Eau de Vie awarded 'World's Best New Cocktail Bar'

Melbournites are clinging precariously to their reputation for hiding Australia’s superior bar scene in their laneways and warehouses, as Sydney gem Eau de Vie has taken out the coveted title of ‘World’s Best New Cocktail Bar’.
Trumping a shortlist comprising of only New York venues, Eau de Vie beat the city synonymous with cocktails, exclusive bars and Manhattans at the internationally recognised Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
“We set out to create a small cocktail bar where quality of drinks and service are king… I hope that we're helping to drive trends on a global level rather than just following whatever's happening in London and the U.S which have typically been seen as the leaders in our industry,” said owner Sven Almenning in response to the award.
Also nominated for ‘World’s Best Cocktail Menu’ and ‘World’s Best Drink Selection’, the recognition is testament to Almenning’s dedication, original design and attention to detail.   Lifeafterfive’s hazy recollection of a martini master class run by the brilliant Dr Phil led us to proclaim Eau de Vie a hidden bar full of expert bartenders, priding itself on knowing its Hendricks from its Anchor Junipero. 
Fronted by Luke Redingon, the not-so-hidden bar has attracted a loyal clientele of Sydney siders seeking quality, ambiance and style.  With an Eue De Vie Melbourne in the works for October, defensive Melbournites can hold their fears of the imminent turning of the smallbariffic tables at bay… for now.

Eau De Vie
229 Darlinghurst Rd
Darlinghurst 2010

Eau de Vie on Urbanspoon

WIN 2 x tickets to Departure Lounge at Piano Room - BRAZIL

This competition has now closed and winners have been contacted. Thanks for entering!

We are giving away a double boarding pass to Departure Lounge at Piano Room on 11 August, thanks to our friends at OurDeal.

Tantalise the travel bug lurking beneath the surface without the hassle of passports, immunisations and airport taxes.

Lifeafterfive* embraced the spirit of Africa at Departure Lounge's Zimbabwe event at Piano Room a few weeks ago.  This is your opportunity to venture to Brazil on 11 August for cocktails, dancing and tasty food.

Transforming into the departure lounge of a different country each week, the event is an initiative by the foodies and fashionistas behind Eat Drink Play and Fashion Palette. 

To win a double boarding pass to Departure Lounge on 11 August 2011, please leave a comment with your favourite Sydney winter survival strategy.

For an extra entry, link to this competition on twitter (and cc @lifeafterfive) or your own blog and let us know.

Don't forget to include your email address or twitter name so that we can get in touch to give you your prize!

Entries close at midnight Friday 5 August 2011.


Jersey Boys announces last weeks in Sydney

Jersey Boys - The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons has announced ‘last weeks’ of its successful Aussie run, and will take the toe-tapping, hand-clapping theatre across the ditch to Auckland in April 2012.

Jersey Boys tells the story of how four blue collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop sensations of all time. Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi joined forces to become The Four Seasons, writing their own hits to sell over 175 million records before age 30.  

Jersey Boys opened in Melbourne in July 2009 and played for 13 months. The show is currently playing to packed houses at Sydney’s Theatre Royal after breaking box office records as the highest grossing show in the theatre’s history. Over 1,000,000 have now seen the show in Melbourne and Sydney.

Book tickets at or call 1300 723 038.  Prices range from $39 to $165.



One of my proudest achievements was my role as a tap-dancing penguin in our school’s year three production of Mary Poppins. As one of many who grew up presenting concerts to amused grandparents about supernatural nannies and charming chimney sweeps, I was intrigued as to how Poppins’ famously impossible feats would be achieved on stage.

The Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre is a visual and aural spectacular that will have audiences of all ages convinced of the power of magic. Superb backdrops change within a blink of an eye, a talented cast doesn’t cease to impress, and the special effects are first class. Combined, they present a seamless and enchanting tale of the mysterious nanny who transforms the dull lives of the Banks family.

Verity Hunt-Ballard, Matt Lee and Marina Prior form part of a stellar cast that delights throughout. An opportunity to immerse yourself in an imaginary world full of happiness, enchantment and magic – no matter how old you are.

