Perched above Porteno, with views into the courtyard and the mass of diners that populate it, Gardel’s Bar is filled with smell of wood and coals from the kitchens below. The bustle of the downstairs restaurant fills you with a sense of anticipation, but the result is a leisurely and relaxed environment where you can sink into a private corner or quietly observe the skilled bartenders.
Named after Carlos Gardel, ‘the king of tango’, his portrait greets you and sets the tone for this fun and old world-inspired setting. The waitresses all bear a striking 50s pinup girl resemblance and the bartenders are dressed to match.
The décor features plush leather couches and dimly lit corners, which continue to unfold into a remarkably large space. It’s a perfect location for a first date or a quiet catch up with friends. Somehow, loud and raucous behaviour just feels out of place and not befitting the dapper 1930s sort you’ve become since ascending the stairs.
Drinks come served in hand-cut crystal and stemless Riedel glassware, which is fitting of the standard of drinks on offer. Old world classics mix perfectly with new techniques. Hand cut ice is usually a sign of bartenders dedicated to the craft and the rule holds true here. These guys know how to shake; every drink is perfectly balanced, dilution is spot on and the all-important ‘good chat’ comes in affable spades.
Whether you come for a post Porteno tipple or to experience Gardel’s by itself, this Surry Hills hideaway has some of Sydney’s best drinking on offer. Bring your manners and your loved one early to have any chance of snaring a plush corner to call your own for the evening.