Forgoing shady doorways and dive bar ambience for street views and polished furnishings, Foley Lane embraces a much lighter mood than some of Sydney’s other small bars.

Despite its elements of sophistication, Foley Lane excellently evades the pretention that might otherwise befit such a chic concept, mostly by focusing on the comfort and involvement of its patrons. Take the seating for instance, which is specifically designed for people to perch at eye level with the floor staff.

Owners Nathan Moses and Julian Marchetto have clearly spent time mulling over their drinks menu, offering a unique selection of Spanish and Australian wines, beers and cocktails that pair seamlessly with specific dishes. One cocktail in particular, the Taylor Square Spice, is a concoction of Singleton 12-year single malt, spiced apple and homemade paprika syrup, making it the perfect metaphor for the fiery, often nefarious antics of neighbouring Taylor Square.

Being a tapas bar, classic Spanish food plays a prominent role in the menu, though ‘traditional’ doesn’t aptly describe the dishes on offer. Put simply, the tapas here is simple and very good. An achievement due in no small part to the involvement of Nelson Burgos, a founding chef of Melbourne’s impossibly popular Mexican restaurant, Mamasita.

Some similar but subtle influences are present, notably the tongue and cheek slider with ghost chilli mayo and pickled cabbage, but Burgos' menu at Foley Lane is really more Spanish in style. Most importantly, however, the well-versed staff are happy to explain, in modest detail, the relationship between the slow yoghurt braised lamb with white bean puree and the 2007 Covers D’or Riesling.

It’s hard to imagine a more polished tapas bar emerging anytime soon, and with reasonable prices, no reservations and very limited seating, we’d suggest a visit before Foley Lane goes the way of Mamasita.