It's a good time to be a drinker in the Inner West. Long home to a lively pub scene, suburbs such as Newtown and Marrickville are now even better places for a night out following the addition of some rocking bars that can easily be counted among the city's finest. Even pubs are getting in on the act, sprucing themselves up to get your attention.
LazyBones Lounge Level 2, 294 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville Marrickville’s on the up, and LazyBones Lounge is yet another example. Head up the stairs and you'll find a large and moody room with just the right amount of decadence. Velvet curtains, red walls, leather sofas, intricate chandeliers and a slightly frightening Krishna mural fill up the space, as does live music (usually jazz) every night of the week and into the early hours on weekends. Head to the bar for a well-made Martini, Whiskey Sour or Mint Julep, then settle in and dig the riffs.
Kingston Public Bar & Eatery 62-64 King St, Newtown The second bar venture from the folks behind The Little Guy on Glebe Point Road, Kingston Public brings some much-needed fun to the upper reaches of King Street. The sign on the street reads “Nothing to See Here,” but step inside and you’ll find an attractive room with high tables and stools, a bar built for leaning on and a splash of old-school posters on the wall. Cocktails are the focus, so try a Bloody Mary, Spanish Tart or a Basil Fawlty which, unlike its namesake, is entirely pleasant. Turns out there’s plenty to see.
Mary’s 6 Mary St, Newtown Last year, an old hall with a colourful past was transformed into Mary’s – a raucous tavern that quickly set Newtowners agog. The original elements of the building’s interior are complemented by handmade wooden tables, a mezzanine level and light fittings made from old bottles of Jack Daniel’s. Reschs is on tap, craftier brews come by the bottle, and the wine list is largely French and biodynamic. And if all that wasn’t enough, Tetsuya’s alumnus Luke Powell serves up what many consider to be the best burger within city limits.
The Bank Hotel 324 King St, Newtown One of a number of refurbished Newtown boozers, The Bank is back on the radar following the renovation of its splendid beer garden and the addition of a live music venue. The garden is now an even better place to while away a balmy night, while the rejigged bistro fancies up pub-grub staples such as burgers, steaks and pizza. Upstairs, grab a Balmain Pilsner or a Singapore Sling, see a band play, and stay on into the wee hours – the joint’s open ‘til sun-up.
Earl’s Juke Joint 407 King St, Newton One of last year’s most anticipated bar openings, Earl’s Juke Joint is brought to you by ex-Shady Pines Saloon barkeep Pasan Wijesena. Push past the butchery façade and you’ll find a dark room with timber floorboards, a tin-covered ceiling and walls adorned with posters of blues legends. The long, long bar seems to stretch off into the distance, like a highway through the desert. Pull up a stool alongside it and order a Ramos Gin Fizzfizz, or strawberry lemonade spiked with rye. You’ll never want to leave.
The Midnight Special 44 Enmore Rd, Newtown At this shopfront bar, strong drink and rock‘n’roll are revered in equal measure. Local musos perform a couple of times a week, otherwise, it’s DJs or bartenders spinning the tunes. The décor is part truck-stop, part lodge – wood-panelled walls, checkerboard floors and leather booths. The bar has local ales on tap and dispenses cheap tinnies. Cocktails include standards such as Mojitos, Margaritas and Dark and Stormys. Or you can just nurse a Jack and Coke, right up until midnight.