Sydney loves a good basement venue – think Restaurant Hubert, Ramblin’ Rascal and Charlie Parker’s. The latest is in Manly in the basement of a yet-to-be-named building (though it’s hinting heavily it’ll be at the bottom of a Spanish restaurant). To add to the enigma, it’ll be accessed via a fridge door from the 1920s, which will open to reveal a spiral staircase leading to the 70-seat basement speakeasy-style spot, called The Cumberland.
The bar’s name pays tribute to its location in Manly Cove, which is part of the County of Cumberland. (The county takes in all of Sydney, from Broken Bay near Woy Woy (north of Sydney) and to Wollongong.)
It’ll feature opulent vintage furniture, including marble bench tops, hand-carved sandstone blocks, original clay bricks made by convicts, reclaimed timber and antique brass and copper fixtures. Beer will come courtesy of a set of brass beer taps from 1902.
As well as beer there’ll be more than 250 whiskies from around the world, plus classic cocktails made using local botanicals, boutique and organic Australian wines, and local and European craft beers.
A vintage dumbwaiter will deliver dishes from the eatery above: Spanish cheese and cured meats, pork rillette pate, baked camembert, and oozy raclette.
The venue is owned by Matt Clifton, who is managing director of the MJC Group of Companies, which also oversees other Manly venues Donny’s and In Situ. Pete Ehemann, a veteran from hospitality giant Merivale (Ivy, Hemmesphere and Coogee Pavilion), will be general manager.
The Cumberland is slated to open in August.