Summer’s over. It’s the pits – although we are lucky to live in a city where the warmer months linger and the outdoors continues to be enticing for a few more months.

Even with the heat dissipating, it’s thirsty work, this living. Thank goodness a couple of new bars have opened to help out.

If you like a side of theatrics with your cocktails you’ll have to check out the fine looking 1950s Vegas-inspired cocktail bar Maybe Sammy. The drink with the most emphatic jazz hands is the show-stopping New Frontier (with Calle 23 Blanco Tequila, Derrumbes mezcal, fino sherry and apple). It’s served with a clear inflated bag that’s popped on arrival to release a whiff of coffee essence and a scratchie that could win you a free bar snack.

But if you’re a little more low-key, perhaps head for Golden Gully. Opened by a guy with a track record for running a successful inner-west neighbourhood bar (Glebe’s The Little Guy) it’s exactly what Leichhardt needed: a comfortable, easygoing place to get a decent drink and some chitchat.

Similarly, Dulwich Hill, also in the inner west, has been quietly building its small-bar scene. The General Eatery & Supplies has reopened in the evenings as a bar, and around the corner, the Sausage Factory – a delightful spot where you can get beers, gourmet sausages and hand-knitted sausage decorations (true) – is now selling a kooky range of small-batch beers it makes in a small closet at the back of the factory. Butchers Brew is the latest to join the scene, rounding off the small-bar holy trinity (food, drinks and entertainment) by offering music. And best of all, you can see emerging Sydney artists and Australian greats for a tenner.

The city-wide contemporary art festival Art Month, on from March 7 to 30, celebrates its 10th birthday this year with exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, artist studio visits, tours, precinct nights and a party or two. March Dance is a month-long collision of independent Sydney dance artists and organisations presenting new works at venues across town. There will be more than 50 dance events over 31 days by nine companies and 45 artists.

Don’t miss the boundary-pushing All About Women festival, happening at the Opera House on International Women’s Day. Among the long list of impressive speakers is the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama; Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Emily Steel; and Sohaila Abdulali, a writer and former rape-crisis-centre worker.

If you’re trying to decide where to eat, try Alberto’s Lounge. It opened late last year and feels like it’s always been here. In fact, let’s stick to an Italian theme and add Totti’s to this list. It opened in the back of Bondi’s dive pub The Royal. And Don Peppino’s for trad food (think rustic dishes) in a boisterous, fun setting with a very cool wine list.

This story originally appeared in Sydney Print Issue 17.