All rounder is not an insult, especially when it’s describing a neighbourhood party bar that knows how to keep things cruisey in the early part of the week and ramp it up for a blow out at the pointy end. And that is a particular skill of Freda’s, the Chippendale bar tucked out of sight off Regent Street just down from the White Rabbit Gallery.
Head here on a school night and gentle disco and house mixes are kept at comfortable chatting volume – put this on your first-date bar list – and they’re projecting a wood fire behind the decks to give the industrial space a cosy vibe.
Thursdays through Saturdays it’s a whole other story. You could find yourself at a night of Italo pop, or maybe some psychedelic synth pop. You might catch a Madonna-themed rager, or a line-up of ’90s R’n’B anthems that will see you shake out that desk-bound hump. It’s a licensed lucky dip.
They do good work with cocktails of the short and boozy variety. If your usual order is a Negroni, try branching out with a Dirty Old Pal. Bowmore whisky, red vermouth and Campari make for a bittersweet threesome that you’ll be keen to do again immediately. Follow it up with a 50/50 Sazarac that balances rye with Cognac with the fresh firepower of absinthe and bitters.
We appreciate that using pre-made juices saves time and space, but when you’re charging $18 for a Southside that tastes like lemonade it’s probably not worth the convenience. Stick to booze-heavy cocktails or opt for a nip of the mellow, smoky Reposado Mezcal from Ilegal for undiluted holiday vibes.
Unless you’re drinking the house pour, wines start at the ten-dollar mark, and sparkling is $12 a glass, so if pay day is still a while off order a toasty, malty stout from Mountain Goat, a Young Henrys Newtowner, the light, bright 4 Pines Kolsch or crack a tinnie of Tecate or VB from the fridge.
The bar food menu was designed by Georgia Woodyard, normally found at our favourite spot for a tin mug of soup, Scout’s Honour. Za’atar dusted wings with yoghurt are a welcome spin on a ubiquitous bar snack, or if it’s comfort food you’re craving, a crisp toasted round roll packed with tasty mince, a little cheese and two pickle spears on the side makes for a sloppy joe that isn’t so sloppy that you’ll end up wearing rather than eating it.
It used to be that the Abercrombie was Chippendale’s party hub – when it closed we feared for loose nights in the 2008. Then Freda’s stepped up and brought just the right balance of date nights and boozy fun to keep the good times rolling in this buzzy pocket of inner Sydney.