The Eastern Hotel

If it was on King Street Wharf, no one would bat an eyelid. But put it in a shock, horror shopping centre, and people get confused. How can you have a classy, funky bar in a mall? Very easily, it appears. The fact that the mall is Australia's celebrity shopping centre, Westfield Bondi Junction, does give it a helping hand. It's also not called Billy The Pig's any more, which has to be a bonus.

Some people still don't get it though, so let's make it simple: the Eastern ticks all the right boxes: kick-arse cocktails, moody lighting, booths, Art Deco-meets-retro-meets-lounge design, ottomans, great staff and the perennial Sydney favourite, a beer garden. (They'd probably prefer to call it an "open-air cocktail courtyard", but we know a beer garden when we see one.)

It's got it all over four floors, and even does fab food, both as bar snacks from downstairs and at the top-floor, top-class restaurant. It's quickly been adopted by the young eastern suburbs in-crowd, leaving anyone over 20 feeling crusty.

But don't worry, the dusky lighting can hide a multitude of sins. Just don't ask if they are a shop assistant.