For many years, Kings Cross (once called Queens Cross) held the title of the drug and red-light capital of Australia. It's always been a source of curiosity and many visitors go there just to see how the other half lives and plays.
The very colourful Cross has had many personas. In the 1920s it was Sydney's answer to Paris' bohemian Left Bank or London's Notting Hill. In those days it was about coffee shops, galleries and bookshops and gatherings of artists and intellectuals.
In more recent times, the little pocket of Sydney has slowly begun to evolve into a vibrant area. Certainly, at the Darlinghurst Road end there are tattoo and massage parlours, adult bookshops, tacky nightclubs and strip joints, but as it curves from the El Alamein Fountain, seedy gives way to sophistication. The name changes there from Kings Cross to Potts Point.
Wander along Challis Avenue to Fratelli Paradiso and you will experience true Italian restaurant culture. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and its patisserie bakes on site every day. You can see the baker kneading dough and creating pastries every morning. Many people call in for a traditional pastry and coffee to take away.
The interior is has a sleek black and white look and the blackboard menu is written in Italian. Choices change daily and it's delightful to sit outside on the trendy Challis Avenue to enjoy your meal.
The Gazebo has been around for a very long time, but its new owners have brought the old girl into the 21st century; it's now known as the Gazebo Wine Garden. One of the aims of the popular nightspot's owners is to "make wine approachable and fun" and to help them to achieve that, they have one of Sydney's finest wine lists. The constantly updated wine list includes 250 wines from around the globe which are available by the bottle, and 50 by the glass.
Gazebo uses the state-of-the-art enomatic wine system which allows a bottle of wine to stay perfectly palatable for three weeks after opening. Guests are able to sample wines in 10ml tastes before deciding what they wish to buy.
Its quirky decor is made up of eclectic Parisian furniture, hand-painted mural ceiling, a "live" wall of moss behind the bar and a fox on the roof wearing a boxing helmet! The courtyard overlooks the El Alamein Fountain. There are hosted theme nights which change with the seasons.
The Diamant Hotel opened in 2007 and is right in the heart of the Kings Cross-Potts Point-Darlinghurst triangle in other words, close to Sydney's widest and most eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, cafes and nightspots. The modern hotel's 80 rooms are chic and comfortable and some have views of the Sydney skyline. Penny's Lane, the hotel's restaurant, is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves simple classics.
The Piano Room is at the top of William Street and has sweeping city views. Classic cocktails are presented in a range of spaces, including a raised club lounge, a VIP room and an outdoor terrace where live musical performances feature each night.
Kings Cross on the edge of Sydney's CBD.
Fratelli Paradiso is open on weekdays between 7am and 11pm and on weekends between 7am and 5pm.
Diamant Boutique Hotel rooms start at $188 a night. A complimentary drink and entry to a Fitness First gym are included.
Prices correct at November 27, 2008.
For further information
12-16 Challis Avenuev
Potts Point 2011
Ph: (02) 9357 1744
Gazebo Wine Garden
2 Elizabeth Bay Road
Elizabeth Bay 2011
Ph: (02) 9357 5333
Diamant Boutique Hotel Sydney
14 Kings Cross Road
Potts Point 2011
Ph: 1800 037 544
Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.