Sometimes, the problems with Sydney's live music scene can seem never-ending. But here's a win for the optimists. As part of its ongoing spruce up, that colossal boozer on King Street best known for its late opening hours and sunny beer garden, The Bank Hotel, has done up its first level and opened a new cocktail bar and live music venue.
Climb the stairs and you'll reach an elegant room trimmed with dark wood, the odd animal skin underfoot and some glaring neon signs. Red leather stools surround the long pointy bar and cosy booths sit up against walls clad with crocodile ski. A neat balcony looks over the din of King Street and, if you want to, you can stay out there until the sun comes up: The Bank's open all night.
And you can forget about those sad little cans of VB that normally accompany a gig. Instead, choose from a solid offering of craft beers like Two Birds, Mountain Goat, Stone and Wood, 4 Pines and Young Henry’s. Cocktail-wise, sip a Midwest Sour (bourbon, falernum, lime, pink grapefruit juice, egg whites and bitters) or if it's muggy outside, try a Singapore Sling (gin, Benedictine, lime, bitters, cherry brandy, pineapple juice and grenadine).
When all that booze is getting too much, you can munch on deviled eggs, barbecue duck sausage rolls and shoestring fries. The menu's all about bar snacks, offering such transitory delights as crab sandwiches, margarita pizzas and fried chicken accompanied by Kewpie and kimchi.
Local act The Delta Riggs had the honour of breaking in the venue and The Bank promises more of the same. Its late hours and drinks list would be enough alone to commend it, but chuck in some live and loud rock 'n' roll and you're on to a winner Upstairs at the Bank.
Upstairs at the Bank
324 King Street, Newtown (02) 8568 1900 upstairsatthebank.com.au
? Wed to Sat 6pm–late