While it’s a clear no-brainer for a post-show pit stop, the bar has an attitude to drinking that’s easy to get on board with. Encouraging signs commend you on your progress down the short walk to the tip of the wharf. A final sign insists as you round the corner that you deserve a drink. How’s that for positive reinforcement?
Boasting exceptional views across Sydney Harbour, the team could be forgiven for banking on their backdrop alone. Their real strength lies in the laid-back space they’ve created, where Foster’s tinnies cheers glasses of Perrier Grand Brut. Newtown-based brewery Young Henrys provide a seasonal selection on tap, too. And while they stand-alone from the STC, they’re not afraid of a few theatrical cocktails. Try the Tempest – their take on a Dark’n’Stormy – or an Uppercut Deluxe: a punchy rum, citrus and coconut number.
The STC’s resident designer, Alice Babidge, keeps the décor simple, leaving the industrial space and impressive views to do the hard yards. Despite its high ceilings and worn timber flooring, the sizeable space is welcoming. Mismatched school-style wooden chairs are dotted around a mix of small and communal tables, giving you earshot access to groundbreaking theatre analysis if your own should fall short.
Outdoor tables and lounges made from recycled packing crates are adorned with potted herb gardens, adding a touch of green to the venue. Thumb through something from the reading wall or get involved with a balcony-side ping-pong tournament.
Neon signs denoting food and drink lead the way to the designated white tiled bar and kitchen counters. The menu is perfectly designed for a quick pre-show dinner, with most dishes geared towards sharing. The ploughman’s platter is mindfully proportioned so not even a sliver of yours or your dining companion's hefty slice of sourdough goes without a spicy cured meat or cheese accompaniment. Resist the urge to down a wagyu and Gruyere slider ($12) in one bite and savour the sweet brioche bun, heavy with tangy relish and melted cheese.
This is a big win for Walsh Bay, and the STC. So good, in fact, you may bypass the theatre altogether.