The basement underneath Riley Street Garage was formerly a workspace for car mechanics. Now its purpose is notably more fabulous: a sleek cocktail and function space. Shelves where tools and car parts once lay now house premium whiskey and reserve wine. Liesel Peterson is co-owner of Parlour Group, also behind The Stuffed Beaver in Bondi, and Darlinghurst’s Surly’s.

“We imagined this for private events,” Peterson says. “It’s tailored to product launches or business meetings.” The bar can be customised to fit any conceivable function. The main table can host 36 diners, or 50 people standing with canapés. There is also a smaller private room, designed for groups of up to 10. Both areas have concealed TV screens, which, upon request, can be used for presentations.

Busby’s appeal is not the functional capacity, but rather its atmosphere. A polished drinks cart, custom designed by Alexander & Co, serves as the bar. This piece is inspired by the hulking toolboxes of yesteryear. The open layout allows staff to move freely. There is no divide between bartender and champagne drinker (and Peterson emphatically encourages champagne).

“It’s designed to feel relaxed and intimate,” says Peterson. “Like you’re at a friend’s apartment, maybe.” You certainly don’t have to be an executive to feel at ease here – plush-leather seating and cocktails can take care of that.

Peterson imagines that Busby will account for some of Riley Street Garage’s overflow. Patrons will be able to drink at Busby while waiting for a table upstairs, and perhaps even enjoy a small plate of oysters. Similarly, after the meal, guests can return to Busby for a whiskey, digestives or a charcuterie board.

Busby is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday, when not booked for a function. Private events can be booked on Monday and Tuesday.

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55 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo
(02) 9326 9055

Wed to Sat 7pm–12am