Step through the sliding doors into Button Bar, and the first thing you’ll notice is the abundance of wood. Dark, warm tones make up the floor, walls, ceiling and bar offering a welcome respite from the drab grey outside and the evening chill.
Button Bar, Surry Hills
Button Bar opened its doors in just under a week and is the latest venue from Christophe Lehoux and Karl Schlothauer of Stitch and Pocket Bar with Jimmy Sakajani (ex ivy).You’ll find its inconspicuous façade along Foveaux Street in Surry Hills, just before Central Station and diagonally opposite El Loco and the Excelsior Hotel.
The fitout is made to resemble the hull of a ship, a central communal table with tall stools and dripping candles, an assortment of hanging lanterns proving a warm glow, 19th century long rifles even an entire wall made of asymmetrical wood pieces. The pirate-themed décor is subtle with no anchor or plaited rope in sight.
Mr Trevors “Booth”
Take a seat along one of the comfortable leather booths that line up one wall or along high stools at the bar which runs the length of another wall. There, you’ll find a cross-section of spirits and wines, and barrels used for ageing rum.
Bar and barrels
The pirate theme continues in the logo that fronts the cocktails menu – a cute eye-patched button with crossed swords. The three page list is innovative with names such as “Tainted Love”, “Morning Yearning” and “Funky Minks”. You’ll also find classics such as the Corpse Reviver, Side Car and the Mint Julep. Wines cover the antipodes, Spain and Chile with some available by the glass.
L to R: Smoking Gun, Devils Work
The Devils Work has Averna stirred with 8 year old Bacardi and a “hint” of Patron XO Coffee with a dash of peach bitters. Served in a coupe glass, the drink has the bitterness of the Averna on the front palate followed by the kick of the coffee tequila.
The Smoking Gun is a celebration of peated smoke with Glenmorangie and a hint of honey blended with a camomile liqueur. Served in a tumbler with a triangular block of chiselled ice and a paddle pop stick, it’s warm and lingering with a good balance of smoke and sweetness.
Deciding what to choose after the Smoking Gun can prove a little difficult. Jimmy recommends the Hucklebuck made with Ardbeg Ulgeadail stirred with Bacardi 8 year old and Punt e Mes sweet vermouth. Described as a “strong sipping drink”, this is a great cocktail for lovers of a good whisky. It hits the spot perfectly and is a pleasure to sip from the crystal coupe glass.
Wall of wood
Iced water is served and complimentary pistachio nuts are the only sustenance for now. Easy-to-prepare food platters such as cheese boards and salumi are yet to come so don’t go there on an empty stomach yet – you’ll be tempted to have more than one cocktail.
Button Bar ticks all the right boxes with its inviting fitout, attentive service and unique cocktails served in vintage glassware. The vibe is relaxed and the music is upbeat with a touch of Americana without intruding on conversation. The warmth of the décor translates to the overall feel-good experience. Come for one drink, and you’ll want to stay for more. There’s always something to tempt you to return, like another Hucklebuck or the Zacapa Old Fashion on a cold Sydney night.
Button Bar is featured in Sydney’s Best Winter Bars.
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