Best of est | Sydney Hospitality Destinations

  • Ursula's Paddington by Brahman Perera

    Step inside four design-centric places to eat and drink by the harbour. 

    Brahman Perera, YSG Studio, Richards Stanisich and Alexander & Co. are industry leaders in hospitality design. Each has left their mark on Sydney’s booming culinary scene in the past year with new and unique design-centric venues. We begin at a whimsical restaurant in Paddington before traversing west to a moody gin bar in Surry Hills, then east to an Art-Deco-inspired pub in Woollahra. For the last leg of the tour, we cross the harbour to the Northern Beaches, where a reclaimed “mid-century warehouse above water” awaits.

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    Ursula’s Paddington by Brahman Perera | Photography by Nikki To

    Ursula’s, Paddington

    Brahman Perera

    Melbourne-based designer Brahman Perera adds another feather to his cap with Ursula’s, a whimsical fine dining experience in the heritage village of Paddington. The elegant interiors are wrapped in rich caramel and periwinkle blue and, on warm days, soaked in golden sunlight. Rounding off the space is a sumptuous blend of textures designed to soothe and delight. “This restaurant is a reminder post the pandemic that interiors have always framed our lived experiences, and in order to be enlivened we must engage all our senses,” Brahman says.

    A focused approach to furniture is demonstrated through the classic bistro-style chairs – a Brahman favourite (see Entrecôte, Prahran) – and tables draped in white cloth that reference traditional European dining spaces. Folded metal lights in varying finishes emit an ambient glow from the softly textured walls painted in the restaurant’s signature colours. Brahman’s own handmade plaster pendants drop from the ceiling like petals, creating an intimate scene over the tables.

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    Ursula’s Paddington by Brahman Perera | Photography by Nikki To

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    Ursula’s Paddington by Brahman Perera | Photography by Nikki To

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    Ursula’s Paddington by Brahman Perera | Photography by Nikki To

    Four Pillars Gin Bar

    YSG Studio

    YSG Studio’s collaboration with Australian gin company Four Pillars forms the pinnacle of the brand’s identity. Pitched as a bar (Eileen’s Bar), shop and laboratory, the project emerges as a thriving ‘gin emporium’, offering a chance to experience the brand through the different avenues of hospitality, retail and making. The immersive venue is on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Crown Street in Surry Hills, inside a two-storey brick building.

    We’re shining a spotlight on the industrial-leaning Four Pillars Gin Bar, formally named Eileen’s Bar, designed for an intimate conversation over an ice-cold three-lettered beverage. Inside, the Four Pillars identity couldn’t be more poignant. The brand’s signature deep blue (a tribute to the spirit’s star ingredient, the juniper berry) is everywhere, along with dark timber joinery. Mood-setting lights have also been specified throughout, notably gold LED strips, dim cedar lamps and moon-like linen pendants that represent the four dots on a Four Pillars bottle. A unique touch is the glass-faced timber niches in the walls (and by the ‘speakeasy’ entrance) that artfully display the hallmark fruit of the delectable spirit.

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    Four Pillars Gin Bar by YSG Studio | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Four Pillars Gin Bar by YSG Studio | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Four Pillars Gin Bar by YSG Studio | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Four Pillars Gin Bar by YSG Studio | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Four Pillars Gin Bar by YSG Studio | Photography by Anson Smart

    Woollahra Hotel

    Richards Stanisich

    A 1930s building turned public bar and restaurant; the Woollahra Hotel is a portrait of Sydney’s historic pub scene. Architecture and interior design practice Richards Stanisich have upheld the venue’s Art Deco bones with playful geometries and sculpted lines, validating that building something new should not denote paying any heed to the old.

    The new and improved Woollahra Hotel looks different from the inside and outside; steel-framed operable glazing and high-gloss teal tiles catch the attention of by-passers and greet them with open arms. Do judge this book by its cover; what you see from the street is only a glimpse of what’s waiting inside — rich browns and muted pinks; polished timber countertops and leather seats; terrazzo floors and tiled walls. The result is a classic Australian pub and a ‘salute’ to a bygone era.

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    Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich | Photography by Felix Forest

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    Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich | Photography by Felix Forest

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    Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich | Photography by Felix Forest

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    Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich | Photography by Felix Forest

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    Woollahra Hotel by Richards Stanisich | Photography by Felix Forest

    Manly Wharf Bar

    Alexander & Co.

    Sydney-based architecture and interior design studio Alexander & Co. are well versed in the hospitality design scene. Projects like Genovese Coffee House and Harbord Hotel featured here on est, reveal the studio’s knack for storytelling through an awareness of people and place.

    Manly Wharf Bar has held its post for the past 15 years; previously, it was a sports bar and bistro, and now it’s been rebranded into a bar and kitchen offering a similar laid-back coastal experience. Calling it both a “mid-century warehouse above water” and “a reclaimed coastal rumpus room”, Alexander & Co. have effectively rectified a Manly icon.

    In terms of furniture and materials, Manly Wharf Bar weaves Danish classics into its story with bent chrome and rattan chairs with peach-coloured cushioning; custom timber tabletops add a warm earthy texture to the space, setting them apart from the concrete floors and painted brick walls; the central bar is made of cork and brass, with a backdrop of glass bricks. “The venue is curious and unexpected,” says Alexander & Co. director Jeremy Bull; “it finds a sense of timelessness in the many imperfections of its handmade materiality.”

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    Manly Wharf Bar by Alexander & Co. | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Manly Wharf Bar by Alexander & Co. | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Manly Wharf Bar by Alexander & Co. | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Manly Wharf Bar by Alexander & Co. | Photography by Anson Smart

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    Manly Wharf Bar by Alexander & Co. | Photography by Anson Smart

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