Atop Millers Point, high above the harbour like something out of a Tourism Australia ad, the old Palisade Hotel sat forlorn for seven years. Then new owners took charge.
Only the ground-floor public bar is open at the moment. The handsome green wall tiles remain, as does the original front window with its big, postcard-perfect view of the bridge. The pokies have been ripped out, leaving a pleasant backroom perfect for languid weekend afternoons. There's playfulness, such as in the old tools serving as beer taps, and practicality, as in the sturdy new timber and steel bar.
Mikey Enright (from the Barber Shop) was brought in to craft the drinks menu, and he's drawn a cocktail list big on classics – Martinis, Gimlets, Old Fashioneds – as well as fancier numbers such as the Heartbreak Hotel (whisky, cognac, rockmelon and fennel-seed honey).
Chef Dave O'Brien has created a concise menu free of generic pub-grub stodginess. There are hearty dishes, such as chicken and tarragon pie; roasted salmon fillet; and Moroccan-style lamb shanks. But there are also lighter options, such as smoked ham and mozzarella sandwiches; soups; and salads. For after, there's toffee cheesecake.
The penthouse and rooftop terrace holds rooftop bar Henry Deane.