EAT & DRINK - The last days of summer are upon us, here are our favourite gelato spots in Eastside

We are loving the last rays of sunshine as summer comes to an end and there is no better way to put off the inevitable than tucking into a sweet cool gelato. Eastside has a few delicious spots to stop and browse the flavours, here are some of our favourites.

  1. Messina Gelato

Landmark gelato royalty Messina have two locations in Eastside - in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. Staples include tangy lemon, dark chocolate and salted caramel but as seasons change new selections are added. We are loving The Hello Sailor pink grapefruit and Aperol sorbet, a perfect way to cool off on a sticky Sydney afternoon.

2. Rivareno Gelato

Darlinghurst post dinner haunt, Rivareno is the place you go once you’ve wrapped up a boozy dinner on Crown street or looking to refresh after a morning of trawling the Surry Hills Markets and Oxford Street boutiques. They make their gelato fresh daily and you can watch the churning process as you wait. Available in indulgent tubs to take home, don’t mind if we do!

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3. Andersons of Denmark - 1A Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point

These Danish legends have been quietly churning away their high quality gelato and ice cream in Potts Point for a number of years and the tantalising smell of cones regularly wafts down Macleay St. We love their rich, chewy Danish nougat flavour, the ideal sweet treat.

EAT & DRINK - Brix Distillers are tipping their hats to Australia's original rum rebellion

Two hundred years ago Australian men were paid not in money but in rum. In Surry Hills there is a bar paying homage to the wild old days in the form of Brix Distillers. An authentic rum distillery and bar, mixing the art of rum creation with a delicious and perfectly curated local produce menu.

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Delivering the whole package, food, booze, tours and education, Brix opens its doors to everyone who wants to learn the secrets of rum distilling. Working with their expert distillers to create your very own barrel of rum makes you a bona fide Sydney-sider!.

They’re also open for events, functions and tours but if you are just wanting to check it out for the first time then get down to Bourke Street for a Latin inspired tasting plate and the freshest selection of rum around.

ART & DESIGN - Contemporary on Crown opens its doors for their first exhibitions

There’s a new gallery in town and they have opened their latest exhibit with Rex Turnbull. Contemporary on Crown is the latest modern art space in Eastside and is already making waves across the art community.

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New Zealand born painter Rex Turnbull is best known for his strong narrative based work and distinct combinations or portrait and landscape, exploring the relationships between people and their environment. Using soft colours and suggestive style his work is seemingly clear and yet open to varied interpretations. This latest exhibit is something to truly look forward to.

In addition to Rex the gallery is also home to experimental photographer Tim Laffey whose work, in his words ”is both impressionist and spiritual in nature, and [I] am seeking to transcend the image as a photo into something broader – an exploration of light and atmosphere. Not just a mere topographical representation, but to embrace the joy and beauty of light. For me, it is to think without words.”

If you are on the pulse of contemporary art then this is a venue which you will want to know about. Keep an eye on their Facebook page or the website linked above for all their updates and events.

EVENTS - That's a wrap! Oxtravaganza makes a splash over the weekend.

After a wet weekend Oxtravaganza is done and dusted! Eastside was awash in glitter, music and laughter as the third annual Oxtravaganza kicked off!

The marketplace was colourful and bright in Foley Street and as the day progressed Oxford Street ramped up the action! We had Sax Fetish and their Naked Barber pulling the crowds and the stunning musical performance from Cherry Earhart rang out strong.

Wayside Chapel had the most delicious treats on sale outside Ariel Bookstore. Darlinghurst Primary School had their “love darlo” stall up and running. Swim and undies models braved the rainy weather. And our very own, favourite Queen, Maxi Shield was spruiking outside ACON in a warm up before her show later at The Oxford. Around the corner in Bourke St bikes were being pimped (Lekker Bikes), rainbow cakes served (Christophers Cakes), DJ’s and BBQ’s were warming up (Lumiere Cafe) and rum cocktails were on the menu (BRIX Distillery).

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Oxtravaganza ambassador Sheldon Riley was wandering up and down the event popping in and out of shops, with a quick performance here and there. He was glowing after being given the rockstar treatment at Kryolan and this showed up beautifully as he posed for pictures outside Cork and Canvas for their fingerprinted Pride Tree.

If you didn’t make it to Oxtravaganza this year then don’t worry they will be back in 2020, bigger and better than ever. If you are a business who would like to participate next year then let the organisers know by emailing info@oxtravaganza.com.au.

