Vivid festival 2014: best places to eat and drink

17:00, Jun 01 2014
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An image of butterflies is projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House, reflected in a hotel window on the opening night of the Vivid Sydney light and music festival.
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A floral image is projected on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
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Giant inflatable rabbits are pictured on the foreshore of Sydney harbour.
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Parents and children jump on lights that change colour once stepped on.
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A colourful pattern is projected onto the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art.
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The sails of the Sydney Opera House resemble fish scales.
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A woman's face is projected in a live image on an art sculpture resembling a head.

Vivid, Sydney's favourite festival of light, music, art and ideas, is in full throttle across the city.

If you're keen to make a night of it, there are plenty of pop-ups, food stalls and events happening as part of the program, which runs until June 9.

Here's a rundown.

Vivid Sydney
UP IN LIGHTS: Eat, drink and see the sights of Vivid in Sydney.

Wild Porteno

Porteno's Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz are set to grill up a storm at Modulations, a four-day music, art and food collaboration running as part of Vivid from June 6 to 8 at Redfern's Carriageworks.

Ticketed events include performances from the Pet Shop Boys, The Presets and Liars, but Porteno's pop-up bar and grill is open to all throughout the program. The charcoal grill will be out in force with brisket and barbecued chicken wings.


Wild Porteno culminates on Monday, June 9, with lamb on the grill and a music program in conjunction with LA-based Wild Records. From midday you can shake it to rock'n'roll from The Delta Bombers, Gizzelle, and Luis and the Wildfires.

Carriageworks, 235 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. Entry is free to the Wild Porteno pop-up except for the Monday when tickets are $49.90+bf and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Opera Bar

The ever-popular Opera Bar has been transformed into the Garden of Neon for Vivid. Complementing the Opera House projection artwork, the harbourside bar has been decked out with an interactive art wall, neon lights and lots of lush green things.

One-off cocktails for the festival include the Neon Paradise (citrus vodka, pomegranate syrup, fresh lime, grapefruit juice, and passionfruit) and the Forbidden Fruit (vodka, lychees, blue curacao, cranberry juice, and lemon-lime soda).

Light projections kick-off at 6pm each evening and conclude at midnight.

The Argyle

Over in The Rocks, The Argyle's pub courtyard is zapped to life each evening with an installation featuring over 3200 lights and performers in Tron costumes.

Dance music enthusiasts can take in the light show with an LED light cocktail designed for Vivid. The cocktail, made with vodka and a green apple liqueur, is served in a take-home cocktail glass featuring an LED light in the stem. From June 5 to 7, Argyle will host live DJ sets from Phil Hudson, Yogi, The Owl and Tom Chivalry Dance.

18 Argyle Street, The Rocks.

Martin Place

Eat Art, Agape Organic, Bite Sized Delights, and Cantina Mobil have parked the trucks elsewhere and set up stalls in Martin Place for each day of the festival.

Joining them are Woofy's traditional Aussie barbecue, Poklol Korean barbecue, and Gelato Messina who are rocking a range of Psychedelic Psundaes - the Trifley Trippy looks a treat with vanilla gelato, red wine jellies, strawberry puree, vanilla-infused peaches and strawberry soaked sponge.

Not to be missed is Jafe Jaffles, one of the city's newest food trucks: the jaffles are brilliant and the menu puns are Sydney's finest. You might like a "Jafael Nadal" with roast pumpkin, quinoa, feta, marjoram and mayonnaise on a wholemeal, or the "Bob Pork" with Japanese chashu pork belly, cabbage and mayonnaise

. The CTA building in the MLC centre has been transformed from a concrete mushroom to a living tree via some fine projection work. There's also a A$10 Vivid hamper of Italian delicacies from the Salt Meats Cheese MLC pop-up so you can picnic under the "tree" in style. Or maybe just grab a bench somewhere...

MLC Centre, 19 Martin Place, Sydney

North Sydney

The Deck at Luna Park offers some killer views of the harbour for your Vivid experience.  Best of all is that diners receive a complimentary pass to ride the Luna Park ferris wheel, and if you visit Sunday to Thursday you can take a drink from the Deck Bar up there with you.

Other restaurants with swell vantage points are Ripples at Milson's Point (1 Olympic Drive, Milson's Point) and Aqua Dining above the North Sydney Olympic Pool.

MCA Cafe and The Theatre Bar

The Light Trail Walk around the harbour foreshore is great way to take in the many dimensions of Vivid. Start at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cafe and Sculpture Terrace (140 George Street, The Rocks).

This is one the best spots to take all the lights Circular Quay has to offer and they're putting on some Vivid-inspired cocktails from 6pm, Thursday to Sunday, during the festival.

At the other end of the Light Trail is The Theatre Bar at The End of the Wharf in Walsh Bay. These guys have also created some one-off Vivid cocktails and are open late every night except Sunday. The perfect place for a post-walk chicken katsu slider or jug of sangria.

Food with a view

Sydney has a number of restaurants providing wish-you-were-here views all year round, but they also offer amazing vantage points during Vivid. Quay (Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks) and Aria (1 Macquarie Street, Sydney ) are the two big-hitters on opposite sides of Circular Quay.

There's also Sailor's Thai at 106 George Street, The Rocks, and Cafe Sydney in Customs House. The rooftop bar at The Glenmore (96 Cumberland Street, The Rocks) is a top spot at dusk when the sun sets and the lights come on.