THANKFULLY we have come a long way from the beer nut as bar snack and dude food, as the modern alternative, has hopefully slipped off it’s greasy perch.
The modern bars, and there are plenty of them popping up around Sydney at the moment, are being just as creative with bar food in the kitchen as they are focusing on the delicious drinks being served from behind the bar.
While local distilleries, such as the year-old Archie Rose and even younger Young Henry’s, are pumping out handcrafted spirits, chefs and clever cooks are creating ideal matches for something a bit more creative than a G&T.
So check out our top picks of bars in Sydney and the state.
CBD AND SUBURBS
Since I Left You, CBD
Another small bar with big food offerings, scuh as the vodka and thyme cured scotch fillet, horseradish cream, pickled octopus, nduja and piquillo peppers and pulled pork toastie with slaw.
388 Kent St, Sydney, 9262 4986, sinceileftyou.com.au
Busby Bar, Darlinghurst
The new cool and cosy bar and private dining room under Riley St Garage offers carefully considered champagnes, aperitifs, digestives and whiskey matched with plates of oysters, imported cheeses and charcuterie, plus late night desserts.
Busby Bar, 55 Riley St, Woolloomooloo, 9326 9055, rileystgarage.com.au
Salt Meats Cheese, Ultimo
A new concept from the Alexandria deli kings which offers a full cocktail bar and menu featuring New York-style burgers in southern Italian street-style food. Think a seasoned roast beef “Tagliata” burger with melted cheddar, rocket, parmesan and balsamic glazed tomato chutney or polenta gratín baked with cheese sauce and Italian sausage ragú. There will also be a mega Nutella dessert menu and pre-batched cocktails to take home, including Mezcal Negroni and Elderflower Spritz presented in perfume-like bottles.
68 Bay St, Ultimo, 9690 1065, saltmeatscheese.com.au
Lazy Suzie, East Sydney
Devon Cafe’s Zacharay Tan has opened a Malaysian hawker-style street food restaurant and bar in Stanley St, Darlinghurst offering bar dishes such as “pie tee’, pastry cups filled with braised shitake, yam bean, carrot and mud crab or fried chicken wings, belacan, with citrussy calamansi dipping sauce to go with Asian-inspired mocktails and cocktails, including the Kopitiam, a combination of Pierre Ferrand Cognac, cold drip coffee liqueur, coconut and cardamom and an espresso shot, or the Penang Blazer, Cubaney Spiced Rum, dessert wine, macadamia, banana leaf, Burlesque & Peychaud’s Bitters.
78 Stanley St, Darlinghurst, 7901 0396
Hunter Gatherer, North Sydney
The owners of Bondi’s The Corner House and Panama House are launching their latest bar and eatery later this month. Head chef Paul “Mick” Micklewright will offer a rotating menu to include mains of Bannock-burn free-range chicken with olives, lemon, confit garlic, thyme and verjus and lighter dishes such as spiced eggplant, haloumi and tomato salad with parsley and chickpeas or roast bone marrow served with onion jam and a toasted baguette.
Greenwood Plaza Rooftop, 36 Blue St, North Sydney, 9964 9766
Cantina De Mad Mex, Kotara
An upmarket version of Mad Mex street eats. Forget boring burritos, the food philosophy here is about creating the best Baja-style food using authentic Mexican recipes and products. Try a papas criollas (South American fried potatoes, served salted with roasted tomato salsa and
sour cream) or Jalapeño Rellenos (fried cream cheese-filled Poppers) served alongside cócteles (cocktails) including a fresh coconut mojito or a El Santo Margarita with Don Julio tequila, fresh lime and orange juice with a chilli and lime salted rim.
Westfield Kotara, Northcott Dr and Park Ave, Kotara, madmex.com.au
Easy Eight, CBD
While the cobblestoned laneway off Clarence St hides The Baxter Inn whisky bar and back entrance to The Barber Shop the newcomer here is Easy Eight from the same team that brought Mojo Record Bar to the small bar scene in 2012. Easy Eight offerings include chopped slaw with buttermilk and dill or a brisket bagel with grilled cheese and pickles matched with a popcorn old fashioned cocktail with a popcorn-infused bourbon and maple syrup, or the Apple Pie with vodka, apple and pie crust.
152-156 Clarence St, via the laneway at the back of Baxter’s Inn, Sydney,facebook.com/EasyEightSydney
Bar Chinois, Chippendale
It’s chinoiserie, hip, chic, French-Asian fusion and located in a two-storey terrace house right smack bang in the middle of the street. A French-Asian fusion bar serving up artisan cocktails and food. Open from the early morning until late at night, Kensington Street’s first terrace house bar provides an all-day hang out spot and rotating events calendar.
Don’t expect the folk on Costa Centrale to miss out on a decent bar and menu scene as a contingent of boys from The Pocket Bar have moved north to sunnier climes with world champion cocktail maker Mike Tomasic at the helm of the Central Coast coolest tapas bar and cocktail lounge. The seachanger who was at Bondi Beach’s Mr Moustache has signature cocktails including the Japanese Michelada, a variation on the atypical Mexican and food offerings of everyhting from La Boqueria chorizo with eschallot and Pedro Ximenez sherry reduction to saganaki, ouzo flambe king prawns with tomato, chilli and fetta or woodfired, paprika-rubbed grain-fed beef tenderloin with polenta cubes and salsa verde con aguacate.
3-5 Kurrawyba Ave, Terrigal, 4385 3100
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co, Byron Bay
Chef Sean Connolly has spread his wings beyond The Morrion in the George St to team up with hotelier Fraser Short at this Byron icon. Expect Sean’s bar snacks of chicken lollipops with chilli and molasses dip, crab and lettuce tacos, peel ‘n’ eat Yamba prawns with tomato blush mayonnaise and a raw plate of tuna, kingfish, petuna ocean trout, organic soy, wasabi.
Cnr of Lawson and Johnson streets, Byron Bay, 6680 9666, balcony.com.au
The Gantry, Walsh Bay
Former Biota chef Joel Bickford (right) has just launched his new autumn menu at The Gantry, Pier One. Standout bar food includes oysters with finger lime and nahm jim, Maloolabah prawns from the grill.
Pier One Sydney Harbour, 11 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, 8298 9910, thegantry.com.au
It’s all class with the classic gourmet pairing of champagne and caviar being served next Wednesday, April 13 at Montagne Restaurant where diners will be enjoy Moët Rosé Impérial Champagne and Gourmet House Imperial Caviar as part of an exclusive four-course menuin the Parisien-style bar and bistro.
Fairfield RSL, 14 Anzac Ave, Fairfield, 9727 5000, fairfieldrsl.com.au
The Rabbit Hole, Barangaroo South
The Rabbit Hole opens its second tea room and eat street at Barangaroo South in June. While the current Redfern venue’s tea menu includes original teas, seasonal tea and tea lattes, dishes include a signature lavender shortbread, black tea-infused beef and pickle sandwich, earl grey chocolate cake and green tea noodle soup.
Shop 8, 23 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo South and 146 Abercrombie St, Redfern,therabbithole.com.au
The Resident, Elizabeth St, CBD
The Lotus Group’s new The Resident residential and retail development, across from Hyde Park, is also set to launch in June with a menu by chef Pablo Tordesillas (ex Ortiga Restaurant, Brisbane). The Resident will feature a Mediterranean menu showcasing Tordesillas’ style of Spanish cuisine focusing on share plates.