August 14, 2016


Sydney seems to have a huge selection of bars, but hey, there’s always room for one more, especially at Circular Quay.

Inspired by the grand plantation architecture of Cuba and mixed with the luxury modern vintage hotels of 1950’s Miami, “Hacienda” is located in the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. With fabulous views of the Harbour Bridge and cruise ships docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, plus the many ferries darting around the harbour, Hacienda is a great place to relax with a cocktail, day or evening.


Sandra Tiltman enjoying a cocktail

I tried two of Hacienda’s signature cocktails during my recent visit, but I still can’t make up my mind as to which was my favourite. The “Bottled Mojito” of Blanco rum, crème de menthe, lime, mint, falernum, orange bitters and “Old Presidente” made from aged rum, orange curacao, house spiced raspberry syrup & Angostura bitters served in a smoked rocks glass had me wanting more. Both had my vote as being up there with some of the best cocktails I have tasted. Glad I had my designated driver by my side.

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Great drinks are not all that’s on offer at Hacienda. Award winning Executive Chef Stefan Brademann is at the helm of the kitchen, with a menu inspired by Cuba’s traditional trading partners and their local, abundant ingredients, to create dishes unique to Hacienda. With Latin and American delights such as blackened rice crisps topped with crab & finger lime, scallop ceviche, Yucca fries with red pepper sauce, Cajun spiced grilled prawns and Hacienda’s signature Cuban Reuben of Cuban spiced homemade pastrami, smokey cheese & Marrickville pickles, Hacienada is a foodie venue as well as a bar.

Hacienda prides itself on sharp service, a stylish drinks selection and delicious food in a truly unique Sydney setting.

Sandra Tiltman      Photos: John Pond


May 22, 2014

Vivid Sydney 2012 - Captain Cook cruises

Sydney is ready to be transformed after dark, when Vivid lights up the city at 6pm to midnight each evening from 23 May to 9 June 2014. This unique free annual event of light, music and ideas, as well as outdoor lighting sculptures, promises to be even bigger and better than previous years.

Vivid brings many of our harbour city’s buildings to life with spectacular illuminations. Over the last couple of years, the sails of the Sydney Opera House have starred as a blank canvas for the projections, along with many of the buildings around Circular Quay and the Rocks.

As Vivid has grown over the years, many more buildings around the city have been included in the illuminated displays, such as Martin Place in the centre of the city and Darling Harbour. For the first time this year, many of the harbour’s cruise vessels, ferries and water taxis will be adorned with lights that change colour as they move into different sections of the harbour.

Attracting not only locals and visitors from inter-state, the word has now spread around the world. Vivid has become a major drawcard for overseas tourists, who are coming to Sydney, just to see this event. In previous years, the beginning of winter and cold nights saw a dwindling in tourism numbers, but this trend, thanks to Vivid, has been reversed

Vivid 2013 Concept DrawingsDuring Vivid, Captain Cook Cruises is offering a variety of ferry and dining cruises so passengers can see the city come alive, in a spectacular array of lights and projections across Sydney’s most famous landmarks. Cruises have been specially designed to complement the Vivid Light walk with over 60 interactive light installations from Sydney Cove, through The Rocks to Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour.

Captain Cook Cruises’ Head of Sales and Marketing, Richard Doyle commented “For the first time the harbour itself will become a canvas for brightly lit vessels that change colour as they cruise. The best place to see the harbour and the full display of lights and projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and on landmark buildings along the harbour foreshore is from the water”.

Cruises have been specially designed to complement the Vivid Light walk with over 60 interactive light installations from Sydney Cove, through The Rocks to Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour.

Vivid Light also features huge 3D digital mapping projections and lighting displays across city scrapes and landmark buildings including the Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House.

Diners on the 5pm Vivid Dinner and Drinks Cruise which departs nightly from Jetty 6, Circular Quay will enjoy the spectacular moment as the Vivid lights turn on at 6pm. The cruise includes a delicious two course meal, plus an open bar of Tyrrell’s house sparkling or still wines, beer and soft drinks. After disembarking at Circular Quay, on the doorstep of the Vivid Light walk at 6.30pm, diners can immerse themselves in the amazing light installations.

