Your food and drink guide for Vivid Sydney 2018

It’s here! Vivid Sydney has begun for another year, stepping up to its now globally renowned reputation with a massive celebration of light, music and ideas. There’s so much going on from now until the 16th June so we’ve put together a quick food and drink guide to keep handy while you’re out and about. These are some exclusive happenings during Vivid, official or not, that you should definitely be aware of while you swing around the various different precincts (which extends to Luna Park for the first time this year).

Bombay Sapphire’s Glow-in-the-Dark Bar

Bombay Sapphire are working with the MCA on a pop-up bar on the museum’s rooftop Sculpture Terrace to run throughout Vivid, opening up each Wed, Fri and Sat night with a multi-sensory experience of light projections and precious alcohol, including a Winter Warmer cocktail made with ginger, chocolate butter and Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino vermouth, as well as a Chocolate & Roses negroni.

Where: 140 George Street, The Rocks
When: Throughout Vivid

Mr Black Caffeine Festival

Sure it’s not official a Vivid Sydney event but since it’s taking place this weekend over at the Overseas Passenger Terminal you’d be well advised to pair up your light walk with some espresso martinis. Kicking off Friday and wrapping up on Sunday, the event led by award-winning coffee liqueur brand Mr Black, will be chockers with everyone coffee and alcohol you can think of, with some of the country’s best suppliers, cafes and bars coming along for the ride. Salts Meats Cheese will be providing some antipasti and Johnny Bird are taking care of the fried chicken so you’re guaranteed a good feast.

Where: Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks
When: Friday 25 to Sunday 27th May
Tickets: $30 + bf

Pier One Sydney Harbour Igloos

Credit: Alana Dimou

Lush hotel Pier One Sydney Harbour met with great success when they popped up some cool AF igloos on the pier at Walsh Bay for Vivid Sydney last year. They’re bringing that back this year, kicking off on May 25th and extending far beyond the festival, wrapping up at the end of winter on August 31st. They’ve even got a “hot tub igloo” this year which fits a max of five people iwth hire including bathrobes, slippers and access to a change room plus food and drink. All igloos are able to be booked but minimum spends apply, plus if you really want to go all out you can take advantage of their “Igloo Suite Package” which comes with a luxury suite and a private igloo on the balcony for up to 8 friends.

Where: Walsh Bay, 11 Hickson Rd, Sydney
When: Friday 25th May to Friday 31st August

Chatswood’s Light Market

Every single night of Vivid Sydney will see the Chatswood Interchange transform into a night market from 5:30pm. The central square will highlight 20 food stalls, each built from recycled materials, hosting some of Sydney’s best vendors including Newtown’s Mary’s, Black Star Pastry, and Enmore’s Cow & The Moon.

Where: Chatswood Interchange; 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
When: Nightly from 5:30pm

Cake Wines

Redfern’s beloved Cake Wines are once again heading into their Vivid Sydney collaboration with a number of events spanning art, music and culture, hosting everything from neo-jazz and deep techo to wine festivals and more, all at their urban Cellar Door.

Where: 16 Eveleigh St, Redfern
When: Throughout Vivid Sydney

Enlightenment Feasts at The Calyx

The Royal Botanic Garden will be one of the major stops on the light walk this year, and if you head on a little bit further into the impeccable landscape you will find that the on-site restaurant and event space, The Calyx, has something special planned for this year. “Enlightenments Feasts” will take up two nights of Vivid Sydney, combining cocktails and thematic food experiences with evocative performances and special guests speakers, like a visual strategists for NASA and an Intelligence Specialist. The best learning involves cocktails.

Where: The Calyx; Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney
When: Sat 26th May + Sat 2nd June
Tickets: From $150

Cupcake ATM

A cotton candy coloured cupcake dispensary-slash-ATM has popped up along the Royal Botanic Gardens light walk, inspired by the surprisingly popular trend of similar machines dotted around New York. Either red velvet or chocolate banana cupcakes are available from the hole-in-the-wall ATM, which come from Sparkle Cupcakery in collaboration with Wats On Events. Cupcakes are $7 a pop.

Where: Royal Botanic Garden
When: Throughout Vivid


Making full use of their position as one of the main food precincts in Darling Harbour, the Harbourside building will be rounding up some of their most popular restaurant residents with $30 Vivid special menus available for lunch and dinner. That extends to the likes of Dragon Boat, The Port, Kazbah, Hurricane’s, Cyren Bar Grill Seafood, Zaaffran and Rashay’s. That’s not a bad way to break up your walk around Darling Harbour at all.

