You can find Beta up a unmarked staircase leading from Alpha restaurant below.
The design has exposed brick and an ancient-Greek vibe. There are blue, grey and wood tones from the oversized double-seater sofa seats, to the banquette under the ceiling-high windows. A central eyeline straight to the bar (from anywhere in the long space) makes the cavernous area still feel cosy. Paul Papadopoulos and the DS17 team represent Greece in the details: it’s in the marble pillar-like candle holders, the arched walkways with rustic brick architraves, and the brass pendant lighting, chair frames and glassware.
Bar manager Nathan Cannon leads a team of eight bartenders (many of whom also work at Alpha downstairs), with a focus on “Australian, organic and boutique”, he says.
“This [cocktail list] is pretty small; I originally had a massive list,” Cannon says. “As we get going, I’m going to build [it] … I’ve got a lot of plans for it, a lot of booze I want to sell.”
For now, the cocktail menu includes options such as the Bothos, a heady combination of Dark Matter spiced rum, maple syrup and Cointreau, topped with whipped Cointreau foam. Decorated with a dried orange and a sprig of mint, it’s a smooth, tart, smoky concoction leaning towards Cannon’s Canadian heritage. The Pisco Sour – with Pisco Cannon painstakingly sought from South America – is a punchy and zingy number, served in a marble-bottomed martini glass. Cannon is particularly proud of the amount and terroir of spirits offered, including Aviation Gin, Moonshine and plenty of rye whiskey.
To eat, go for the deconstructed, reinvented Greek salad – a layering of thick feta pudding; olive-oil and bread-crumb dressing; and a mound of iced horitaki (which tastes like tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, but feels like a snow cone), decorated with candied Kalamata olives and chunks of feta. Also good is the popcorn sweetbreads with zhoug skordalia dip, and the skewered octopus tentacles atop two varieties of split-pea dip.
Level One, 238 Castlereagh Street
(02) 9098 1111
Wed & Thu 5–12pm