Read my full review of Mary Poppins on

With Verity Hunt-Ballard (centre)


ELSC presents 'The Economics of Happiness'

The King of Bhutan introduced the world’s first Gross National Happiness (GNH) index in 1972, a concept which has since been adopted by governments in Europe and Canada.  Monitoring indicators of a nation under the pillars of sustainable development, cultural values, natural environment conservation and good governance, the purpose is to ensure focus by governments on contributors to happiness and reduce the emphasis on GDP growth as a measure of success and prosperity.  The GNH is based on empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and wellbeing.

It was under this banner that the Emerging Leaders of Social Change was established.  Initiated by a pub conversation (where ideas have a habit of brewing), the group aims to bring together young professionals in the corporate, public and non-profit sectors as a forum for sharing ideas and collaboration.
A core focus of the ELSC is to encourage Australians to participate in The Big Conversation, an initiative to assist the federal government understand what our society values when determining indicators to feed the National Wellbeing Framework being developed by the government.
'Going local' is a powerful strategy to help repair our fractured world – our ecosystems, our societies and our selves” Helena Norberg-Hodge
The trend towards localisation and away from globalisation was the topic of discussion at the most recent ELSC ‘collaboratory’, where Helena Norberg-Hodge’s documentary The Economics of Happiness was screened.  While alarmist in its description of the  ‘8 Inconvenient Truths of Globalisation’, the positive impact of society's movement towards sustainable communities and increased connectivity with those geographically close resonated with the audience.   Pointing to examples such as local food movements, growers markets and eco-villages emerging in big cities around the world, those interviewed in the documentary outlined the social and economic benefits of what it calls ‘economic localisation’.
These benefits include;
  • Understanding the impact of our choices, made easier when the supply chain is contained within one’s realm of influence;
  • Environmental benefits, with less energy being consumed when goods are produced and consumed locally;
  • The retention of ‘grandmother’s knowledge’, the strengthening of community bonds and a sense of belonging.
While the film was emotive in presentation, its underlying message was strong enough to provoke discussion about everything from challenging the status quo, individuals’ own experiences of localisation and how this applies to our society.   

ELSC collaboratories are described as intimate events where like-minded emerging leaders meet to share, explore and challenge their way of thinking about topics related to the social sector.   A wonderful opportunity to be challenged in genuine debate about topical issues, the ELSC addresses the growing desire of gen-Y to meaningfully engage with the community while building successful careers in a range of commercial (and other) sectors.
If your corporate job has taught you something useful to others and you’re itching to share, don’t miss the next ELSC collaboratory on the innovative application of Design Thinking.  You might just learn something.
Buy tickets to future ELSC events at

Lunch at Deckhouse Woolwich

Restricted by the psychological boundaries of the Harbour Bridge and inner East / West, it is easy for Sydneysiders to overlook dining options outside the city slicker bubble. The stylish Deckhouse in Woolwich is a reminder that there are numerous vantage points from which to enjoy the sparkling sensation that is Sydney harbour – a mere boat trip away.
Our transport awaits
A sunny winter’s day is the perfect setting for a leisurely Friday lunch, the harbour smiling brightly as we pile into a water taxi at Darling Harbour. Less than a ten minute ride away, we arrive at a modern venue far removed from the frenetic pace of the CBD. A yacht glides past slowly, a dog can be heard in distant bushland, and the sun dapples the freshly painted balcony.

The lunch menu is simple and inviting, with the chicken salad and the fillet steak the most popular at our table. Both are unpretentious and high quality, and are followed by melt in your mouth desserts that quickly disappear. The chocolate mousse with peanut butter ice cream is a clear favourite.

Soy & linseed loaf

Chicken salad with pear, blue cheese & walnut dressing

Fillet steak, fat chips and fresh slaw

Chocolate mousse with peanut butter icecream

One of many hidden gems lining the harbour, Deckhouse represents the best of what Sydney is famous for. With views of the spectacular waterfront, nestled in native bush and serving fresh, quality cuisine, the restaurant is the perfect place for a lunchtime escape from the CBD. Who knows, you may even spot a kookaburra.

