Tony Rudolph is a bartender by trade, but he says his most formative training came from working with renowned chefs like Peter Gilmore (Bennelong) and Ross Lusted (The Bridge Room, Woodcut).

After years working in Sydney’s CBD, Rudolph is bringing his exacting techniques to Bartega, the new cocktail bar in Belmore’s Canterbury Leagues Club. “This place has been in the works for many years,” says club general manager Greg Bygraves. “We went out [and asked] the community and our members, and what people wanted was a great cocktail bar like you’d find in the CBD.”

Bartega’s drinks menu combines classics with fresh twists. The Margarita Bartega is a coconut-infused spin on the classic with a spicy kick of jalapeno, while the sweet, pink-hued Flamin’ Galah blends Kalki Moon spiced rum, Campari and pineapple.

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“Whether you’re pouring a cocktail or making a gin and tonic, it’s the same process a chef goes through to create a dish,” Rudolph tells Broadsheet. “We really wanted to push the bounds of what’s expected in the suburbs and give people somewhere local to have a nice bottle of wine or an exceptionally well-made Martini.”

The menu is exclusively small plates with strong backing of both Asian and European flavours. Yellowfin tuna is torched and coated in sesame seeds, served atop betel leaves; fluffy bao are stuffed with pork belly and pickled daikon; oven-baked brie is served with crushed pistachios and honeycomb, with a seeded lavosh alongside.

“There are four restaurants in the building, so we get a lot of people coming in to have a drink after they’ve eaten,” Bygraves says. “But we knew food was still important. We’ve created a menu where people can have a snack or get a few dishes and have a solid meal.”

Bartega’s fit-out also brings a touch of city style to the south-west, with an illuminated water feature outside. “There are a lot of rich finishes – timber, marble, leather – but it’s still soft,” says Bygraves. “You don’t feel like you’re in the suburbs.”

Level 1, Canterbury Leagues Club
26 Bridge Road, Belmore
9704 7777

Thu to Sat 6pm–late