Amidst the hustle and bustle of Goulburn Street’s Haymarket end, is nestled a brand new hidden bar gem, worthy of any nightlife veteran’s attention.
Sydney’s arts community are flocking to this new Redfern small bar, named for a unique Eurasian songbird, rather than a hirsute mammary.
Twilight outdoors, taken with a refreshing Pimms Cup laden with ginger ale, mint and an apple garnish, skewered with quality, and decorated with a yellow, wooden heart.
Gherkin for garnish and pickled brine in the cocktail, because I made my Filthy Martini choice: gin. A vodka 'tini at new bar and restaurant Wilcox would bring with it caperberry and caper brine.
What struck me as a sports bar heaved a collective (and gutturally Germanic) sigh of relief when the throbbing mass of suits - there for Happy Hour $12 jugs of Heineken (between 5pm and 7pm weekdays) - gave way to couples and casual, relaxed diners.
The vibrant Mexican Day of the Dead decorations beckon from outside on Darling Street by day, but it’s by night when the colourful Cantina Bar really comes alive. You know our modus operandi: we usually like to pull up a stool at the bar, but at this gig, the rest of the room rocks with intimate high timber tables and stools, so take your premium place anywhere.
There’s a reason we were perched around the end of the bar. We were huddled up close as we could to the Ardbeg cabinet: Ardbeg 10-year-old ($12); Uigeadail ($15); Alligator ($23); the confronting Corryvreckan ($24); the tamer Blasda ($26); Ardbeg Day Bottling ($16) and Supernova ($26) are all on offer.
Bon Iver. Arcade Fire. Bombay Bicycle Club. “This could be my playlist,” my bar bloke illuminated as we juiced up on the real underground business: good booze.
Falling into that strange nether region between pub and restaurant, the latest incarnation of this beautiful sandstone building takes up where The Montpellier Public House left off.