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by Geoff Jaeger
posted 20/02/2014

Mardi Gras: A Moving Feast

Copy-of-hero-bw5-smallMarch to a different Mardi Gras beat with Maree Sheehan, on one of her Progressive Dining Walks – part of the official 2014 Mardi Gras Festival. Maree is a connected inner-city local who regularly visits a network of cafes, shops and galleries – and all for her latest business venture!

Sound glamorous? It is, especially if you’re lunching with Maree on a Friday, sharing good food and wine while debriefing your week. And it always seems to be a Friday when you’re out there running you’re own show and organising new events – just ask Maree.

Maree Sheehan is owner/operator of The Sydney Connection, a newly established business offering customised inner-Sydney walking tours, described as an adventure “for those who want to experience the lifestyle of ‘the locals’ in their natural habitat.”

Her regular tours take small groups of three or four through Sydney’s CBD, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Potts Point neighbourhoods. In the second half of 2013 Maree began working on her current Mardi Gras project where “guests can eat their way across several of Sydney’s ‘gay miles’” she says, “taking in some of Sydney’s top inner-city bars and restaurants…meet fellow foodies, taste the latest flavours and learn the gay history of each precinct.

Cocktail“We begin with a pre-dinner drink at a small funky bar, proceed to a tasty entree followed by an indulgent main, and end with a decadent cocktail dessert at a swanky salon. We might even sneak in a cheeky visit to Sydney’s famous Gelato Messina on the way home!”

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Maree’s lived in Sydney for the past fourteen years, first visiting the city aged 21 as a tourist. Dining out regularly at her local cafes and restaurants, she describes herself as “a voracious reader of the food press…always on the search for the next perfect flat white.”

Maree’s very candid about how The Sydney Connection began. “It first came into being…through an international internet date in July 2012. The date didn’t go anywhere, but he told me I was great at showing people around. I went home and googled ‘walking tours’, then spent six months talking to my friends and family about it.”

Maree didn’t wait long to then launch her business in January 2013. And why only small tours? “I didn’t want to be the person with the loud hailer and coloured T-shirt.”

Guest feedback from those who’ve been part of the first two Mardi Gras walks has been sensational. “My guests love that we change venues every 45 minutes. Even though many are local and eat out a lot, most hadn’t been to the places we visited. They love the concept of eating and walking around, becoming progressively happier on successive walks…

“They really like the fact that all the decisions are made for them, the menu, when to head off to their next destination…all they need do is choose their drinks.”

Pictured: A Carlotta at The Roosevelt.

You can book a Progressive Dining Walk on the either The Sydney Connection or Mardi Gras websites, but hurry, they only run until 27 February. Choose from two evening walks per week for the duration of the festival. Each walk provides four courses at four different bars and restaurants, with a limit of six guests per night: 6PM – 10PM.

Darlinghurst Rustic European – French, Spanish, Italian & Americano

Surry Hills Rice Hipster – Mod-Oz Asian & fine Italian wine

Potts Point Princess – Mod-Oz Asian, French, Italian, Classic 1950’s Cocktails



Almond BarA Tavola121 BCBar H, Bootleg Italian, Foley Lane, Hinky Dinks,  LL’s Wine & Dine, Longrain Bunker Bar, Love Tilly Devine, Mahjong Room, The Roosevelt, Wilbur’s Place, Velluto.

(Homepage image shows Hinky Dinks)

Book www.thesydneyconnection.com.au  / www.mardigras.org.au

Email maree@thesydneyconnection.com.au

Call  +61 435 050 367



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