They're calling it a cured diner, and it’s a smart format: a small handful of dishes to support a larger cured meat menu, good cocktails and nice wines. It’s an attractive little place. Most of the inside is taken up with a grand counter of glossy tiles lined with big comfy retro diner chairs lit by '40s-style frosted glass shades which hang overhead. The only other decorations are the hanging salumi.
Unless you’re treating yourself to miscellaneous rotisserie-sliced meats or awesome Portuguese chicken chains, late-night dining options in Kings Cross can be a little thin on the ground. But Crane Bar is looking to change that, with a fresh mix of Japanese food aimed at the after-ten crowd and a Yuzu Sour that is a refreshing variation on the lemon Warhead theme that many bars try to dole out.
Blowtorching the serving ware is just the beginning of the dinner entertainment at this theatrical cocktail bar hidden out the back of the Kirketon Hotel in Darlinghurst. A show-stopping Bloody Mary is fresh and light, not weighed down by the heavy pulp in commercial tomato juices. Seasoning is intentionally restrained, otherwise the little piles of salt, black pepper and paprika on your tray would serve no purpose, nor the tiny bottle of Tabasco if you like yours hot. But nothing tops the creative flair displayed in a Riverstream. Mezcal adds a herbal smokiness to calvados, which is then chilled over a frozen river stone and finished with a cloud of eucalyptus and citrus oil made with liquid nitrogen.
A night at Henrietta Supper Club probably will go through to the wee hours of the next day. The late night licence in an area strangled by lockout restrictions means it’s a favourite haunt of bartenders and chefs who’ve just finished their shift. On the classics list you’ve got a Puritan, a Chartreuse Martini that’s as prim and buttoned down as the name suggests but boasts an energising dry, bitter smack. Or you can let your problems drift away with a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club that doubles down on the tropical flavours of a straight Daiquiri with falernum syrup and dry curacao.
Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in office from 1933-1945, was the 32nd. The Roosevelt in Potts Point has never been commander in chief, but in its arsenal is a seriously good liquid-nitrogen Martini, called the Continental. They take the hard decisions out of the equation by using vodka and gin, Cocchi Americano in place of vermouth and a little Chartreuse to add more herbal complexity to your drink. The serving suggestion recommends an oyster on the side, and it’s solid advice –hell, why not make it two of the plump and briny little bivalves.
First things first: book. Do not try to just walk up to this place as you will in all likelihood be denied entry by the door girl because the place is at capacity. To be fair, she’s downstairs and does ensure you don’t drag yourself up seven flights of stairs only to be greeted with a packed-out balcony. So that’s a plus. Sweethearts Rooftop BBQ can be found at the lofty heights above the Sugarmill Hotel. They've taken the humble, backyard barbie and raised it up above the chaos of the Cross to a rooftop packed with picnic tables, strings of colourful lights and the odd pot plant – you'd never know you were sitting on top of the red light district.