When Mary’s Newtown patriarchs Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham announced they’d been handed the keys to Circular Quay’s shuttered live-music venue The Basement, Sydneysiders breathed a sigh of relief. Not only was the duo promising to bring nightly music back to the curfewed city, they hinted at some exciting new food too.

They've split the space into two distinct venues. Below is Mary's Underground, a Mary's-style dinner-and-a-show place, opened in May 2019 Above ground is Mary's Circular Quay. It's clearly Mary's sibling, it's just got a white collar job in the CBD. The well-loved grungy and aggressive attitude is still there, but it's tempered and refined by its surrounds.

It’s in the space previously known as The Basement Upstairs (inside, an illuminated sign that once said "Upstairs" has been artfully rearranged to say "Ratpiss"). It offers the same Mary’s burgers-and-pounding-music experience we already know and love, but with one major twist: the entire Mary’s menu can be recreated vegan. All traditional Mary’s options will remain available. All herbivores need to do is choose anything off the menu and ask for it vegan.

Their kitchen tinkering has also yielded vegan buns, vegan sauces and vegan cheese, all prepared with a dedicated meat-free grill and fryer, and stored in a meat-free fridge.

The group’s characteristically loud music is here, but instead of the ’80s and ’90s metal that pumps at the Newtown venue, the soundtrack at Circular Quay is influenced more by the current UK punk movement.

As with the team’s other venues (which include The Lansdowne and Unicorn Hotel), beers come from inner-west breweries Young Henrys and Grifters), as well as plenty of other craft brewers. The wine list features 20 wines by the glass; all organic, all sustainably farmed and all leaning heavily toward Australian and New Zealand producers.

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Updated: June 9th, 2021

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