If you live in Redfern, you probably know Bart. “He’s a notorious C-A-T,” says Amanda Baxter. Local legend says Bart fathered every ginger cat in the area, and new bar and eatery, Bart Jr, is the namesake of those kittens.
Baxter has teamed up with Georgia Woodyard and Anne Cooper (the duo behind Morris) and Matt Turk to open a venue they hope will define late-night eating and drinking in Redfern.
Woodyard’s reputation in the neighbourhood precedes her. She and Cooper made their mark with Scout’s Honour, which has been pumping out delicious sandwiches since 2014. The pair opened a second cafe in Paddington called Morris, and a night-time venue was the natural next step.
Opening the doors has proven tricky, though. “It took a long time to get the liquor licence,” says Baxter. “And then because it was a new build [in a heritage-building shell], getting the gas connected was an extra delay. We waited six weeks.”
The menu will be short and will change every three weeks. For the opening there are around 10 small plates. Buttery prawns with fried curry leaves are piled on soft, toasted brioche and finished with bottarga, a salt-cured roe.
Caramelised roasted fennel and artichokes are buried in clouds of creamy white buffalo ricotta and stringy stracciatella. The dish is topped with walnuts and pangritata (fried, herbed bread) and some lightly acidic pickled grapes.
There are also lamb ribs served with chimichurri and a garlicky almond bechamel.
Woodyard is reluctant to describe Bart Jr as a “cocktail bar”, but the drinks are outstanding. Don’t skip the Margarita. Made with mezcal, it’s a spicy, smoky drink sweetened with agave syrup and finished with a habanero-salted rim.
Like the menu, the wine and beer offering will change regularly. Beers are from local brewers such as Shenanigans and Batch. Wines are almost exclusively Australian and there are natural and biodynamic drops by young winemakers, such as Vinterloper.
Cooper designed the space, taking it from an empty shell with dirt floors to a contemporary, bright room surrounded by enormous windows that will open to the street in summer.
“We wanted a juxtaposition of styles,” says Cooper. “The original walls give the space a Redfern grunge, and the fit-out is clean and modern.”
In the afternoon, sunlight floods the room, and at night, lights twinkle from inside. “It’s like a little jewel box,” says Cooper.
92 Pitt Street, Redfern
0402 567 134
Wed & Thu 3pm–12am
Fri & Sat 12pm–12am