The main drag that runs through New Orleans’ famously loud and often lascivious French Quarter, Bourbon Street has for decades been synonymous with swinging late night jazz, spicy Creole cuisine and more than a few questionable characters.

In Kings Cross, on the dogleg of Darlinghurst Road, iconic pub The Bourbon has forged a similarly colourful reputation over the last half-century. First established as The Beefsteak and Bourbon in 1967, the bar quickly became a Kings Cross icon, catering to homesick American GIs on R&R from Vietnam as well as some of the more colourful locals, before later attaining a somewhat more salacious reputation in the first half of the 2000s, lost amidst the mire of countless backpacker bars offering $10 steaks and trivia nights.

In its latest incarnation, The Bourbon has reclaimed its roots, and in a decidedly more salubrious style.

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Cutting a fine figure, courtesy of a major refurbishment, but balanced by a decidedly old world edge, The Bourbon’s new mantra is ‘contemporary New Orleans cuisine’ and head chef James Metcalfe (formerly of Becasse and Charlie & Co) is delivering. Think gumbo and Creole classics, alongside an array of Americana (popcorn shrimp po’boys join the Bourbon Dog, Bernie’s Burger and a generous Ruben on the 12 till 3 menu that kicks in at both noon and midnight). Slow cooked ribs and bourbon braised beef shin are sure to be favourites.

The stage gets a work out every night from 9pm with live music ranging from smoky jazz standards to New Orleans-style funk. The long, mirrored bar is lined with an Enomatic wine dispenser, which means myriad wines can be offered by the glass, while American boutique bottled beers are divided up and offered by region. With a focus on top-shelf spirits, we hope The Bourbon ensures it stays well clear of its former incarnations.

The Bourbon

22 Darlinghurst Road, Potts Point

(02) 9035 8888


Mon to Thurs 10am–4am

Fri & Sat 9am–6am
Sun 9am–4am