When your DIY cocktail-making skills are no longer cutting it at home, make a break across the city to these top new bars around town.
If you're seeking a bar for the ultimate special occasion, look no further than the recently opened Parlar. Sitting pretty next to its French sibling, Franca, restaurateur Andrew Becher's Catalonian fine-dining haven exudes warmth and sophistication.
Parlar means "to talk" in Catalan and its marble bar is the place to be for civilised chit-chat over refined bar snacks such as Iberico jamon or bacalao croquette with sturgeon caviar.
Parlar's $240 seafood platter for two. Photo: Jude Cohen
For longer conversation, sink into the honey-toned booths and order more substantial items such as MBS9 Jack's Creek wagyu or a crema Catalana.
Signature cocktails and an extensive wine list showcase the best drops across Spain and the Mediterranean.
81 Macleay Street, Potts Point, parlar.com.au
Bondi Beach Public Bar has been reborn as a Greek-inspired bar. Photo: James Alcock
Tired of your friends Instagramming from Greece? A trip to bar-restaurant Topikos on Bondi Beach might just cure you.
Bring the whole gang (families are catered for with great kids' options) and go large on the meze menu. All the classics are there, from taramasalata with salmon pearls to saganaki.
Melapita baked Greek cheesecake at Topikos. Photo: James Alcock
If you're ready for a feast, take advantage of the woodfire oven, pumping out whole wood-roasted calamari, or chicken with honey and hummus.
Drinks are easy to navigate here, with a curated list of mainly Greek and Australian wines alongside signature cocktails.
For something tropical, bright and tart, try a Sunshine Sour with Ron Zacapa rum, apricot, pineapple, fresh lime and banana. If clean and bracing is more your style, try an All Rhodes Lead to Bondi with Tanqueray gin, pear, fino, fresh lemon and almond.
180 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, topikos.com.au
The main bar at Hickson House. Photo: Tom Yau
The reputable gin distillery and bar Hickson House are now open in the heritage-listed Metcalfe Bond Stores down in The Rocks.
Gin lovers can visit the main bar, as well as the more intimate "high and dry bar" perched above, and taste top gins alongside whiskies and other spirits.
Pearl martinis, salt-roasted split prawns and oysters at Hickson House. Photo: Tom Yau
With more than 19 gin cocktails to choose from, getting the full Hickson House experience will certainly take more than one visit.
The food menu elevates classics with Australian ingredients and the occasional touch of juniper, such as a kangaroo tartare with horseradish and Vegemite on toast, or a slow-roast lamb shoulder with juniper jus and mint gremolata.
6 Hickson Road, Dawes Point, hicksonhouse.com.au
The comfortably genteel surrounds at The Rover. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Coming off Campbell Street in Surry Hills and into the buzz of The Rover (previously The Wild Rover) feels like stepping into a Manhattan bar.
The exposed brick walls and moody lighting is all part of the facelift given to the space by the Liquid and Larder group (Bistecca, Grandma's).
Standover Man and No-Groni cocktails at The Rover. Photo: Edwina Pickles
The menu hints at old-world New York, with Irish-leaning cocktails featuring Irish coffee, or an apple crumble cocktail that includes Jameson whiskey, cloudy apple juice and lemon, with a cute little shortbread biscuit on the side.
Those who knew Rover in its past life won't be disappointed, with perfectly formed sausage rolls still gracing the menu.
Executive chef Pipp Pratt has devoted some of the new, grown-up menu to a revolving selection of oysters, and other seafood delights such as raw scallops and caviar.
75 Campbell Street, Surry Hills, liquidandlarder.com.au
Sydney's first concept martini bar Bar Planet opened in April. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Come for the psychedelic terrazzo counter made by the king of mosaic himself, David Humpheries, setting the tone with comets and stars gleaming in the candle light.
Dirty martinis are the drink of choice across Sydney. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Stay for the martinis, ordered on their nifty "how you like it!" card. Vodka or gin? Wet or dry? With a twist or an olive? Tick your preferred box.
Martinis are also created with their exclusive "mother spirit", made in collaboration with local Distiller Poor Tom's from heritage apples. .
Beyond martinis, it's worth visiting for their weekly Scorpino – a refreshing Italian invention combining sorbet (house-made, of course), vodka and prosecco. Revolving sorbet flavours such as mandarin and basil, spiced plum, and watermelon and lime leaf will have you coming back for more.
16 Enmore Road, Newtown, barplanet.com.au
La Salut completes a European triumvirate for the Love Tilly Group. Photo: Wolter Peeters
The Love Tilly Group has nailed the recipe for opening wine bars time and time again. Their most recent project is Bar La Salut, which opened in Redfern last year.
Savvy sommeliers share their passion for vermouth and Spanish wine varieties, all paired with a small but perfectly formed tapas selection.
Don't skimp on ordering a dessert wine with their signature cheesecake topped with blood orange, and soaked with vermouth and olive oil.
305 Cleveland Street, Redfern, barlasalut.com