I know I don’t write enough about bar food. It’s partly because I’m too cheap to spend money on anything other than hard liquor and partly because … actually, it’s mainly because I’m cheap. However, I do often go back to the bars to update the reviews and sooner or later I sometimes even give in to hunger and eat something. As such, here are my favourite alcoholic dining options:
The Dip soul-food diner at Goodgod
I’ve got to be honest – I’ve done a complete 360 on this club. When I first saw Goodgod I was apprehensive to say the least (the strings of coloured lights and white grottos are an acquired taste). Now I love it – and the American-style food that they make in the diner down the back (which they call The Dip) is one of the reasons.
To start with, they make the best hotdog I’ve ever had. Ever. Better than the dog I had at Pink’s in LA. Better than the dogs I devoured at Gray’s Papaya in NYC. Better than … ok, I’ve done enough shameless sausage-related travel-name dropping, but you get the gist. The Dip’s Lev’s Dawg is smoky, kosher (although I’m not sure why that’s a good thing), served with chipotle mayo, tomato salsa and grilled yellow peppers and comes in a steamed bun that’s so fluffy and spongy that it would be disgusting if it didn’t work so beautifully (you can see a photo of it below). Their pulled pork nachos are also awesome for those who want something to share.
Goodgod bar / The Dip, Basement, 53-55 Liverpool Street, Chinatown, Sydney. Open Wednesday until 1am, Thursday until 2am, Friday until 5am, Saturday until 5am. See the Goodgod website
I suspect a lot of people don’t realise just how good the food at Grasshopper is. We all think of it as a bar (and it’s a great bar at that) but I had the best steak of my life in its upstairs French-style restaurant. At the risk of pissing off vegetarians everywhere, this was a piece of meat that made me realise there is a point to life. And it is to eat more steak.
Grasshopper, Temperance Lane (between 389 and 391 George Street), Sydney CBD. Open Monday to Friday. See the Grasshoppper website or phone 9947 9025 for more details
I didn’t even think there was a point in eating fried chicken wings until I ate them in this bar/bistro above The Flinders. I now know better.
Duke Bistro, 65 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst. See the Duke Bistro website. Open Tuesday to Saturday.
Norfolk and The Excelsior
I’m mentioning both these bars in the same paragraph because I like them for the same reason – their tacos. They’re cheap ($5 at the Excelsior, $5.50 at Norfolk), they’re a world away from the crap that so many Mexican restaurants serve, and they soak up alcohol beautifully. Having said that, I am also partial to the Mexican at Café Pacifico.
The Norfolk Hotel, 305 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills (corner of Walker Street). See the Norfolk Hotel website
The Excelsior / El Loco Cantina. 64 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills. Open Monday-Saturday until late, and Sunday until 10pm. See the El Loco website here.
Rockpool Bar and Grill
If you’re suited up and in need of a burger in between mergers then the CBD’s Rockpool Bar and Grill is the place to go. The $24 burger is made with wagyu beef and comes with bacon, gruyere cheese and zuni pickle. It’s possibly the best burger in Sydney.
Rockpool Bar & Grill, 66 Hunter Street, Sydney. See the Rockpool bar website. Open Monday to Saturday.
The only thing as good as the Banana Old Fashioned cocktail in the upstairs bar (called Gardel’s) is the aroma of suckling pork and lamb that wafts from the open roasting pit in this Argentinean restaurant. Aside from the wood-fired pork and lamb, the grilled tuna with asparagus and charred jalapeño and garlic dressing is amazing.
Porteno / Gardel’s Bar, 358 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills. Phone 02 8399 1440 or see the Porteno website
Have I missed out on anything?
I’d love to know what you think – so if you reckon I left any bars out, then leave a comment below nominating your favourite bar to eat in: