by Tim Neve in Cool Travel on Friday 28 May 2010

It’s been a decade since I’d explored the nightlife of Sydney and boy have things changed. Sleek yuppie bars attracting a mainly corporate clientele are disappearing and in their place a new generation of ultra-creative nightspots have emerged. Dare I say, the Sydney landscape has started to take after what it’s sister city Melbourne has know for decades – delivering laid-back, dimly lit, lounge style spaces. One hot spot is the three level Sugarmill and Kit + Kaboodle in Kings Cross.

On the ground level, the Sugarmill bar offer a warm pub-style environment but with plenty of visual quirk to keep things interesting. Walls are plastered with old concert posters from a myriad of genres, reflecting the eclectic moody play list of the evening too. Huge decorative lampshades adorn the bar, while kitsch Australiana novelty items mingle with backlit spirit bottles on the shelves behind.

It’s a mixed clientele, grazing on pub-style food done well such as the juicy Miso and Red Wine Marinated Lamb Cutlets. Bar staff can also freshly mix up salivating $16 jugs of tropical concoctions. In the bathrooms, grab a piece of chalk and start scribbling on the blackboard painted cubicle walls. Take a wander up the old-school stairwell that has become a mini gallery in it’s own right, covered in black and white street art photography, to arrive at the upstairs supper club, Kit and Kaboodle.

The dimly lit den is an interior explosion; oriental reds and black create an ornate opulence meets back-alley Chinatown. A row of vintage glass pendants overhanging the bar creates a moody statement, while the DJ plays his decks setup within a zebra-print grand piano. Here, the cocktail list reflects the oriental setting, with Asian inspired cocktails such as Asian Princess and their signature Kit Tickler providing innovative new infusions. Continue upstairs to a third level in similarly eclectic peacock inspired tones, with ornate lounge areas defined by private screening between.

The entire complex is a visual wonderland, but still maintains that illusive understated quality that the city had previously lacked.