Pop art (think Warhol and Lichtenstein) is painted on the walls; matchbooks, cards and other knickknacks are scattered under the glass-topped bar counter that doubles as a bookshelf and funk is playing from the sound system. This is Pocket Bar, a small edgy drinking den a block down from Oxford Street that feels more like a hipster’s warehouse space than a traditional bar.
On a Saturday night the place is full, from the retro 70s sofas and coffee tables down the back right through to the wooden benches toward the front. Squeezing myself into a space at the bar, I order the Paloma, a Mexican cocktail made from tequila, grapefruit soda and lime juice that’s apparently more popular in Mexico than margaritas. Served in a tall glass, the main flavour of this cocktail is of the pink grapefruit soda, which masks the tequila to a surprising degree. If you don’t like the taste of alcohol then this is the drink for you.
However, I much prefer the 10 Cane daiquiri that I order when I come back the following Wednesday night (when the crowd has thinned enough for me to find a seat) – in fact, it’s possibly the best daiquiri I’ve ever had. Made from 10 Cane rum (other rums are available, but I prefer 10 Cane), fresh lime and a dash of sugar, it tastes fresh, tangy and is balanced so that it’s neither too sweet nor too sour. I’m also impressed that the bartender was knowledgeable enough to ask me questions such as whether I wanted the drink double strained or not (I opted for not).
If you want to eat then you’re looking at having either a savoury or dessert crepe, with fillings ranging from goats cheese and spinach to Nutella and strawberries. I opt for the ratatouille and goats cheese, which is great and surprisingly filling while the pastry itself is nice and light (although a friend of mine disagrees with me, saying the crepe she had was too thick). There are also dips and french fries, both of which do the trick (I try them during a later visit) plus there’s a breakfast menu available.
Despite the hip decor the atmosphere is friendly, casual and unpretentious, which is a welcome relief in a city like Sydney. Let’s just hope it remains this way.
Pocket Bar, 13 Burton Street (corner of Crown), Darlinghurst. Phone 9380 7002 or see the Pocket Bar website. Open everyday until midnight.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Pocket Bar?