Bar Topa is a pocket-sized venue that only accommodates 40 standing diners and a few on stools that are scattered about. And while the set-up is very firmly Spanish – reminiscent of a pintxo bar (a venue offering bite-sized snacks and drinks) you’d find in Northern Spain – the food takes its cues from the broader Mediterranean.

Expect snacks such as sliced jamón and whipped salted cod. Chorizo and sardines are cooked over the searingly hot la plancha grill, as is the cuttlefish, which is served with parsley, garlic and olive oil. There’s also patatas bravas and grilled broccolini and romesco.

Bar Topa chef Lauren Murdoch headed up the kitchen at neighbouring Felix when it opened, and worked at Rockpool. Back in the late ’90s she also worked at the highly regarded MG Garage.

The bar’s name gives an indication of what Merivale hopes its latest venue will offer patrons. Topar, means “to come across” or “run into” in Spanish, and Bar Topa is intended as a place to pop into for a couple snacks before heading on to the next venue.

“Bar Topa will be the perfect pit stop for someone on the go,” says Merivale executive chef Jordan Toft, who is also behind Bert’s, The Newport and Coogee Pavilion. “They don’t mind squeezing to the front of the line to grab a glass and pick some snacks to share with the friends they’ve just met.”

Drinks are served as half-pours, to allow punters to try a more of the menu. There’s a range of mini-cocktails (all $8), sangria on tap, a short and sharp list of wines, sherries, and beers.

Bar Topa
4 Palings Lane, Sydney
(02) 9114 7368

Mon to Wed 12pm–12am
Thu & Fri 12pm–1am
Sat 5pm–1am