Occupying the site that was previously Art Lounge in the lobby of the Kirketon Hotel, Bottleneck Bar & Eatery is the latest venture from the crew behind Eau De Vie and The Roosevelt. And what they've created sure is pretty – that's before you've even seen the drinks list.
Bottleneck is small, seating around 35. The lighting is low and there's enough dark timber splashed around to make you think of Kramer's log cabin school of interior design. There's also some impressive taxidermy animals to take in, including ‘Rodney’ the rather alarming albino raccoon, who serves as the bar's mascot.
Pull up a seat at the bar, gather in one of the booths, or spread out at the large communal table. For our money, the bar is the best place to perch, allowing you to survey the impressive range of brews on offer. Try a 4 Pines Kolsch, Murray's Big Wednesday IPA or an Anchor Steam. After that, it's all about the Bloody Mary. The favoured Sunday pick-me-up of the serious drinker is done impossibly well at Bottleneck. There are three types – one with vodka (the House Mary), one with gin and half a pickled artichoke heart (the Snapper) and one with tequila (the Maria).
For eats, it's all about meatballs, thanks to owner Sven Almenning and his Norwegian heritage. The Classic Beef Balls come topped with tomato sauce and Italian cheese. Also worth a try are the creamed corn polenta and the ploughman's plate.
Bottleneck arrives in an area already heaving with fun saloons. It's pretty much assured of success – you have to pass it to get to Eau De Vie, kind of like those duty-free shops you have to walk through at the airport to get to your gate. But with its interesting ale list and sublime Bloody Marys, it's worth marking on your list just the same.
Bottleneck Bar & Eatery
229 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
Mon to Sat noon–1am