Not to be confused with 34B, the burlesque club around the corner on Oxford Street, 13B is a small bar that, despite the lack of garter belts, still looks inviting enough for me to check out with my Fijian bodyguard on a Friday night.
Located next door to Pocket Bar, 13B has a more studied and polished feel. There’s a marble bar counter (complete with little lion heads on the side that have rings through their mouths), marble tables, polished black surfaces, candles (unlike most bars, 13B has long tapered candlesticks burning out of wall-mounted holders) and a great cabinet at the back filled with top-shelf whiskeys and tequilas. There’s also the word Safehouse painted on an inside wall, but due to legal reasons the bar is only called 13B.
There’s also a kitchen here with the menu offering Italian-style meals such as meatballs, prawn risotto, and a salami and prosciutto plate. Since the Fijian and I are on a liquid diet, however, I opt for the Caribbean Negroni (English Harbour rum, Campari, Cinzano) while my bodyguard tries the Burton Street Bellini (homemade apple and rhubarb syrup, Tanquerary 10 gin, lavender and grapefruit bitters, sparkling wine). When the waiter serves the bellini in a delicate flute I tell the bodyguard he’s not going to frighten anyone with that drink, but he says that all the clientele here seem to be non-threatening women in their twenties. I then point out that’s the demographic I’m most at risk from but he merely shrugs his shoulders, sips his bellini and tells me it’s not strong enough for him.
I don’t like bellinis as a rule but I do like the taste of this one – if you’re not after a hard drink then this would be perfect.
I’m certainly happy with my negroni, however – in fact, it’s actually smoother than I would have thought. I’d have assumed using rum rather than gin would make it more robust and sweet than your usual negroni but this is well balanced and beautiful to drink, with the rum complimenting the Campari well.
With its ambient music, candlelight and friendly service it’s hard not to recommend 13B – but as usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this bar.
13B, 13B Burton Street, Darlinghurst. Phone 9356 8718. Open seven days.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate 13B bar?