Fraser Short, Merivale among Opera Bar contenders

Scott Bolles
Putting his hand up: Fraser Short.
Putting his hand up: Fraser Short. 

As the race for the Sydney Opera House's highly lucrative Opera Bar enters the final straight, Sydney's heavy hitters are jockeying for the prize.

Interestingly, they are almost all busy expanding elsewhere.

Fraser Short put up his hand for Opera Bar, but has also moved on a site at Bridge Street, in the Moran Group building next to Rockpool and Fratelli Fresh, where he's planning a restaurant.

Short says there are several hurdles before it gets the final green light, but the project's vision is grand, with a massive 270 seats.

Another Opera Bar hopeful, Merivale, is opening new venues from Paddington to the massive Coogee Pavilion.

Even the Opera Bar incumbent has taken on the food at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Who else has thrown their hat in the Opera Bar ring? Word is Keystone Group has, as well as John Szangolies, the man behind Sake and Ananas restaurants and the Bavarian Beer Cafes. Expect a photo finish.