Tough day at the office

Not too shabby... view from the taxi

Deckhouse Cafe
Clarke Road
Woolwich Dock 2110
02 9817 4394
Open 7 days 8.30am-3pm

Deckhouse Cafe on Urbanspoon


El Circo at Slide

As Water for Elephants has reignited our passion for circuses, El Circo brings the dream of big-tops and sparkles to the dining table, creating a magical performance complete with fantastic acrobatic feats, live singers, and theatrical flair. 
A unique and creative experience which combines a nine course degustation with nine breathtaking circus acts, El Circo at Slide takes French cabaret to distinctly original new heights.   Fabulously buxom hostess Maxi Shield (all natural darrrrrling) introduces each course as though it is an act in itself, with unusual highlights including virtual buttered popcorn (described as food aromatherapy) and chawa muchi – Japanese steamed egg. 
Maxi Shield prepares the Virtual Buttered Popcorn
The nine courses include a range of entrees, a provocatively presented braised lamb shank as main course, and three divinely indulgent desserts. 
In between each course, the crowd is treated to a variety of sensual, dramatic performances, intertwined with an element of comedy.  A juggler dazzles the crowd with his skill, a top-hatted gentleman serenades a pole dancer in a French as she performs gravity defying stunts, and a lady pulled ‘reluctantly’ onto the stage by Maxi Shield bursts into song.
The crowd is spellbound as a double trapeze act twists, splits and dances precariously above our heads, and entertained as a male bellydancer invites some talented brides-to-be to perform with him on stage. 
The audience – “so many new faces of old people” says Maxi Shield – is an eclectic mix of ages and occasions, including hens’ parties, a 50th birthday, an engagement dinner and a 21st.  All are wrapt in the interactive experience, which demands participation from the crowd.  The gaiety and entertainment inherent throughout El Circo makes it the ideal night for a memorable celebration. 
Talented bride-to-be impresses the crowd with her bellydancing
Maxi Shield surprises the crowd in a slinky number with the final act – a hilarious rendition of Stars on 54’s “If you could read my mind”, before inviting guests onto the dance floor.   Inspired by a night of poles, silks and circus acts, the stage is soon full of revellers of all ages twirling to ‘Girls just wanna have fun’.
A sensational, mesmerising experience with shimmering performances, El Circo at Slide is a brilliant, one-of-a-kind concept that surprises, entertains and delights.   While Benzini Brothers may have crashed in 1931, the El Circo train is worth jumping one Saturday night.
El Circo is on every Saturday night at Slide - 41 Oxford St.

$99 includes 9 course degustation and 9 circus acts

Slide Lounge on Urbanspoon


WIN 2 x tickets to 'Drake the Amazing + La Dispute' at Darlinghurst Theatre Co

This competition has now closed and winners have been contacted.  Thank you for entering!

We are giving away 2 x double passes to see live comedy 'Drake the Amazing + La Dispute' at Darlinghurst Theatre Company, thanks to our friends at OurDeal.

Awarded four stars by TimeOut, Fringe Review and Three Weeks.  Laughter is said to be the best stress release, and this razor sharp comedy will have you laughing off the daily grind from start to finish.

To enter, please add a comment telling us your favourite post-work stress release.

Don't forget to include your email address or twitter name so that we can get in touch to give you your prize!

Entries close at midnight Monday 18 July 2011.


"A tantalising double bill by writer, Andy Hyman; two sharp comedies exploring love, lust and transformation.

Drake The Amazing is a shamelessly comic, fast-paced look at a forgotten age – a love letter to vaudeville theatre. Legend persists that one Autumn night in 1911 Alden Drake, an otherwise unremarkable actor, became the best in the business. How did he get there? And who helped him? A laugh-out-loud tale of love in the wings and one man’s transformation from plain-old Alden into Drake The Amazing.

La Dispute traces a chaotic journey through the joys and devastations of romantic love. Marivaux’s original tale is brilliantly re-told for the 21st century. On the eve of a grand party, a wealthy man invites guests to witness a long-awaited experiment to determine which sex is less faithful, man or woman? Two boys and two girls raised in isolation for twenty years are about to meet for the first time. From the giddiness of first romance to the pangs of betrayal, witness a tantalising experiment in love and desire."

8pm Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm Sunday between 20 July - 3 August.

Bombay Bites

“Decision time” announces Ashok Kumar, the friendly owner and manager of Bombay Bites in Neutral Bay.  Having whet our appetites with an assortment of pappadams, chutneys and mixed pickles, it’s time to select our menu.

All dishes are made freshly to order, with nothing pre-prepared on the premises.  This is evident in the array of delicate spices and flavours virtually jumping off each plate, creating a delicious experience of genuine Indian cooking.

