The people of Mosman don’t want for much. The waterside suburb with its million dollar views – and property prices to match – has long been the jewel of the North, and now its residents have one more thing to be smug about: the Buena.
The Buena is the latest offering from the Public House Management Group, who’ve been snapping up historic Sydney pubs of late, including the Woollahra Hotel and the Four in Hand, and giving them a classy reboot. At their Mosman digs careful attention – not to mention serious cash – has been paid to the high-end detailing, with the timber panelling, feature windows and gold trimmings echoing the luxurious mansions for which the suburb is famous. Downstairs, the Buena Bar has a central island bar surrounded by dark timber and plush suede booths. Head upstairs and you’ll find the Vista Bar, an impressive, light-filled space with exposed beams and potted botany. This is a very fancy looking pub.
At the former Buena Vista Hotel you could cook your own steak on the communal barbie for under a tenner. No longer: a new tone has been set. Boat shoes have replaced work boots, and there’s nary a pair of stubbies in sight. The Buena Mark II boasts the North Shore incarnation of Woollahra’s famous Bistro Moncur, which is attached to the main pub. Diners can have a drink at the main bar before slipping out the back and into Moncur’s plush surrounds.
If you’ve forgotten your Ralph Lauren, never fear: the Vista Bar is serving up excellent pub food, and judging by the crowds here, half the neighbourhood is in on the secret. Young couples, families and post-work finance types are all cobbled in together for a quick feed. Naturally the menu has burgers and fish and chips, but you can also level up with Junee lamb, grilled asparagus and kipfler potatoes.
These guys are also doing a surprisingly good wood-fired pizza. The ‘Verdure’ comes with a medley of tomato, eggplant, mushrooms and capsicum on top of a chewy, housemade base with a perfectly blistered crust. Like the Dolphin before it, the Buena is proving that great pizza doesn’t always need a Neapolitan accent.
They’re no slouch in the drinks department here either. On tap, the amber runs the breadth of the country, from WA’s Fat Yak ales to Cairns’ Great Northern Brewing Co and Bonamy’s Cider from Tassie. The cocktail list features a shortlist of the classics, with a twist. The ‘That’s Not a Spritz’ combines Aperol with elderflower, red grapefruit and lime juice, topped up with bubbles. The result is pleasantly piquant.
In spite of all of its riches, Mosman was missing one thing until recently: a quality local. The Buena’s changed all that. It’s pulling off being both upmarket and inclusive, which works a treat.