It’s September and – right on cue – Sydney has decided to turn it on. The sunlight’s glinting on the harbour, that enormous sky is scattered with a few strands of cloud and, in the middle of it all, some Italian blokes are making cocktails.

The Island Bar’s deckchairs are open and the blue and white umbrellas unfurled for its fourth year on Cockatoo Island. Proprietor Marco Faraone has assembled a crack team led by Stefano Catino who’ll seat you, feed you pizza and mix you drinks, all the while wearing shorts.

Faraone brought out his old mate Catino directly from the Italian Riviera especially for the job, and the man’s infectious personality makes it easy to see why. But even Catino admits that it’s not all fun in the sun at the Island Bar. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s very hard,” he says. “Because this is an island, everything you see is probably being carried by me or Marco in our hands. We have a little boat – the name of the boat is the Negroni, like the cocktail.”

Besides the Negroni, you’ll find a cocktail list populated by “refreshing, simple and not too sweet” aperativo-style cocktails designed to be drunk on a summer’s day. Their Able Seaman cup, with vodka, sweet vermouth, passionfruit and lemon, is very popular, as is the Hello Sailor, which includes Sailor Jerry spiced rum with ginger beer and fresh lime.

But be warned, while the season’s only just begun, The Island Bar is already jumping with pirate parties from the mainland.

Opening Hours:
September and October
Friday and Saturday 12.30pm–9pm
Sunday 12.30pm–7pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 12.30pm–7.30pm
Friday and Saturday 12.30pm–9pm
  December and January – open seven days
Monday to Saturday noon–9pm
Sunday and public holidays noon–7.30pm