Two barefoot girls are dancing as if they’ve just dropped acid at Woodstock, a great funk band are playing (their guest harmonica player for the night is Robert Susz from The Dynamic Hepnotics), thick red drapes cover the corner windows to add to the intimate atmosphere and yet, even though this is a Saturday night, there is no cover charge. Then again, the Macquarie Hotel – which has live funk bands every night – never has a door charge, making it one of our favourite live venues in Sydney.
The Mac is certainly more casual than most of the bars we review and so while we usually tuck straight into the cocktails this is more of a wine, spirits and beer place – and we’re emphasizing the beer as The Mac has its own microbrewery (Schwartz Brewery) on site. The type of Schwartz beers they have on tap seems to vary – when we were last there we tried both the pilsener (which was a little too fruity for my taste, although my friends liked it) and the Summer Time pale ale, which I preferred.
Aside from the beer, dancing hippies and thick red drapes, the highlight is the small circular bar counter (which adds character) and the intimate atmosphere. Despite the live music this is still a place where you can conduct conversations although if the front room is too loud for you, there are also lounges in a side room. Up until now The Mac also had an upstairs bar/live music venue called Raval but that has now unfortunately closed.
If you’re hungry you can get food from Alice’s “Thai and continental” restaurant, which is part of the hotel. For those who were wondering, the word continental basically means that in addition to a large array of Thai dishes you can also order burgers, pasta, crumbed fish and steak. Finally, if you need to sleep off your continental food there’s accommodation upstairs (the rooms are apparently furnished with antiques) – prices range from $88 for a standard single.
This being Bar Zine and not Accommodation Zine, however, the reason we’re giving this bar a thumbs up is because it’s a lively place to drink and for its support of live music – and funky music at that. If you feel like jiving, grooving and letting it all hang out, check this out.
The Macquarie Hotel (The Mac), 42 Wentworth Avenue (corner of Goulburn Street), Surry Hills. Phone 8262 8888 or see The Mac website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate The Mac?