Prince of York
Time Out says
The CBD gets its groove back with a big, booming multipurpose boozer care of some proven hospitality heavyweights
Are you one of those folk who let the dust settle on their dancing shoes post-lockouts? Maybe the only time you’ve cut the rug since 2014 was when you were a little loose at a wedding reception, or in your mate’s lounge room to the beat of a blaring UE Boom. We’re not here to admonish you (even though there’s still been plenty going on), but instead introduce you to the perfect party-transition bar, to warm you up for those inevitable (exciting) lockout rollbacks. Enter the Prince of York, in all its dancing glory.
Calling it nothing more than a ‘party bar’ would be to overlook the slick plates they’re slinging, the extensive natural wine list, the solid service and the talented team behind it all: Paul Schulte (former Keystone Group creative director), Ed Loveday and Andy Emerson (of ACME and Bar Brosé) and Sam Bull (now in the kitchen here, and previously of North Bondi Italian and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar) among them.
Get past the headset-sporting hostess at the door, and you’ll find yourself in a sprawling, low-lit warehouse of a space with metres of exposed brick and geometric prints that at first might seem a little disorienting. Take a lap, and you’ll figure out that upstairs is geared for eating and drinking, while the downstairs cellar and Pamela’s (more on that later) are engineered for late-night hijinks.
One look at the inclusive yet original Mediterranean-leaning menu lets you know this isn’t simply bar food. Start with a precursor for the long haul and order the halloumi, which is like the late-night snack of your dreams. A triangular wodge of oozy buffalo milk cheese comes glazed in honeycomb butter – it almost replicates the devilishly crisp ends of a personal pan pizza, with the cheese all salty and melty, while the honey mimics the dough’s subtle sweetness.
While there’s lots of serviceable charcuterie, cheese and tinned seafood as well, we’re here for the spaghetti in a bag. Yup, a baking paper bag that holds a tangle of al dente housemade pasta slicked in a simple tomato sugo with shreds of tender spanner crab throughout. Add in a bottle of Sicilian catarratto, which is clean, bright and crushable enough that you’ll want to order another bottle. You could dive deeper down the dinner end of the menu (the flank steak does the lean cut absolute justice, and the thick-cut chips are perfect for swiping through butter and jus) or get another bottle of wine, but the soundtrack on a Friday night of Black Box, Stardust and Cameo will lure you down below.
Here’s where you turn left for Pamela’s – a bar within a bar replete with pink velvet lounges, mirror balls overhead, deep purple neon lights and a rotating roster of DJs. If you want to go all out, you can opt for bottle-service tequila or mezcal. Turn right for the cellar bar, a more subdued cocktail lounge, with houndstooth stools and blown-up party snaps on the walls by photographer Stephen Dupont. Cocktail wise, you can go with Spritzes, bottled options or signatures.
We opt for a signature M.I.A., which brings big smoke on the nose courtesy of Derrumbes mezcal. You’ll detect a savoury and bitter backbone of hops, plus passionfruit and citrus – we just wish there was a hint more fruit or acidity to help us navigate the wham of smokiness upfront. The Peach Leaf Fizz hits the balance better, a tall glass of soda punched up with gin and syrupy sweet peach-leaf orgeat, with frothy aquafaba stepping in to add some texture. As the night progresses, people flock to Pamela’s for a boogie (“The tables are all terrazzo so you can dance on them if you want”), and we’re all about the grown-up yet frivolous feel of the place, one that’s been missing from the CBD for quite some time.
Prince of York is a place you can eat, drink and dance: a good-times-focused bar and mod brasserie that makes the offer of Friday night after-work drinks more tempting, whether you’re 24 or 44 years old. It may not boast stunning views or the best cocktails in the CBD, but it’s got groove, and it’s the perfect place to reacquaint yourself with the beat of the city.
18 York St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-midnight; Sat 4pm-midnight; Pamela’s Wed-Sat 4pm-midnight|