What a year. It feels like I roll that line out every December, but this time it feels particularly true. So much has happened in our city in the last 12 months. Venues are opening at lightening speed, in every corner of Sydney. Yes, our nightlife scene incurred a blow thanks to the new lockout laws, but small bars continue to crop up, seemingly against all odds. Food trends have swept through like wildfire, leaving doughnut, fried chicken and cronut crumbs in their wake, and the city’s galleries have proved themselves to be wide reaching in their search for intriguing, thought-provoking and exhilarating talent.

Let’s tie a neat knot in the strings of all the above before we collapse on a beach towel somewhere this summer. Here’s a wrap-up of the venues you’ve lined up for, the people we’ve profiled who have contributed to making the city what it is and the events that have shaped 2014.

Openings
Last year was the year of the snake, but 2014 was the year of the new restaurant. They open so fast it’s a hefty task keeping on top of them all. Mark Best’s Melbourne restaurant Pei Modern made the move up north to our Four Seasons Hotel, while Nic Wong, Jonathan Barthelmess and Sam Christie’s Cho Cho San was hotly anticipated, and one of our favourites for the year. Mary’s in Newtown opened a new, takeaway branch in the CBD recently, and when we walked past the other day the lunch line stretched for 100 metres down the street. Canberra’s Hotel Hotel was another highlight this year, and one for your holiday list, especially because Sean McConnell’s Monster restaurant is about to move into its new, expansive dining space inside the hotel, and James Turrell is blowing minds at the NGA. Opera Bar, which has stood a little stagnant for the past 13 years, has just been relaunched, with Matt Moran's menu, and it's damn exciting to see that place refreshed. 121BC's chef Mitch Orr branched out and started the best thing to hit Rushcutters Bay in too long, ACME, and we're working our way quickly through his pasta menu. If you’ve still got some cafes on your must-try list, [see our guide to the year’s best openings here.] Kylie Kwong has entered a brand new era, with a fresh new space for Billy Kwong in Potts Point. (http://www.broadsheet.com.au/sydney/guides/best-new-cafes-sydney-2014) Also, been to Double Bay’s brand new hotel yet? It’s filled to the brim with gin.

People
For the cover of our quarterly print issues, we tend to hone in on the skills of one person or group who are particularly talented in their chosen field. This year, one of the country’s most innovative architects and interior designers, Kelvin Ho graced our spring issue, while Maurice Terzini’s protégé, Orazio d'Elia gazed steely-eyed from our winter issue, as he chatted about the success of his restaurant, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta. It’s an exciting time for Anna Schwartz Gallery, as Melburnian curator Melissa Loughnan was appointed gallery director in the lead up to next year. We can’t wait to see how she develops there. We peeked into Ben Quilty’s paint-splattered studio in the Southern Highlands right before he exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London, and spent time with the King of Vegetables Himself, Yotam Ottolenghi, while he was in town to speak at the Sydney Opera House.

Fashion
Shine bright like a diamond, our metallics fashion editorial styled by Sarah Banger and shot by Nick Blair made us feel all shimmery this season. Over Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year we took a peek into the life of a young model just starting out, and also took a second to consider our lingerie collection.

Events
The inner west has always been a hotbed of creativity, but the Young Henrys Small World Festival was one highlight of the year, and gave us a taste of its soon-to-be-released gin. There’s no question a lot of fingers are crossed that The Grounds’ pop-up cafe by Sculpture by the Sea spells a second, eastern-located cafe, but no news on that front yet. In the art world, Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration at the MCA is still showing in its large-format glory, while Pop to popism at the AGNSW brightened up the end of the year for us amid all that damned rain. The Biennale of Sydney went ahead despite protest and controversy and still managed to deliver something quite beguiling, while Vivid wrapped up its festival this year with record crowds of 1.43 million ogling the blaze of lights and performance. The 80 live music shows including Pet Shop Boys and a bunch of studio parties proved that it’s not just for the tourists after all. Oh, and if you didn't make it to the Cat Film Festival, here's hoping there'll be a second round next year.

Trends
This year, we’ve seen more cookies on cafe counters than we thought possible, fried chicken on every second restaurant menu, Bloody Marys kicked up a notch and meatballs rolling around from Potts Point to the CBD. And have you heard that soft serve is back? If you’re wondering what our pick for the next big trend in food for next year is. It’s Indian. Watch this space.