Where: 231/2-10 Darling Dr, Sydney
When: Throughout Vivid


There’s going to be all types of strange happenings down at Wulugul Walk along the Streets of Barangaroo this year. Continuing on from the success of last year, the waterfront precinct will have a bunch of oddities walking around, including a six-metre tall puppet named Marri Dyin, emitting light and sound inspired by water, earth and fire every night from 6pm – 9pm. While there you’re going to want to know where to eat, and luckily there’s a whole bunch of Vivid specials around Barangaroo throughout the event.

Many of the eateries will be extending their trading hours, and there will be a few exclusive surprises like a flaming orange winter spice cocktail of Ord River rum and cinnamon at, weekend glow-in-the-dark fairy floss at Banksii, and Vivid Sydney butterfly pea flower tea at The Rabbit Hole. The beloved Devon Café will be debuting some ice cream sandwiches from a specialised cart during Vivid, and Belles Hot Chicken will have a special Vivid Lightbox offering featuring two drumsticks and fries to takeaway.

For more info check the website below.

Where: Barangaroo
When: Throughout Vivid

Pullman Quay Grand Circular Quay

With their enviable location, Pullman Quay Grand at Circular Quay will be using their two very fine food and bev venues to pump out some Vivid specials. If you’re heading along to the hotel’s resident Q Dining then expect a special Vivid set menu with 3 courses for $79 per head ($109 with wines), with options like pepper crusted lamb rump, and a meringue with wattleseed cream, passionfruit sorbet, pomegranate, orange and mint salad.

If casual drinking is more your thing, the property’s immensely popular Cuban inspired bar Hacienda will have a specially made Vivid themed cocktail going alongside their regular offerings. This one will have Vodka, lemon juice, lavender syrup, raspberry syrup, blue pea flower and edible flowers, finished by lighting the passionfruit garnish on fire.

Where: 61 Macquarie St, Sydney
When: Throughout Vivid

SouthTrade’s Cocktail Trail

Even SouthTrade International are getting in on the Vivid action this year, partnering up some of Sydney’s best bars to create a nice little cocktail trail of bespoke concoctions. That means a special Starwood infused Baked Apple Sour at The Doss House, a Tito’s inspired Lafayette Highball at Nola, a 78 Degrees Gin lavender-infused Vivid Cocktail at Zephyr, a “Stars in Their Eyes” at Three Bottle Man, a “Vivid Dreams” at Customs House, and a special take on an Old Fashioned with chocolate, black walnut and orange bitters at Four Seasons’ Grain Bar.

Keep these ones in mind if you’re popping in and out of the above bars, you’re going to need the energy if you want to see all Vivid has to offer.

Where: Various
When: Throughout Vivid

O Bar & Dining

Head on up to spectacular lounge that is O Bar & Dining and you’ll be greeted with staff wearing fluorescent shoes and serving up their regular menu alongside a special Vivid cocktail, one of which is named Limelight made in collaboration with Four Pillars with dry gin, campari, a three-citrus extract, kaffir lime leaf and soda. Grab two of those and you’ll get yourself a complimentary tapas plate.

Where: Australia Square, 264, level 47 George St
When: Throughout Vivid

Rockpool Dining Group

Throughout Vivid numerous Rockpool Dining Group restaurants will be making full use of their prime locations to offer a few Vivid inspired specials. Rosetta will be doing up a two-course Vivid set menu for $49, they’ll be plenty of new burgers to check out at the newly opened Burger Project Black Label (including Neil Perry’s famous Rockpool burger), and Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour will be opened just in time with guests able to grab themselves a take-away picnic basket.

There’s plenty on offer so head along to their website for more information

Where: Various
When: Throughout Vivid

Milk N Sugar

After the successful launch of Milk N Sugar last year, the artisan dessert-only food festival is back this year, once again setting up at Overseas Passenger Terminal for the weekend of 8th to 10th June. As it coincides with Vivid Sydney, last year’s debut was unsurprisingly popular – especially with it’s $2 entry fee – and this year is expected to take that up a notch with more collaborations from some of the city’s biggest names.

Koi Dessert Bar is probably the biggest name on the short but sweet lineup and they’ll be doing a tonka bean mandarin mousse with a brownie base. Others scheduled for the sugar rush include Fluffy Crunch with scoops of ice cream topped with Froot Loops and rainbow dust and then rolled up in fairy floss (yeah, OTT is the order here), Bianco Kitchen with hand chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick, Bar Coco with crunchy golden churro burgers, Hungary Bites with light-up doughnut cones, and Arancini Guy with dessert arancini balls. Others jumping on board include Donut Papi, Torch Me Brulee, Diego’s Donuts, Khao San, Brooklyn Boys Bagels and Stroop Brothers.

Where: Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay
When: 8th to 10th June, 6pm-11pm

Feature image credit: Steve Christo


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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