The problem with going to a different bar every week is that you rapidly become a snob.
Bars that I would have thought were awesome just four years ago are now, in my eyes, meh. To make my snobbishness even worse, the quality of Sydney bars has also increased, giving my expectations yet another pretentious push. Our cocktail lists have become more sophisticated, the level of service is usually higher, plus the small bar movement – complete with retro outfittings – has lost its novelty and is now simply another business model (albeit a business model that I’m incredibly glad Sydney can now use).
All of which is a long winded way of saying I would have adored Hazy Rose a few years ago – whereas now I …
Well, let’s start with what I like:
- The décor – It has retro lamps, old comfy sofas and chairs, and a table with a backgammon surface for nerds like me. It’s textbook small bar décor, but the backgammon table pushes this over the line so that I still approve.
- The cocktails – I opt for the Ruby Americano (red grapefruit juice, Campari, sweet vermouth) whereas my gay wingman goes for the Whisky Sour. Both are well made, well priced at $15, and I love the large chunks of ice in each glass that are used instead of icecubes.
- It has friendly service. Possibly too friendly for a Friday night, as the GW and I end up waiting … and waiting … while the staff talks to customers and friends. Yet when it’s our turn to be served, the bartender is so genuinely nice – and fast at making drinks – that even a grumpy old man such as myself has to forgive the wait. Almost.
The music, however, is too loud for old men such as myself and the GW. Although this bar has a speakeasy feel, you can’t speak easy in here because the music is cranked up. The music choice itself is eclectic – I love the Led Zeppelin – but some other stuff they play sounds a bit top 40 for me. And yes, I know how pretentious that makes me sound.
Also, even though there is standing room in this bar, I think you really need to be able to snag a table to enjoy Hazy Rose. For the first half of our drinks the GW and I are standing and bitching, but once a table clears and we can sit and relax, Hazy Rose all of a sudden feels more civilised.
The thing with a bar is that you need magic for it to work. Sometimes you bring the magic with you – you’re with someone you have the hots for (sorry GW, but you don’t boil my potatoes), or you’re in a mood where even a McDonalds Junior Burger tastes like wagyu – and sometimes the bar supplies it. Hazy Rose has all the trimmings of a cool bar – but for some reason the GW and I just don’t feel the magic. Perhaps if we had gone during the week when it’s probably less crowded, or if the music was a bit quieter, or if we’d been served a bit faster, it still would have clicked.
But that’s just me and the GW – so I suggest that you, dear reader, should check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. I’m hoping you disagree with me.
Hazy Rose, 83 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst. Open Tuesday to Sunday. See the Hazy Rose website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Hazy Rose?
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