When four good mates have 50 years of hospitality experience between them and a collective passion for bars, opening their own is the logical public service. Jonathan Williams, Bryce McDonough, Pilin Doungkeaw and Chau Tran did just this – Burrow Bar at De Mestre Place, a little laneway off George Street. “Burrow Bar is about recapturing that feeling you got from adventure books in your childhood – a sense of wonder, or that magic really exists,” says McDonough.
The long, narrow space used to be an open office. In the process of stripping away plasterboard, they uncovered federation-era sandstone walls “that just needed a little TLC”. Choose a seat at the bar or settle into a French provincial-style sofa up the back. “We kept the lighting and noise muted, so even when it’s packed you can still see and hear the person next to you without having to squint or shout,” says McDonough.
The signature drinks list switches up every couple of weeks. “We love to showcase alcohol as a flavour – finding new and curious drinks, or new and curious ways to enjoy old ones,” says McDonough. The barrel-aged cocktails sell out fast, and shrubs are proving popular – not the plants, but the tangy, refreshing drink made from vinegar-based fruit syrups. The team also makes its own infused liqueurs and rums. Each of the four friends has made his/her own spiced rum, each with a distinct flavour.
The signature dish is the Baby Reuben Double: twin Reuben sandwiches built from the ground up. “We bake the rye, corn the beef, sauer the kraut and pickle the veggies ourselves, all on-site,” says McDonough. Basically everything is made on-site, including marmalades, grenadine, cold-pressed fruit juices, and even soda water, specifically “with the right carbonation for our drinks.”
De Mestre Place, Sydney
0450 466 674
Mon to Sun 4pm–12am