PEOPLE - An Interview with Sheldon Riley, Oxtravaganza Ambassador.

Sheldon Riley is Australia’s rising star. The 19 year old from the Gold Coast has been making waves since his debut on The Voice in 2018 and is now stepping out as the Ambassador for Oxtravaganza, the street party and community event for the Mardi Gras Festival. We caught up with Sheldon in the lead up to the event to get the lowdown on what Mardi Gras means to him and what his dreams are for young LGBTIQ performers.

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EastSide : What does Mardi Gras mean to you? Have you been involved before?

Sheldon Riley : Mardi Gras means the world to me! “I knew about it when I was a kid but my family didn't really acknowledge it…it was my secret pleasure, and this year is the first year that I’m going to be involved. I am going to be celebrating coming out as myself!”

ES : Since finishing The Voice in 2018, you have been working non-stop and it sounds like you have some big plans in the works (still under wraps). What has been your biggest win so far? And whats the biggest lesson you have learned?

SR : “For me personally, the biggest win was being accepted into the LGBTIQ+ community. I initially thought that I would walk in dressed this way and people would be angry at me, like I looked too much like a stereotype… but I have totally been embraced as the alter ego of so many LGBT people!”

“And my biggest lesson has been to see the amount of work this entails and the huge amount of behind the scenes effort for what can be just a one minute performance”

ES: Whats happening for you in 2019 and is the world ready for Sheldon Riley?

SR: “The world better be ready for Sheldon!!… for 2019 I want to reveal more of myself. I may shock people, but I am definitely going to be bringing something bigger than ever! There’s an element of surprise from Sheldon Riley this coming year."

ES: Oxtravaganza is a way of bringing the Darlinghurst and Surry Hills community and their businesses together, there are some amazing things in the works on the day. Models and drag queens on the street, naked barbers and rainbow cakes to name a few, what are you most looking forward to?

SR: I am excited to see people who don't do this every day dress up have fun and live Mardi Gras their way…people becoming their alter-selves and celebrate who they are at Mardi Gras. Throw away those work shirts and get the glitter and nipple tassels happening!”

ES: Oxtravaganza supports the youth charity Twenty10. What do you think about the work the Twenty10 does? Have you had experience with this kind of community/service?

SR : “Seriously Twenty10 is one of the most important organisations that there can be. I’ve been there and carried a burden - the same one that kids live with every day. Just to know that there’s someone who takes time out to say  ‘Hey I’m here’, its amazing.”

I have used helplines before, I felt like i didn't belong. And I know there’s nothing more powerful than knowing that someone is out there fighting the  same battles that your are.”

The Oxtravaganza lineup is now up on the website and packed with plenty of opportunities to meet Sheldon, hear him perform and hear his story. For all the details head to the website!

STYLE - Oxtravaganza is the place to be for the local makers and creatives.

Not only are Foley Street and Oxford Square being activated for Oxtravaganza, the East Sydney Community Arts Centre will be hosting a locals clothing swap! The Clothing Exchange will be supporting sustainability from 3pm at the Community Centre on Burton Street in Darlinghurst. Starting at 3pm it’s the perfect addition to your Oxtravaganza plans! We recommend bringing 8 pieces of clothes to swap.

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For the marketplace on Foley Street we will have some amazing businesses showing their stylish and quirky designs. Oleu Life will be there with some intoxicating natural oils and therapies, whilst Scallywag Society will have a range of repurposed cushions and bags.

12pm will see Grace Grove Band kicking off the day with their soul and RnB groove, which will be driven home by local rising star Cherry Earhart from 2pm. If you are a fan of local music then make sure you are around for these sets.

For all event details of Oxtravaganza head to the website.

ART - Queer Art After Hours... don't neglect your creativity this Mardi Gras

If you are craving some creativity in your life then get amongst the amazing partnership between Mardi Gras and the Art Gallery of NSW. At this year's Queer Art After Hours, Mardi Gras is celebrating queer tattoos. The project is discussing a number of questions like, Is it a phenomenon with a unified queer aesthetic? Do tattoos created by and for queer people have meanings and traditions that break from the tattooing mainstream? Or are there no categories or boundaries (and that is actually the point)? Overall exploring the complex language and significance of tattoos in our queer communities.

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They are collecting images of queer tattoos as well as looking for six fearless people to participate in Queer Tattoos, a living display of queer tattoos at Queer Art After Hours at the Art Gallery of NSW on Wed 27 Feb, 2019.  If you have some ink to share you can simply tag your images with #queerarttattoos.

