Another day, another small bar opens in Surry Hills. This time it’s on the often troubled corner of Bourke and Cleveland Streets, which has seen many a restaurant and bar sucked into the abyss. But hopefully this latest offering may just have nailed the formula.
Black Penny, run by three local guys who left high-flying careers to get back into the hospitality industry they loved so much as students, is all for the locals. From the beer to the art on the walls and the live music three nights a week, the idea behind this bar, restaurant, gallery and gig venue is all about bringing the best of local produce to the area.
As co-owner Damian Dlugolecki explains, “We’re not a concept bar. We’re all about the locals and have a local perspective on everything that we do. From the food to the wine to the beer, we source everything we can from the New South Wales region for the menu. I even did the artwork on the wall myself!”
Black Penny’s fusion of food, drink, music and art hits you as soon as you enter the space, from the huge mural wall to the DJ booth in the middle of the floor. High wooden tables and low comfy sofas created a relaxed feel, while those who love to people watch can take a perch at the window.
Head chef Paul Bryan (formerly of Longitude 131 at Uluru) has created a fun sharing menu. The Surry Fried Chicken is a must, while pork comes in three guises on one plate (a mini pork pie, a pork and kumara croquette and pork belly slow braised with orange).
The drinks have a decidedly Sydney lean, with tap beers from local brewers Young Henrys and Balmain Pale Ale. The cocktails are split into signature creations listed as the 7 Deadly Sins, and the Lucky 7, which offer a twist on old classics. The wine list is 100 per cent Australian, but watch out for the tiny pours.