The challenge of drinking at Door Knock is finding it in the first place. Enter a fire door next to a sandwich shop on Pitt Street and follow a corridor so long you’ll wonder if you’re lost. Then you’ll see a polished brass pineapple doorknocker. Knock three times, and you’re in.
“The pineapple is a universal symbol of hospitality,” says owner and former Australian World Class ambassador Natalie Ng, who you will know from Mojo Record Bar and Eau de Vie. “The bar is a throwback to speakeasys that were colloquially known as ‘knock knock’ bars, and the pineapple is about welcoming people into the space.”
If Door Knock has a vibe, it’s homely, and it’s a reflection of Ng and bar manager Jonno Carr’s affable personalities. “Coming here is like coming to a mate’s house for dinner. You get greeted when you walk in, and you eat and drink the food and cocktails they love to make.”
Those cocktails are all about unexpected ingredients. The refreshing Kiwi As spritz is made with kiwi-infused bianco vermouth, gin, garnished with lemon thyme and finished with a dash of apple cider vinegar. The Caskhopper is a coconut milk and espresso-infused whisky drink with a chocolate-mint flavour. For the wine list, the focus is on natural wines, and there’s an impressive list of fortifieds and sherries on offer, too.
The food menu is succinct and approachable. There’s a miso eggplant finished with puffed wild rice to give it a smokiness and crunch. And macaroni and cheese croquettes are served with a dollop of hot English mustard to act as a foil to the deep-fried, creamy pasta.
If the bar has the feeling of being underground, that’s because it is, although the space feels more cosy than claustrophobic. The space is dimly lit with four distinct areas that flow together, and the design is tactile; there is greenery, rope, corrugated metal and plenty of timber.
“I feel like I’ve been working on this place in my head my whole life,” says Ng. “The space is a collection of all the things we love, and we want everyone to feel comfortable and at home. Door Knock isn’t just one thing; our focus is on good service, good drink and good food.”
B2, 70 Pitt Street, Sydney 2000
Mon to Sat 4pm–12am