The humble bar snack has evolved to include more than just a bowl of greasy fries or a packet of nuts. More and more, bar snacks are becoming a sophisticated, considered and fun part of an evening out. Without needing to be the main event, bar snacks have the potential to be the evening’s highlight, so we have put together a list that will fill both you up and enhance your experience.
Coney Island hot dog at Assembly
We’ve had a thing for these hot dogs for a while and, simply put, there’s nothing quite like a sausage in a bun with a few after-work drinks. Make the most of this inner-city cocktail bar and instead of just going for drinks, save some space for Assembly’s piled high Coney Island hot dog. With frankfurter in brioche with onion, cheddar and jalapeño, it's got bite and goes down a treat with a beer or cocktail.
BBQ corn coated with popcorn and Doritos at The Oxford Tavern
Beyond the girls girls girls neon and the flashing lights, this refurbished local Petersham pub has a beer garden and pool table that will make any drinks catch-up with mates a relaxed and fun encounter. Considering its excellent bar-snacks menu, you can throw a good feed into the bargain as well. There are petite cheeseburgers and BBQ pork rolls, but we reckon pairing your Budweiser or James Squire with a serving of BBQ corn, coated in crunchy popcorn and Doritos, and served with Creole mayo, is a pretty nifty way to fill the gap.
Roasted oysters at Ester Restaurant & Bar
The highlight at this elegantly converted basement parking space, hidden in the depths of Chippendale, is anything you order from the wood-fired oven. Perch at the bar and select your wine. We suggest pairing it with the wood-fire roasted oysters – it’s a style of oyster preparation that you may not have experienced before, with the oysters warmed by the fire until they open, topped with a horseradish mignonette. You can get them by the half or whole dozen and it’s certainly a snack you’ll tell your friends about.
Sandwich de vacio Americano brisket at Gardel's Bar
Gardel’s Bar is above Porteño, and while Gardel’s may be serving a less flashy selection of smaller dishes, they're just as tasty and a bit more hands-on. On the list of bar snacks are lamb and pork meatballs on hash brown, and fried chicken wings with hot sauce. We recommend the American brisket sandwich; BBQ brisket on a soft bun with slaw and BBQ sauce.
Bug Pie or shrimp po’ boy at Miss Peaches
At the top of the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, Miss Peaches is bringing soul food back – helped in no small part by a bar menu that will have you diving in head first. Bar eats include sarsaparilla-glazed fried chicken and fried-green-tomato sliders. But for something really worth putting your cocktail aside for, order a serve of bug pies and enjoy Moreton Bay bug tails and creamed corn wrapped in puff pastry, or the shrimp po’ boy of beer-battered shrimp with fennel slaw on a brioche bun.
Chipotle pork meatballs, fregola, fennel and orange at The Bar at the End of the Wharf
With a location to rival any of Sydney’s waterfront bars and diners, the location of Sydney Theatre Company’s Bar at the End of the Wharf is a great spot regardless of weather or not you’re seeing a play. The bar food is enough to keep you lingering too. Look out for wild-mushroom arancini with truffle and pecorino, or share a ploughman’s platter. But a regular menu favourite is the flavour combination of chipotle pork meatballs served with fregola, fennel and orange.
Veg board at Freda’s
Hidden away at the end of what looks like an unpromising ally, Freda’s has been turning out great bar-snack style dishes of pickles and small bites since it opened. For a vegetarian option, sink your teeth into the veg board. Piled high with an assortment of nuts, pickles, roasted vegetables, feta and little piles of toast, it’s a great way to share a bite as you sample the cocktails or work your way through a variety of beers.
DIY Tanuki Tacos at Kuki Tanuki
After you fight your way to a seat at this little Erskineville sake bar and watering hole, you might not want to give it up. There’s an awesome Japanese dinner menu, but, quite frankly, a few little bar snacks will be enough to stave off hunger while you sip on a Harijuku-style cocktail (gin, passionfruit pulp, lemon and rosemary syrup), or an expertly selected hot sake (ask the bar tender to find the right one for you) and listen to the chatter and beats around you. Try a DIY Tanuki taco to really top off the experience and you’ll get a mix of fresh sashimi to pile into soft tortillas.
Polenta chips with Gorgonzola dip at Bloodwood
Bloodwood was one of the first small bars in Sydney to make a name for itself with its organic and biodynamic wine list and its awesome bar snacks. The polenta chips have been on the menu since the beginning. Crispy batons of crunchy polenta come stacked with a bowl of creamy and pungent gorgonzola dipping sauce that regulars wipe up with their fingers. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any of the wines and certainly keeps people coming back.
Goat's cheese churros with truffled honey at Nomad
Inspired by the seasons, Nomad has been making waves with its fresh flavours, display of salumi and comprehensive wine offerings. But we reckon the bar snacks make a splash in their own right. If you thought churros must be dusted in cinnamon and dipped in chocolate, Nomad has news for you. Here, the churros are goat's cheesy and come with truffled honey. Add ocean-trout pastrami or Arabic beef tartare and it all still fits in nicely between glasses as you explore the weird, wonderful and unusual wine list.