With wooden everything, candle lighting, nautical knick-knacks and a menu of fish, rum and gin, Peg Leg looks and feels like a tavern for time-travelling explorers. Come morning, the windows open and the sun floods in. Instead of fish and booze there’ll be coffee and sausages. It’s an ambitious all-day venue from travelling bar pioneers Manuel Alvarez and Collin Perillo.
Alvarez (Hazy Rose, Milk & Honey) says when he and Perillo (Last Day of Decadence and Milk & Honey) found the space, they wanted to develop a cocktail bar based on the area’s history. “We discovered that this building is the original Pyrmont Bridge Hotel.
“We started thinking about the first settlers who came into Australia and had a pint in this building,” says Alvarez. The 150-year-old building was one of the first pubs in the area. Perillo and Alvarez have riffed off the original pub’s design to inspire the canoe-shaped cocktail bar and the nautical fit-out.
Inspired by the spirits of the time, the cocktail menu will be split in two sections; rum for the crew and gin for the officers. “One thing we're taking from the Dutch explorers is all the spices,” says Alvarez. They’re going to use spices to make their own cordials, syrups and cocktail bases. “The other thing I'll be using is a good amount of fortified; port, sherry, madeira.”
Most tables will have a seafood platters or a sharing plate of charcuterie and cheese to accompany their cocktails. “Think the best fish and chips, oysters, shellfish, pan-grilled salmon, barramundi.” Alvarez says it won’t be a classic dinner menu but something closer to seafood-inspired share plates.
For breakfast Scotch eggs, porridge and classic cafe fare is on the menu. “We're going to have a sailor’s breakfast, which is a full Aussie breakfast with sausages, mushrooms and a little vegemite.” The evening cocktails will be replaced in the morning by what Alvarez calls “joke-tails”. “Not everyone wants to drink cocktails in the morning like us bartenders, so we decided to make a joke-tail menu with smoothies and cold-pressed juices,” he says.