Rock Lily launch party

“Trust me. You’re not gonna see this anywhere else” the tattoed barman promises, expertly pouring a precise 30ml tequila shot. Despite long established wisdom that one should never trust a man who says “trust me”, in this case it’s a gamble I’m willing to take.  With over 120 tequilas on offer, Star City’s new bar Rock Lily offers sought after varieties that can’t be found anywhere else in Australia.

Not just a tequila bar (though the Cadillac margaritas are sensational), Rock Lily is Sydney’s newest and most exclusive live music venue, attracting top Aussie rock bands and international talent (Snoop Dogg has already hosted his invitation-only after party there prior to the official opening) to perform for no more than 200 people.  Despite being in the middle of neon-drenched Star City casino, Rock Lily manages to pull off an intimate and atmospheric performance space that will attract bands and rockers alike.

At the official launch party on Wednesday 20 April, the crowd was treated to ‘up close and personal’ performances by hot Australian bands Washington and Art v Science.  I could practically reach out and touch Dan Mac from Art v Science (tempting but I did refrain) and someone from the crowd offers him a beer to scholl mid-performance.

Art vs Science

Lounging in converted Cadillac seat booths while watching the 1970s tvs above the bar, all d├ęcor - from the juke box in the corner to the mustard squiggled hot dogs - follows the mid-west American diner theme recently embraced by bars such as Shady Pines Saloon and the Stuffed Beaver.  Tattooed works of art cover the arms of all tequila savvy bartenders, suggesting that no detail has been neglected in designing and bringing the concept to life.

I step outside to take a phone call, and am momentarily confused to find myself surrounded by the bright lights and clanging jangles of a casino – I hurry back into the dimly lit oasis of rock and cocktails.

A surprisingly laid back and inviting space, let’s hope that Rock Lily is the start of movement by Star City to make the most of its huge, inner-city precinct.  Showcasing the best talent from home and abroad, Rock Lily is will inspire celebration among live music fans – just make sure you’re one of the 200 lucky enough to get through the door.

Rock Lily is open from 5pm on Wednesdays to Sundays

This article first appeared on Eat Drink Play.

A night at the (Australian) museum

Ectomorph or endomorph? Defining characteristics of amphibians and reptiles? Champagne in hand, I rack the depths of my brain to search for the lessons faintly imprinted in my brain by my year 6 teacher. I struggle to channel the days when answers were found in encyclopaedias (and Encarta) and reach for my phone to google the answer.

Discovery is the word of the night at Jurassic Lounge, where we wander through the entrance to be handed a drink by a bespectacled skinny-jean clad waiter bopping energetically around the bar.  An initiative by the Australian Museum to prove that you don’t need to be in school uniform to find dinosaurs fun, it transforms into a bar and performance space every Tuesday night.

A strange mix of professionals in suits, art students and indie rockers, the lure of drinks and live music in a place most of us associate with whispers and school excursions has widespread appeal.  

We find ourselves at a cross between an underground jazz bar and a dinosaur cemetery.  Following the lead of the crowd we grab some cushions, recline against the glass displays of amphibian fossils and enjoy the James Blunt-esque tunes of Dylan Hogan-Ross followed by giant puppets (aka the band Toy Death) who look like they have stepped directly out of my childhood nightmares and jolt us out of our relaxed reveries.  The crowd seems completely oblivious to the dinosaur skeleton suspended about a metre above their heads, with the pillows, dim lighting and live music reminiscent of a Brooklyn loft. 

We finish our drinks and make our way through the maze of the museum, surprised at the child-like wonder that each room inspires.  Endless entertainment is had at the ocean sensor table where a virtual shark “bites” your hand before disappearing back into the depths of cyber space. 

The reptile room gives us the chance to practice our drawing skills, and we find ourselves engrossed in following the step-by-step instructions and attempting to draw frogs (though I was unable to quite reach the standard of Carly, aged 6). 

Entering another room, we find an eclectic bunch of people bopping away – to silence. It is like stepping onto the set of “A night at the museum – the silent disco sequel” until I am handed a pair of headphones, notice the DJ in the corner and suddenly the dance floor comes to life. Watching people twirl each other to the disco beats, we resolve to come back after a few more drinks.

Jurassic Lounge provides a creative and intellectual twist to the standard mid-week after work drink.  Don your dancing shoes, BYO pencil and give your left brain some exercise!

Jurassic Lounge is on at the Australian Museum every Tuesday from 1 Feb - 19 April.  Entry is $15 and includes a free drink.


A Greenhouse in the City

Sure, the Greens were rejected in the recent state election and we still don’t have a price on carbon, but that doesn’t mean us Sydneysiders don’t care about the environment. We’ve just found a way of showing it that allows us to indulge in organic wine, spectacular harbour views and food prepared by celebrity chef Matt Stone.

Standing on the rooftop of what feels like an old shipping container, drinking wine out of recycled glass jars and being served by waiters in funky outfits from Vinnies, we are reminded by Joost Baker to embrace our creative side and challenge our perception of what is possible.

Read about my experiences at Sydney's Greenhouse by Joost on Eat Drink Play - before it was packed up and shipped off to Milan!