I honestly didn’t think I’d like The Bar At The End of the Wharf. I don’t know why. I guess it’s because I’m grumpy in my old age and have been to so many crappy bars in performance spaces that I didn’t trust the idea of a genuinely good cocktail bar in the Sydney Theatre Company building/wharf. And yet, I have to admit, I was wrong. I don’t like being wrong, but I do like this bar.
There are two reasons why. The first is the harbour view, which looks directly out onto Luna Park and the Harbour Bridge, as well as ferries scooting by in the night. The second is the cocktail list, which is right up my alley.
The list is filled with respectable classics such as the Old Fashioned and Vodka Gimlet as well as a few signature drinks such as By the Ears (house-infused coriander Beefeater gin, lemon juice, sugar and Perrier Jouet Champagne – $12).
I try the sazerac (Jim Beam rye, Martell VSOP cognac, Peychaud’s bitters and sugar, with a Le Mercier Absinthe rinse – $18) while my black-clad companion opts for the Charlie Chaplin (Hayman’s Sloe Gin, apricot brandy and lime juice – $14).
Both cocktails are beautifully made. The sazerac is perfectly complex and smooth whereas the Charlie Chaplin is good for those with a sweeter tooth but yet still want a good, strong drink where you can taste the liquor.
The décor here is simple and clean, from the white tiles behind the cocktail bar and food counter to the single shelf of books on one wall. The only note of frippery is the ping pong table that’s so close to the edge that I’m sure there are already countless balls floating around the harbour. At the risk of being a spoil sport, I’m not so keen on the ping pong – the last thing I want while sipping a drink and watching a view is to fend off flying ping pong balls, which is what happens to me – but as I said before, I am a grumpy old man who needs something to complain about.
The food is relatively simple too: snacks include chicken liver pate and pickled plums ($10) as well as the wagyu beef and gruyere burger ($12), plus there’s heartier fare such as the slow roast pork neck with wet polenta and pecorino ($22).
Lastly, they also have an interesting selection of beer, ranging from a Foster’s tinnie for $6 to the Young Henry’s Natural Lager for $9. Whether a Foster’s belongs in the same bar as a beautifully crafted sazerac is another matter but, all grumpiness aside, this is a bar that’s done almost everything right.
The Bar At The End of the Wharf, Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. Open Monday to Saturday. See the The Bar At The End of the Wharf website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate this The Bar At The End of the Wharf?