36 at the Shangri-La Hotel, with a cocktail flight inspired by the colours of Vivid Sydney and a pretty Ploughman's board with pickles ($22).
176 Cumberland St, The Rocks, 36levelsabove.com.au/blubar
The view from Club Continental at Sydney's Intercontinental Photo: Damien Ford Photography
117 + Supper Club at InterContinental Sydney
InterContinental Sydney takes its progressive dinner party to a whole new level: kicking off at 117 and finishing with Vivid-inspired cocktails at Level 32's Supper Club every Friday and Saturday night during Vivid. Cost; $139 per person. The hotel will also have a pop-up dining event in the laneway.
117 Macquarie St, Sydney, icsydney.com.au
All your cosplay fantasies will come to life over two floors, six bars and one historic courtyard for the duration of Vivid as this year's Tokyo Disco theme at The Argyle is taken to the extreme. The must-visit installation includes 120,000 LED lights, light shows and luminous lanterns.
18 Argyle St, The Rocks, theargylerocks.com
Grab a warming ramen ($10) and Sapporo beer at this neo Tokyo street food and craft beer pop-up before admiring the works of light artists from around the world. Perfect for a fast-casual pit stop.
Grosvenor Place, The Rocks, sakejr.com.au
Fuel up on espresso martinis and grab a Vivid snack box to go from the Tuxedo Bar, which is opening up a takeaway window especially for Vivid. Enjoy the artworks sculpted with light with a fried chicken slider and hot chocolate under your belt.
195 Gloucester St, The Rocks, facebook.com/tuxedo-bar
The Kerrigan at Pier One
The Kerrigan is a food truck bar parked at Pier One and is great for a crowd-free bite before wandering around the boardwalk to the city or Barangaroo. Go for crispy chook wings while watching a flotilla of fluoro-lit boats flitting around the Harbour.
11 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, Sydney, pieronesydneyharbour.com.au/the-kerrigan
Vivid nights at MCA Graze Photo: Anna Kucera
MCA Cafe and Sculpture Terrace
Join the city's illuminati on the Sculpture Terrace overlooking the ephemeral artworks around Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. Dig into the vibrant vegetable tagine inspired by Algerian artist Kader Attia's exhibition on Level 1, followed by a mug of mulled gin at the Graze MCA pop-up open throughout Vivid.
140 George St, The Rocks, mca.com.au
The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf
After venturing to Vivid, wind down at The Bar at the End of the Wharf, which has one of the best Harbour Bridge Views in town. The falafel super bowl is a new favourite.
Pier 4 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, sydneytheatre.com.au
Book dinner at three-hatted restaurant Quay and enjoy 280-degree views of Sydney's iconic buildings wrapped in custom-fitted colours. Expect executive chef Peter Gilmore's signature eight-course menu to be a complementary composition of fine dining options.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, Hickson Rd, The Rocks, quay.com.au
Viewing Vivid from inside the nation's most iconic building is dazzling. Pop in for a drink at the Bennelong Bar, which sits at the base of the Opera House Sails and boasts front-row seats of Sydney Harbour Bridge #pylonporn.
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, bennelong.com.au
The Langham Sydney
Art and colour collide at The Langham for the Vivid dining experience on May 31, which includes a cocktail on arrival and three courses painted coral blue, orange and pastel pink. Fashion illustrator Kerrie Hess will be creating a live installation during the dinner ($99 per person).
89-113 Kent St, Sydney, langhamhotels.com
Dom Perignon pop-up at Grain bar
Switched on Vivid viewers will head to spirits and cocktail bar, Grain Bar, which will glow bright green during Vivid with the return of the city's only Dom Perignon Luminous Champagne Pop-Up Bar. Impress your date with a bottle of Dom Perignon and a dozen oysters for $375.
Four Seasons Hotel, 199 George St, grainbar.com.au
A smoke fest in Martin Place
This year's line-up of mobile vendors in Martin Place is smoking hot. Follow your nose to find Porteno, LP Quality Meats and Stanbuli serving meat smoked over an open fire. The vendors will also serve some of NSW's best beverages - from Archie Rose Gin to Azure wines.
Martin Place, Sydney CBD, vividsydney.com
Enchanted Garden Bar and Eatery
Graze before gazing at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney's Enchanted Garden Bar and Eatery. Stealing the show is the Nel. restaurant pop-up serving truffle hunt chicken and bread and butter pudding.
Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney, rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/vividsydney
Have your selfie stick at the ready as you enjoy a luminous cocktail at cool Cuban bar Hacienda Sydney, before jumping the Q Dining queue to enjoy a special festival menu. There are two sittings and a special kids' menu ($12 to $16).
61 Macqaurie St, Sydney, pullmanquaygrandsydneyharbour.com
The Glenmore Hotel
Hang with a knot of locals on glow-in-the-dark furniture to enjoy the light show from above at this low-key rooftop bar with 180-degree views of the Harbour. Entry is free.
96 Cumberland St, The Rocks, theglenmore.com.au
Enjoy a bespoke menu at Billy Kwong's ($120 a head) before elbowing your way to the first-floor balcony of the Kings Cross Hotel to gawp at the Characters of Kings Cross exhibition lighting up the Coca Cola sign.
244-248 William St, Potts Point, kingscrosshotel.com.au
Australia's most prominent skyline is at its sparkly best at dusk. Taronga Zoo is lighting up the night with an illuminated trail of fully interactive animal lanterns to highlight Sydney's wild side. Expect chocolate-dipped fruit and warm beverages.
Bradley's Head, Mosman, taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo
The Tilbury Hotel
Enjoy an early bird dinner - $40 per person for one course and a glass of wine - at Woolloomooloo pub The Tilbury before joining the dots between the most popular parts of the city - from The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to Barangaroo.
12-18 Nicholson St, Woolloomooloo, tilburyhotel.com.au