To enhance the Vivid experience, representatives from Canon Australia will be around the Light Walk area to help answer any photographic questions.

Sandra Tiltman


May 20, 2013
Lee McDonnell Finishing His Winning Painting

Lee McDonnell Finishing His Winning Painting

With the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, Art Battles Australia “The Quay Series” held its two day finale recently at Circular Quay, in front of a huge crowd of locals and tourists.

Twelve artists, who had competed in weekly heats of two artists per heat, over a six week period at Darlinghurst’s “Name This Bar”, came together at Circular Quay on the Saturday to battle it out in three semi-final rounds throughout the day.

Artists had 90 minutes to complete an artwork on oversized canvases, with the theme “Concrete Jungle”.  The top five artists then went through to the Grand Final held the next day, with the new theme “Where You Would Rather Be”.

Taking out the first prize and crowned 2013 Art Battles Australia winner, was Lee McDonnell, a Mambo artist, who has won an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam to represent Australia at Tiger Translate Vietnam, which aims to celebrate global creativity through the exposure to different cultures and experiences.

INDO, a professional graphic designer/illustrator turned professional artist, came second and won an Eckersley’s hamper.

Sandra Tiltman    PHOTO:  John Pond


April 13, 2013
Simon Mercer, Co-Director of Name This Bar with Heat Winner

Simon Mercer, Co-Director of Name This Bar with Heat Winner

Darlinghurst’s Name This Bar on Oxford Street at Taylors Square, is the venue again for the return of Art Battles Australia, which commenced at the end of March, with the launch of The Quay Series.

DSC_0746Art Battles Australia provides an innovative series of events for artists to showcase their talents to the general public and patrons of the bar, along with live entertainment, DJs, and celebrity MCs and judges.

An all new artist line up, selected from a pool of both established Sydney visual artists and up and coming artists, takes part in six heats, held weekly each Thursday at Name This Bar.

Each week, up to four artists per heat will battle it out on canvases in a 100 minute showdown.  Artists create their works using a number of different styles and techniques on canvas from street art to fine art, using tools such as brush, marker pens and for the first time spray paint provided by Art Battles partner Liquitex.  Each heat will see artists judged on artistic ability, creativity and crowd response.

The six heats will culminate in the Grand Final, which will take place on 4 & 5 May at Sydney’s Circular Quay.  With the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, this two day finale will run in conjunction with Tiger Beer’s Translate initiative, a collaboration of music and art. The winner of the Art Battles Quay Series grand final will be flown to Vietnam to represent Australia at Tiger Translate Vietnam as a guest of Tiger Beer Australia.  Sandra Tiltman     Photos:  John Pond



December 15, 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACarnival Cruise Lines’ Australian based ship “Carnival Spirit”, docked at Circular Quay, was the perfect venue where Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, recently announced details of Sydney’s world famous 2012 New Year’s Eve celebrations.Guests enjoyed drinks and canapés while standing on the open back deck of Carnival Spirit’s Serenity Zone with the Harbour Bridge, the central focus of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, in the background.

Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, promised everyone that this year the fireworks are going to surpass those of previous years, being bigger and better.

The City of Sydney and Telstra have developed a free app for smartphones, that will light up phone screens as coloured lights splash the Harbour Bridge to mark the end of 2012 and launch 2013.  The app will also give vantage point maps and updates of when viewing locations have reached capacity.  The app will also allow people to “Message the Bridge” by submitting some words which could be projected onto one of the Harbour Bridge pylons.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASydney will be embracing the love, with NYE12 Creative Ambassador, Kylie Minogue, wanting everyone to Embrace 2013.  Kylie has worked with the City of Sydney and chosen magenta, yellow, purple and blue for the Telstra Colour Moments and fireworks, representing her Embrace theme.

Kylie said “This year I want everyone to embrace during the fireworks”.  “Whether its embracing new ideas, change and opportunities, or just giving a big hug to your family and friends, it’s something everyone can get involved in.  So together, we are going to make this New Year’s Eve the most memorable night ever.”

The Lord Mayor commented “Over one billion people watch Sydney New Year’s Eve in Australia and around the world, contributing $156 million to the local economy.”   Sandra T.     PHOTOS: John Pond ©