The Bear

Bars Haymarket
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Chinatown welcomes its first laneway bar

Take a walk down dark and dodgy Thomas Lane and look for the flashing Christmas tree in lieu of a security guard manning the door. You’ve found The Bear, a small bar with a Scandinavian twist where English owner Andy Curtis will give you a warm and chatty welcome.

Occupying the old storeroom of a patisserie shop the bar can barely fit thirty people. On a busy night, punters spill next door into the Bear’s kitchen. And they’re OK with that.

Pictures of Swedish actor Peter Stomare, the Swedish chef from the Muppets and lots of bear references (including a giant bear head) decorate the space. A video of snow falling on leafless tress is projected opposite the bar. Order a house- made fondue pot and imagine you’re holidaying in a ski cabin in The Alps.

The music here is cheesy with anything from Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl to 70s Brit pop classics lilting over the speakers. It’s embarrassing how many words you know after a few Margaritas.

The cocktail list is split into signatures and classics, all at $16 a pop. None are particularly groundbreaking but that’s not what the Bear is all about. It’s about fun and not being intimidated to order a cocktail named Snow Candy that tastes like strawberry Nesquik.

Hungry? Hot dogs and Swedish meatballs are on offer, or ask Curtis to order you dumplings from Chinese Noodle House down the road, and they’ll deliver to the bar.

The Bear is a work in progress with the potential to be a great drinking hole. For now it’s worth leaving hibernation purely for the opportunity to dance around with a bear head on to Peter Andre. You know you want to.

By: Alex Adams


Venue name: The Bear
Address: 730 George St
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight
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