Add this event to your Mardi Grad Calendar and for all the details head to the official Mardi Gras website.

EAT & DRINK - The Beauchamp Hotel is having $6 Aperol Spritz for Oxtravaganza

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The Beauchamp Hotel is gearing up for Oxtravaganza by making our mouths water. They have announced their special Oxtravaganza deal of $6.00 Aperol Spritz until 7pm on the 23rd of February! If your weeks are filled with dreams of sparkles and fizzing fresh cocktails, then make sure Oxtravaganza is in the diary, there will be drinks deals around the whole precinct.

For all the event details and a full program check out the official website!

EVENTS - Mardi Gras is about to kick off and Eastside has already started to sparkle.

Being around Eastside it’s hard not to notice Mardi Gras building up around us. From rainbow pedestrian crossings to sparkling ATMS. Each year our neighbourhoods explode with love for our LGBTIQ+ family and weekends are punctuated with wild drinks parties, colourful creative activities and the song and dance of our unique diverse community.

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Each year Eastside is set alight by our LGBTIQ+ community, our shop fronts explode with colour, the streets double in foot traffic and the official parade closes down most of Sydney. If you are looking for what Sydney city looks and sounds like when everyone comes together in the name of love and acceptance then Mardi Gras is where you need to be.

The official program is live and free for everyone to take a look at, featuring activations and events all over the city, there is something for family, friends, visitors and locals. Get a copy here and start mapping out your Mardi Gras for 2019.

ART - Cork and Canvas are taking bookings for their Mardi Gras Activation 'Paint Your Queen'

Darlinghurst’s art and wine collective Cork and Canvas have pulled out all the stops to deliver a stellar activation for the 2019 Mardi Gras celebrations and Oxtravaganza on the 23rd of February. Titled Paint Your Queen Canvas Night you will have the opportunity to put pen to paper and pay homage to your favourite member of the LGBTIQ+ community, there’s no better way to capture the Mardi Gras moment!

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There will be a special guest performance from the amazing Diabolique, who has come all the way from New York City. This one of experience comes at the same time as the highly anticipated Oxtravaganza. Make sure you stay tuned to the event’s Facebook page for all the details on what’s happening near you.

So call up your friends, get a group going and come on down to Cork and Canvas for the night of your life.

COMMUNITY - Oxtravaganza is live!

The community is buzzing with the news that Oxtravaganza is now launched and live. If you didn’t make it to the official launch party last week then here is all the info for you!

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Oxtravaganza is held on the 23rd of February throughout Oxford Street and the Darlinghurst area and is a way for local businesses to activate their shops and get amongst the Mardi Gras spirit. The event is an official part of the Mardi Gras program and includes pretty much all of your favourites. Sax Fetish will be hosting their infamous Naked Barber, Pearsons Florist is showing off with stunning rainbow bouquets and the East Sydney Arts and Community Centre will be hosting drag yoga.

There is something for the whole family and with the party continuing into the night, there is no excuse for everyone in Eastside to not get involved. If you want all the info as well as the official program and a way to get in contact with the organisers visit their official website.

STYLE - Eastside's Historic Department Stores

Sydney is a first class city, with some of the most iconic buildings in the world and home to true trailblazers in fashion, design, music and business. There is a history of style and innovation written on the walls of our historic city.

In times gone by families would make the long trip by train or coach into the CBD for a special occasion… visiting the department store. Before there was a Target, H&M and Sephora on every corner, Sydney’s department stores were a haven for beautiful designs, luxurious tea and cocktails; level upon level of sumptuous and unique styles from around the world. Forget fast-fashion it was the Mark Foys fur section and the Gowing’s cocktail lounge that made Sydney a true destination.

Here are some images of the good old days of Sydney’s most stylish department stores including David Jones and Grace Bros.

STYLE - Best places to shop without sticking to trends

There’s never been a better time for a new wardrobe! If you’re looking to invest in some more quality one-off pieces which never age then we have a few Eastside favourites in mind.

Darlinghurst’s Southwest Trader is the perfect place for those stunning accessories that everyone comments on when you enter the room, whether that’s a gorgeous leather satchel, or a statement ring that transforms the simplest of outfits. Or if it’s jackets, dresses and shoes that you are yearning for then the new Axl Bazaar in Potts Point is where you should be heading. Their stunning airy showroom and racks of vintage designers are drool worthy and very reasonably priced.

