Wow, it’s December (what the hell?), which means summer, festive parties and finishing off crazy amounts of work. I’m a huge fan of hot weather and think this season is when Sydney really shines. I mean, is there anything better than having a swim before or after work? Not only is it hugely energising, it helps nudge up that smug-meter. Read on for swimwear trends, the new eateries to visit if you need something to ease that inevitable December hangover, and where to stock up on presents and produce for Christmas. This is what I’ll be up to this month – follow my adventures here.

Where to go to soothe (and offset) your festive hangover
If, like us, your calendar is chock-a-block with Christmas catch ups and drinks, you’ll probably find this a handy guide to easing your sore head. We’ve visited five new fast-casual eateries and taste tested the menu to find the perfect hangover dishes – i.e. those loaded with salt, fat and flavour, and delivered fast.

My number-one pick is the life-saving baton (kebab) at Shwarmama in Surry Hills, while Broadsheet Sydney assistant editor Che-Marie Trigg suggests Mary’s at Pitt Street. “Unlike the other Mary’s venues, you can book – so if you’re in the middle of a big one now, reserve a table and make life a little easier for the hungover you of tomorrow. The hungover you of tomorrow will thank the reckless you of yesterday,” says Trigg.

The eight swimwear trends you need to know about
This summer, expect to see lots of retro stripe prints, high-cut one-pieces, Bond-inspired belted bikinis, asymmetrical designs and, best of all, sun-smart rashies that actually look cool. Read here for more tips on finding your water look.

Christmas markets
Pick up some design goodies at this year’s Finders Keepers Market. It’s at Barangaroo’s Cutaway from Friday December 6 to Sunday December 8, and will include more than 200 independent artists and designers showcasing their work, plus food, drinks and live music. You’ll be able to get ceramics, clothing, jewellery, art, plants – and everything in between.

For a more foodie affair, Carriageworks hosts its Christmas market on the Saturday before the big day (the 21st). You’ll be able to get sustainable seafood and fresh oysters from Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery stall; booze from Marrickville’s award-winning Wildflower brewery; and puddings, mince tarts and gingerbread from a Broadsheet fave, Woolloomooloo bakery Flour and Stone. There will be lots of regional provedores, too (which we should try to support in this horrible drought period). Get Christmas hams from Linga Longa Farm and Melanda Park, seasonal fruits (including cherries, mangos and stone fruits) from Kurrawong Organics and Drive In Orchards and poultry from Thirlmere Poultry Supply.

Regulars also include Cornersmith, Eat Me Chutneys, La Tartine bakery, Olsson’s salt, Pasta Emilia, Pecora Dairy, Pepe Saya, Two Good Co and Westmont Pickles. It happens from 8am to 2pm.

A hot new CBD restaurant to know about
The Gidley is the latest underground CBD diner with a focus on one style of meat, by the team that brought us the other subterranean CBD eatery celebrating one cut of meat. While Bistecca was all about the T-bone, this place is about Riverine Black Angus rib eye (done three ways) – although there’s lots of extras available on the menu, too.

“It’s dark and moody, and there are doors and corridors leading to different spaces. By the time you’re in the dining room you don’t know where the street is. We want it to feel like an extravagant dinner party in a stately home in the Southern Highlands,” co-owner James Bradey told us.

Looking for a new bar
It might sound kooky – and make no mistake, it is – but the drinks at new Chippendale bar Saga are legit. They've been made with a deft hand – perfect for sipping while you take in the outlandish surrounds. It's very Indiana Jones Temple of Doom, with lanterns hanging from vines and roots that sprawl across moodily lit stone-stacked walls. Just knowing Saga exists in Sydney makes me happy.

Sydney’s first zoo in more than 100 years
From December 7, you’ll be able to check out the residents at the brand new Sydney Zoo: four lions, three hyenas, a few orangutans, a couple of cheetahs, some zebras, 11 chimps and 13 baboons. The park will also be home to Australia’s biggest reptile and nocturnal animal house. The zoo is located in Blacktown, in Sydney’s west, and has been designed so punters can have a safari-like experience, with boardwalks, hidden barriers and no cages. It’ll have a large show arena, restaurants, kiosks, gardens and picnic areas, too. Could be a good one for the holidays later this month.

Watch out for Broadsheet’s Best Of 2019 lists
We’ll be rolling out our favourite restaurant, cafe and bar openings of the year throughout December, so if you don’t subscribe to the newsletters, click here so they land in your inbox.

In the meantime, check out our best new restaurants guide – an edit of the finest eateries that have opened in Sydney recently, updated each month. We’ve also got guides to the best new bars and best cafes.

Some of these venues are redefining the way we eat and drink and will go on to become classics. Others will be shorter lived yet loved in their moment. Either way, these are the spots we’re enjoying right now. Bookmark this page. Or use MyBroadsheet to organise your picks.

Radical tastemakers
In 2017, a couple of former Noma alumni, Lars Williams (former head of research and development) and Mark Emil Hermansen, set up Empirical Spirits to push the boundaries of flavour. They did it by applying scientific and culinary innovations based on the empirical method – resulting in some of the most unique beverages on earth.

Wine writer and co-owner of Enmore’s P&V Mike Bennie says, “Everything they produce is monumentally interesting, wildly inventive and technically challenging … These guys are the only ones in the world approaching distilled spirits with such technique, precision and a child-like sense of wonder.”

You can see if he’s right when Empirical's Ali Altinsoy hosts a masterclass at the shop on Thursday December 5 (6pm to 8.30pm). There are only 20 tickets and it includes an excursion to a nearby bar, where you can see how interesting the Empirical Spirits range is. I’d say you should book right now.

Sarah Norris is editor of Broadsheet Sydney and if you missed her picks from last month, check them out here.