Set just back from the whirl of William Street, Riley Street Garage is a new restaurant and bar that's opened in a beautiful old 1930s building that once housed Lessey's Drive Yourself (a car hire business), and more recently, served as a private parking lot for Frank Lowy and other Westfield big wigs. The oil and grease has been washed away and now you'll find a lovingly refurbished room where you'll be more than happy to pull in for a while.
The bar is the centre of attention. It's a huge round affair topped with thick timber, a trove of plush black bar stools standing at attention beside it. Tables and booths sit off to the side, as does as a wood-panelled wall displaying a collection of period photographs. Other nice touches include the preserved steel rafters, original brick walls and the ornate windows fronting Riley Street.
On the menu, snacks like chorizo corn dogs and beer tempura Moreton Bay Bugs make for good drinking accompaniments. Oysters come four different ways (and are shucked at the bar), including a dressing of Clamato jelly and horseradish. Share plates of octopus, white bean, lemon and chilli and a salad of beetroot, goat's cheese and candied walnuts are also on offer. If you don't want to share, mains include a towering burger with blue cheese, grilled miso salmon, and a hearty scotch fillet steak.
To drink, there's Guinness and Little Creatures on tap, as well as Negra Modelo, Pacifico and White Rabbit in bottles. The cocktail list is full of highlights. Peruse it and you'll find numbers like the Cooper Collins (mezcal, lemon and orange soda), the Rattlesnake (whisky, lemon, egg white and Herbsaint), and the Georgia Julep (Cognac, peach brandy and mint). A Brazilevardier has Cachaca, Aperol and vermouth and is billed as a South American Negroni.
Riley Street Garage
55 Riley Street, Woolloomooloo
(02) 9326 9055
Tue - Wed 5pm - late
Thu - Sat noon - late