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Lyn | November 27th, 2019

In March 2020, Ultra will be making its way back to Australia along with a stellar lineup of world-class, industry dominating DJs. Set to take place in Sydney and Melbourne, the brand first landed in the country back in 2018 with an introductory Road to Ultra show, before upgrading into a full-scale festival this year. Despite only recently expanding into the country, Ultra has already proved itself as a serious contender in Australia's festival landscape and this year expects to attract 50,000 fans over the weekend.

For those travelling to the festival from overseas, we understand that planning what to do before and after the event can be tricky if you have no local expertise. Luckily, to help you make your decision we've compiled a guide on the best bars in Sydney/Melbourne to grab a drink before or after Ultra. Or if you're looking for something more high-octane, stay tuned for part 2 where we'll provide you with a list of recommended clubs too.

Ultra Australia released their lineup phase 1 earlier this month, check it out here.

Ultra Australia

Sydney|7th March|Parramatta Park

1. Maybe Sammy

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 4:30pm - 1:00am 
Friday 3:00pm - 1:00am
Saturday 4:30pm - 1:00am (Closed Sunday and Monday)

Price: No entry fee, mini cocktails cost AUD $11 and large cost around AUD $22.
Happy Hour: Mini martinis for AUD $5.50 everyday between 4:30pm and 5:30pm.
Address: 115 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney
Website: https://www.maybesammy.com

Despite having only just opened at the start of this year, Maybe Sammy has already been heavily awarded and has even earned a coveted spot on the World's 50 Best Bars list, making it the only Australian bar to do so in 2019. Cocktails are what they do best, and by best we mean literally the best, as they also took home the title of "Best New International Cocktail Bar" at the Spirited Awards this year. The menu boasts a wide selection of carefully crafted, innovative drinks that can be paired with a variety of mouth-watering snacks— worth noting is their Saturday happy hour (after 6pm), during which oysters are just $2!

Adorned with pastel pink velvet furnishings, a sleek bar counter and retro-inspired tropical wallpaper, Maybe Sammy has an inviting, old-school glam aesthetic that wouldn't look out of place in a Wes Anderson film. Definitely worth checking out.

2. Bulletin Place

Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday 4:00pm - 12:00am 
  Thursday-Saturday 4:00pm - 1:00am (Closed Sundays)
Price: No entry fee, average drink price around AUD $15-$25
Address: Level 1, 10-14 Bulletin Place, Sydney 2000 Australia
Website: https://bulletinplace.com/

It's true what they say about Bulletin Place— no two nights are ever the same. Each day, one of the bartenders will create their own five-cocktail menu, composed of only the freshest, in-season ingredients found at the local market. Like Maybe Sammy, its the cocktails that this bar is known for, and there's good reason too: To ensure that their clientele receive only the best service, all the bartenders at Bulletin Place must go through weeks of training before they are allowed to take to the floor.

With a capacity of around 45, this intimate setting is the perfect spot for a classy pre-drink before heading on to the next place.

3. Baxter Inn

Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 4:00pm - 1:00am (Closed Sundays)
Price: No entry fee, drinks around AUD $15 - $50
Address: Basement 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000 Australia
Website: https://thebaxterinn.com/

With an absolutely staggering whisky collection, the number of bottles lining the walls at Baxter Inn stand somewhere around the 800 mark. Despite it's inconspicuous presence—hidden away on Clarence Street— this basement whisky bar is constantly buzzing with customers looking for that little bit extra. One thing that has to be said about Baxter Inn is that it's absolutely full of character. The traditional interior features a sprawling wooden bar counter, which sits in front of a stunning backlit wall with old-fashioned library ladders sliding across (a necessity to reach the whiskies sitting at the very top).

Melbourne|8th March|Flemington Racecourse

1. Black Pearl

Opening Hours: 5:00pm - 3:00am
Price: No entry fee, drinks around AUD $15 - 30
Address: 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC, 3065, AUSTRALIA
Website: https://www.blackpearlbar.com.au/

Famous for its ever-changing list of cocktails, cosy, laidback atmosphere and of course those legendary sausage rolls, Black Pearl is a mainstay of Fitzroy's nightlife. The bar has been open for over 15 years now and is a favourite among the locals, particularly as it stays open until 3am every night, perfect for those unexpectedly messy evenings. Probably the best part about Black Pearl is that, compared to many other high-end establishments, there's absolutely zero pretentiousness— everyone's welcome whether you're in heels or high tops.

2. Naked in the Sky

Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 12:00pm - 12:00am
  Friday - Saturday 12:00pm - 1:00am
Price: No entry fee, drinks around AUD $20-45
The 666 From 6-8: Selected drinks $6 every day between 6-8pm
Address: 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Website: https://www.nakedforsatan.com.au/in-the-sky/

If drinks with a view is what you're after then look no further. Naked in the Sky is one of Melbourne's most iconic rooftop bars, sitting on top of Spanish themed restaurant/bar Naked for Satan. This rustic, sky-high bar offers an unrivaled 360 view of the Melbourne CBD skyline, looking out over the top of the neighbouring buildings without any high rises to obscure the vista. In addition to an impressive drinks selection spanning over 20 pages (the house infused vodkas are a highlight), guests can dine on a tasty Basque county menu which includes baked camembert, raw beef tartare and everyone's favourite: popcorn chicken.

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Nothing beats lunch in the sky 😍

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3. Whitehart

Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday & Sunday 12:00pm - 11:00pm
 Thursday 12:00pm - 12:00am
                  Friday-Saturday 12:00pm - 1:00am

Price: No entry, drinks around AUD $15-25
Address: 22 WHITEHART LANE, MELBOURNE 3000
Website:http://www.whitehartbar.com.au/

Whitehart is a the epitome of Melbourne. This quirky bar is made out of shipping containers, built by husband and wife couple Stephen Johnson and Sabrina Santucci, who had always seen the car park it sits on as a place for potential. The pair worked alongside local artists when designing the bar, opting to embellish it with colourful graffiti murals which brighten up the old steel beams.

Open from midday until late, seven days a week, Whitehart has a selection of snacks to choose from as well as rotating food vendors for when you're 3 pints in and starting to feel peckish. Feel free to sit outside and bask in the sunlight during the warmer months, or huddle up next to the heaters during winter— this industrial bar is prepared for all occasions.

Ultra Australia 2020

Ultra Australia Lineup 2020

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