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Eastside is where to go for luxurious investment pieces for every shape, age and decade.

For a scarf to hand down to the next generation then take a trip to Kings Cross and Becker Minty, their unique high quality designs are meant for the most sophisticated of fashionistas. While you’re there take a look at their jewellery and bags, you’re sure to find something you want top take home.

By Freer has popped up in Potts Point! Not too far away from their original digs in Vaucluse their classic shapes are flattering for every woman and are the perfect starting place for layering statement pieces. The same goes for their neighbour Arida, with a bit more luxury behind it, here is a store where you can find silks, cashmeres, leathers and the best denims fits. For both men and women, you really don’t need to look further than Eastside.

EVENTS: The Domain has an awesome summer lineup

The weather has been pretty perfect this summer and there is no better way to soak up the rays and balmy nights than at The Domain! They have some awesome shows lined up for the next few weeks, everything from kids concerts to international superstars.

Here are a few which we won’t be missing!

The Summer Series - January 12th

Catch The Jacksons, The Kool Gang, Village People and heaps more, bringing the groove all night long! What a way to relive the classics and soak in the best Sydney has to offer! Tickets and full details here.

Florence and The Machine - January 26th

The British phenomenon Florence Welch returns with her band to deliver a spectacular performance. Known for her ethereal and powerful stage presence, seeing Florence and The Machine is a once in a lifetime event. Get your tickets here.

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Florence and The Machine is one of the world’s most spectacular performers and a show not to be missed.

Mazda Opera in The Domain - January 19th

If you are a diehard opera fan then the Mazda Opera in the Domain is where you should be. Hosted by ABC Classic FM and backed by the incredible Opera Australia Orchestra the evening features performances from our brightest operatic stars taking on history’s most celebrated arias.

Eat & DRINK - Eastside bars take up 16 of 50 best bars in Sydney. Where's your favourite?

Where’s your favourite bar in Eastside? If you frequent the watering holes in the area it will come as no surprise that Eastside came out on top in Time Out’s most recent Top 50 Bars list with 16 of our venues making an appearance.

Names like Dear Sainte Eloise in Potts Point with their sumptuous Parisian style bistro and Surry Hill’s Wyno with their stunning menu and extensive wine list, made a splash. While the hipster haven Shady Pines Saloon came in with their huge beer list and vibing atmosphere.

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If food is something you look for at any bar you visit then the lasagne at Love Tilly Devine in Darlinghurst is a must. Arguably the best in Sydney you will not be disappointed with this local find.

These are only the beginning, the full list is available here! Let’s make 2019 the year of supporting your local.

COMMUNITY - How to live more sustainably in Eastside

January is the perfect time to make some long lasting changes to your home and your lifestyle. Being Eastside makes it easy to do more to live sustainably. Here’s our list of the best 5 ways to reduce your footprint in 2019.

1. Download the Share-waste App

Share-Waste is the perfect way got make composting easy in the inner city. Simply sign up as someone with waste OR someone with a compost bin and connect! You can reduce your food waste, get to know your neighbours and help others’ gardens to flourish.

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The Share - Waste App is connecting the community through composting! Make a food scraps bin a part of your kitchen this year!

2. Community Gardens

We might live in the busy city but there are plenty of secret green spots to give your green thumb a workout. There are community gardens across Eastside and we have all the information you need right HERE.

3. Keep Cups at your local cafe

Is there anything that makes you more smug than turning up at your cafe with a keep cup? Not only do plenty of local cafes offer discounts for bringing your own cup, but you can walk around all day knowing that you have prevented another plastic lid hitting landfill. There are plenty on offer, but here is a great interactive map of all Keep Cup stockists!

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Keep Cups are the perfect way to be stylish and sustainable.

4. Where can I donate my old clothes?

There is nothing more satisfying than clearing our your wardrobe and starting the new year with a more simple style and a decluttered living space. But clothes DO NOT belong in landfill! There are people out there who are always looking for second hand finds and there are plenty of places around Eastside who will gladly take your donations. Vinnies, Salvos or a designer and vintage consignment store are great places to look. Here is a great map with your nearest drop off point clearly marked.

5. Dial before you dump! Phone numbers for Council Cleanup.

Did you know that it’s illegal to dump your rubbish and unwanted household good on the side of the road? All it takes is a phone call to your local council to let them know you need a collection and the rest is taken care of! The best way for Eastside is to fill out this form and sit back and wait for your pickup.