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Crows Nest is upping its after hours game with a new small bar doing bloody great burgers
The Italian restaurants and Thai food take away that jostle for command of Willoughby Rd are quickly forgotten as soon as you step into the Hayberry, the latest bar venture from the nearby crew at Small Bar. The lights are low, there’s a rustic timber bar, pictures of Ned Kelly line the wall and the music is loud. The loudest we’ve heard on this side of the bridge (hurray!) playing a glorious mix of Modest Mouse, the Dandy Warhols and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Cocktails here are boozy, juicy numbers like the Apple Pip with vodka, caramel liquor and just-squeezed green apple juice that tastes like someone juiced a caramel apple, or the sour Cherry Popper with Amaretto, lemon and cherry bitters. You’ll also find American tinnies of Moose Drool brown ale and Big Sky IPA and a short, Antipodean wine list.
The food options are typical booze food: burgers, hot wings and pulled pork. The cheesy bacon burger is equal parts juicy, greasy and good. The bun is soft, the beef patty is well seasoned and the bacon is crisp. Plus the crunchy waffle fries are an excellent argument for throwing new shapes into the fryer. The wings eye-watering aroma doesn’t quite deliver on its promise of a flavour inferno, so we also don’t really need the heavy, creamy blue cheese dipping sauce as a mouth fire foil. Stick with the burgers – they are one of the best ones we’ve had in this neck of the woods.
These days the kids aren’t always going East to get their late-night kicks – booze barns like the Crowie are miles from the lock-out zone – so Crows Nest has gotten promoted to a serious Saturday night contender. And now the Hayberry has stepped in to offer punters a good time before the late night revelries kick on, with ace burgers, sweet tunes and a decidedly not-North-Shore feel.
97 Willoughby Rd
|Opening hours:||Tue-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri, Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm|