After undergoing some big renovations, Bondi Junction’s The Eastern Hotel is back in business and barely recognisable from its former self. One bar and restaurant that is bound to gain a following is Chimmi’s, located on The Eastern’s second level.
Spanish-inspired décor creates the feeling of stepping into a 1970s South American apartment, with a cool, sweet vibe of good food and dancing with a heavy emphasis on rum. Chimmi’s cantina stocks over 100 rums sourced from South and Central America through to the Caribbean and Jamaica. With the venue’s 4am license, there’s plenty of time to get through them all.
“The most important thing about Chimmi’s is that it’s a fun house…with plenty of piña coladas and cocktails served out of pineapples,” says bar manager Tom Bulmer, who is also the organiser of Sydney’s Rum Club. “We also want to bring the culture of rum to Australia, as here, it seems to often have unfavourable connotations.”
Festive and colourful, it’s hard not to lose yourself in the bar’s charm and character. Under dim, moody lighting, a large painted mural of scantily clad women features on one wall alongside red leather lounges and shaggy rugs, while a throng of guitars hangs on another wall behind the cantina.
Head chef Matt Fitzgerald delivers a menu inspired by various countries around South America. “The food at Chimmi’s is very South American street food-orientated – food that is quick and easy to eat with your hands,” he says.
Their popular empanadas are loosely based on different countries, like their Chile-inspired empanada with braised beef, kidney beans and loads of chilli. Chimmi’s also serves Peruvian ceviche and spicy jalapeños.