We start with samosas and adraki lamb chops, which are seared and marinated with an aromatic fresh paste and grilled in the traditional Tandoor oven.  Succulent and tender, mint yoghurt chutney is a perfect complement to the marinade.
Adraki lamb chops
For the main course we elect the traditional dahl tarka (which Ashok says is one of his healthy favourites) and chicken tikka masala cooked to order in the Tandoor.  The precision and detail with which every dish is explained when served enhances the dining experience, giving us an appreciation of the ingredients, method and history behind the meal. The dahl has a gentle flavour that combines perfectly with the richer chicken tikka masala.

Chicken tikka masala

Dhal tarka
Bombay Bites is the pride of the Kumars, a husband and wife team who began their restaurant careers in India before moving to Australia.  A hidden gem that is part of the blossoming restaurant precinct in Neutral Bay, the venue offers a ‘Bling Cushion Room’ and a ‘Hukka Bar’ ideal for private parties as well as the mural adorned restaurant.  The attentiveness of the Kumars makes one feel like a guest in their home, despite the fine dining atmosphere and elaborate Indian decor.

Homemade mango icecream
Finding a separate stomach for the fresh dessert of homemade mango ice cream, the verdict is clear.  For an authentic Indian experience north of the bridge, Bombay Bites gets the thumbs up (just watch out for those jumping spices).

The Hukka Bar
The dishes we loved

-       Adraki Lamb chops (entree)
-       Chicken tikka masala (main)
-       Homemade mango icecream (dessert)

Bombay Bites is at 166 Military Road, Neutral Bay.

Thank you to OurDeal, who provided three courses, a bottle of wine, naan bread and a side platter.

Bombay Bites on Urbanspoon


Departure Lounge - Jetsetting to Zimbabwe

African dummers Ki Fetch
There’s nothing that says ‘I need a holiday’ like the prospect of another day at the office during blustery winter July.   With grey clouds gathering at the window, the Microsoft paperclip your most riveting company, the closest beach in sight is in facebook photos travelling friends have tauntingly posted.
Departure Lounge at Piano Room provides a novel escape from the winter blues that doesn’t bite into your leave balance, cost a fortune or require hours of preparation. 

Rich Coombes, Vincent Stander and Daniella Alhadeff (lifeafterfive*) preparing for departure
Transforming into the departure lounge of a different country each week, the event is an initiative by the foodies and fashionistas behind Eat Drink Play and Fashion Palette.   At the Zimbabwe event on Thursday 30 June, charming hostess Sonya Mefaddi hands us a boarding pass and shows us to our seats.  With Shakira and Freshly Ground’s Waka waka (This Time for Africa) playing on arrival and a pair of Cheetahs lounging on the bar, we may be in the heart of Kings Cross but the spirit of Africa is in full force as we order our first cocktail from a safari clad waitress.
The ‘Lion King’ cocktail may not be strictly traditionally Zimbabwean, but no one is complaining as they’re served the delicious frangelico based drink infused with cinnamon and orange peel.   A chef’s tasting plate of African food is served as the skilful Ki Fetch Band of African drummers warm up the crowd. 
2 x Lion  King cocktails & chef's plate - only $15

Chef's african tasting plate

The concept is the first collaboration between Fashion Palette and Eat Drink Play. Both companies have a focus on showcasing up-and-coming talent such as emerging fashion designers and inspiring young chefs.
“Sonya and I wanted to combine food and fashion to create something unique and different for Sydney but with an accessible price tag that everyone can enjoy” said Alex Adams, the fabulous foodie behind Eat Drink Play. 
“Guests can expect anything from Brazilian dancers to a mariachi band. Each night will be like stepping off a long-haul flight into a completely different country” added Adams.
Whether you want to samba with the Brazillians, celebrate Bastille Day in true Parisian style or sample Spanish cuisine, Departure Lounge is an opportunity for Sydneysiders to escape to the far corners of the globe – even if only for a few hours.  

Ki Fetch jamming with the crowd

Keen travelers, foodies and fashionistas can purchase a boarding pass online from preferred ‘travel agent’ Our Deal for $15. In exchange for a boarding pass guests will receive entry, two cocktails and a plate from the ‘Chef’s Global Menu’ and a night of worldly entertainment.

Travel Itinerary
9 June - Mexico
16 June - Japan
23 June - Greece
30 June - Zimbabwe
7 July - Morocco
14 July - France
21 July - Old England
28 July - Spain
4 August - Vietnam
11 August - Brazil

Piano Room on Urbanspoon

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