A nostalgic sandwich shop and high-end cocktail bar may seem worlds apart, but the two come together in upscale, retro bar The Nook, just steps away from Manly’s main street. Harrison Maher and Kieran Bailey have taken over a corner store on Sydney Road, and it’s as cosy as its name suggests.

Sandwiches take the spotlight here. “We think we will be able to attract people to come in for sandwich for dinner with a cocktail,” says Maher.

The Reuben here is a 36-hour affair. First, the kitchen desalinates the meat, which is marinated for 24 hours, before being smoked for six hours and steamed for another six hours. The result is a tender stack of pastrami, brimming with briny flavour, tucked between two pieces of dark rye along with sauerkraut, pickles and melted Swiss cheese. The à la carte options include a pork-and-veal meatball roll and fried chicken with cheddar-and-chive waffles.

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Exposed brick walls, ’70s-inspired mosaic tiles, a ribbed cedar-wood bar and a curated playlist of funky old-school hip-hop invoke the disco era.

“We want to make sure we see our customers three times a week … having people returning here instead of coming in for occasional visits,” says Maher.

There are three desserts on the menu, but Maher recommends the Triple D’s Cheesecake. Maher’s mum Danielle – also known as Triple D – is behind the namesake pastry, which is topped with caramel popcorn bits.

The drinks list’s “Nook Tails” are a take on classic ’70s cocktails. The Purple Lady is a mix of local craft gin, merlot, pomegranate syrup and a house sour mix, garnished with foam and a floating passion fruit. The NY Winter Fashion starts with a base of rye, sweetened with maple syrup and shaken with ginger, orange peel and aromatic bitters, and served on the rocks.

The Nook
49 Sydney Road, Manly

Tue to Sun 5pm–late


This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 19, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.