Draw back the blue-velvet drapes at the entrance of basement bar Tiva, and you’ll be greeted by a sprawling room lined with recessed booths that offer plenty of privacy, an 11-metre-long marble bar and a stage large enough to host a four-piece band.
This plush subterranean venue is part of three-in-one venue The Charles (by the team behind Loulou in Milsons Point), which also involves a brasserie and a wine bar back up on street level. Like its sister venues, it’s all about crafting high-end experiences in a handsome setting.
It’s also serious about live music – it’s enlisted Dan Lywood, from music curation consultancy Playlister FM (Chateau Marmont, LA; Chiltern Firehouse, London), as entertainment curator. He’s crafting a program that’ll give punters the chance to see a world-class musical act every night it’s open. Expect DJs Monday to Saturday, as well as live performers from Australia and abroad Wednesday to Sunday. On any given night you might hear soul, jazz, disco and house, or R’n’B.
The space itself screams luxury – and so do the drinks, which are champagne- and agave spirit-heavy. One highlight is the Tequila Rose, a Martini-style drink made with Olmeca Altos reposado tequila, Lillet Rosé vermouth and violette, all shaken and poured at the table. Drinks are presented with a touch of theatre – but without distracting from the live music happening on stage.
There are also more than 60 champagnes, including familiar houses like Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot, as well as some little-known French growers.
The exacting approach to food in the brasserie upstairs (headed up by executive chef Billy Hannigan, formerly of The Ledbury in London) has trickled down to the bar-snack menu below, which leans luxurious. Delicate tartlet casings are filled with crab; bite in and you’ll experience bursts of salmon roe and the sharp heat of horseradish. Boat-shaped pastry shells are filled with foie-gras parfait, while little bricks of hash brown are topped with roasted chicken cream (they’re an ideal foil to a couple of tequila-based cocktails). Tender grilled octopus with preserved lemon, and a Moreton Bay bug sandwich offer something heavier.
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