Jake Smyth, co-owner of Mary's and The Unicorn Hotel, shares his top picks for where to drink and dine during the 2016 Mardi Gras.
La Grande Dame of Sydney's vibrant gay and lesbian scene – she has had a rough trot of late, but we wouldn't dream of kicking off anywhere else. Game of pool, schooners and jukebox dressed for the march. There's no better place in the world.
35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville, 02 9516 1766, imperialsydney.com.au
Ramblin' Rascal Tavern
Charlie Lehmann, Dardan Shervashidze and Sebastian Soto run one of our favourite bars in this city, and it's joyously placed around the corner from the rallying point for the march. Shoot some cognac along with the breeze and a tinnie of Melbourne Bitter. We have rigged up a bat-phone situation to Mary's CBD, so a Fairy's burger can be ordered and delivered.
60 Park Street, Sydney, facebook.com/Ramblin-Rascal-Tavern
The Cliff Dive
Here are more of our pals who know how to throw a party. They serve pina coladas in pineapples and damn cold cans of beer.
16-18 Oxford Square, Darlinghurst, thecliffdive.com.au
This pub, though some of its gloss has worn off, is a literal cornerstone of Oxford Street. The view from the windows has got to be among the best for the march.
117-125 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9360 2151, colombian.com.au
Brighton Up Bar
We have been here to see both our brothers play and it holds special memories for us. For romance alone, we would sink a beer, have a peer and grab a long neck from the Lick-Her Shop down below.
1/77 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9361 3379, brightonupbar.com.au
If you haven't been asked to leave this joint, then you would never have made it this far anyway. Front and centre to the action at Taylor Square, it will be a battle to get in, but worth it for the people-watching alone.
189 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9360 4831, courthousehotel.com.au
This Must Be the Place
Aha. We aren't made of schooners and crisps after all. Undoubtedly some of the best cocktail minds in the city. And try the Cuca mussels on toast while you're here.
239 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, 02 9331 8063, tmbtp.com.au
The Unicorn Hotel
Sorry. We have to do this – because we would be there, if we could somehow pause our Mardi Gras float of beauties and part the peopled seas to the front door of our new joint. At The Unicorn Hotel, there would be some cold red wine for me, a cider for Ali and a shared plate of chops. Love is blindness and tastes like the above.
106 Oxford Street, Paddington, 02 9360 7994
10 William Street
One of our favourite places in the whole wide world. The world-class wine list, a portion of which seems to anger some as the bar offers it by the glass. How quaint. But seriously, 10 William has a roster of headliner chefs and the type of hospitality that still makes our head spin. The whipped 'bottarga' pretzel is a staple.
Heaps Gay x Bearded Tit After Party @ The Captain Cook Hotel
After the march has ended, the party hasn't even finished – it's getting started. This will be where we kick off the stilettos and kick off the rest of the night. The founder of Heaps Gay is our old pal Kat Dopper and it will be a family affair here at the Captain Cook Hotel. Vive la difference!
1/162 Flinders Street, Paddington, 02 9360 4327. See Facebook event info for more details.
To coincide with Mardi Gras Week, Mary's is reviving its "Fairy's Burger". For an extra dollar, you can have your burger topped with hundreds and thousands – a tribute to the rainbow flag. Each dollar will be matched by Mary's owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham, with proceeds donated to charity. This option will be available at Mary's Newtown, 6 Mary Street, Newtown; Mary's CBD, 154 Castlereagh Street, Sydney and The Unicorn Hotel, 106 Oxford Street, Paddington.