There’s a stuffed ferret standing metres from where I’m drinking my caipirinha. Pert, feisty and somewhat glazed, I suspect that ferret symbolises all that is good and different about The Dock, Redfern’s latest small bar.
After all, the macho antler horns and bull’s heads that you see in other bars wouldn’t suit The Dock’s underdog feel. Or perhaps I should say underferret. Located next door to an electrical outlet shop near Redfern’s train station, The Dock’s decor has a charming low-rent appeal: think exposed brick walls, a dartboard, lights that look like old street lamps on the wall (these are the fanciest fixtures), ancient leather sofas, an old piano and barrels. To complete the atmosphere, rock and roll music plays on a record player behind the bar. All these ingredients could have created yet another try-hard hipster bar but here they somehow work perfectly. In fact, it genuinely feels so down at heel that I find The Dock strangely comforting – perhaps because it reminds me of my apartment, only without the snarling cat.
Then again, one thing I have in my apartment that The Dock doesn’t is a muddling stick, as I realised while watching the bartender muddle the lime for my caipirinha with the flat end of a bar spoon. This isn’t ideal (I like my limes to be pulverised) but the result still works. It’s not the best caipirinha I’ve ever had, but it’s decent and I can’t argue with the $10 price that applies to all cocktails on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
The service is also great – both the guys working here seem genuinely friendly, which alone makes me warm to this bar. They also serve Carter, a New Zealand lager so obscure that even my alcoholic Kiwi friend with an obsession for his country’s beers has never heard of it. It’s not bad for $5 though and good on a hot Sydney night. It also goes with the bowl of popcorn they serve with drinks. Other drink options include the Flaming Moe (a shot made with absinthe and a secret ingredient) and two beer cocktails, one of which involves adding Skittles to it. I’ve heard several people rave about this but I’m giving it a miss.
In short, The Dock is a great little bar for those who don’t take their cocktails seriously. If I lived in the area I’d no doubt make it my local – although I’d also probably bring my muddling stick with me.
The Dock, 182 Redfern Street, Redfern.
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Now it’s your turn – how do you rate The Dock?