Inhabiting the space once occupied by Lo-Fi, Middlebar sits above Kinsella’s, overlooking Taylor Square. Run by hospitality pro manager David Rozario (formerly of The Baxter Inn) and executive bartender Lee Potter Cavanagh (The Rum Diaries and The Victoria Room), it’s in good hands. It offers all the attributes of a decent small bar, but with space to dance and an ever-changing playlist; music varies each night, from house and hip-hop to disco and boogie.
The former vivid interior has been stripped back, replaced by earthy tones and exposed brick. Remnant industrial elements complement a minimalist style that maintains a certain warmth.
Inspired by a trip to Cuba, Cavanagh has designed a drinks menu revolving heavily around gin. Cocktails include the Old Cuban (Bacardi eight-year-old rum, mint, lime and sparkling wine) Smoke & Winters (Del Maguey mezcal, Monkey Shoulder Scotch, cumquat and pineapple) and the aptly named Taylor Square Corpse Reviver (Martin Millers gin, Fernet Branca bitters and TFS crème de menthe glaciale).
Its signature gin and tonic is served in copa glasses – Spanish-style glassware with a long stem and a fishbowl shape, designed to enhance the aromas and flavours of its contents. Choose your own gin, tonic and garnishes from the extensive selection listed above the bar. Or, if gin’s not your thing, there’s a steady stream of quality beers on tap and bar snacks provided by Johnny Wong’s Dumpling Bar.