Sydney drinking icons simply endure; The Sheaf, Oaks, Newport Arms and who hasn’t had a random night at The Verandah Bar? It’s been 20 years since its last reinvention and it’s reopened with an eye popping multi-million dollar a lift and tuck!
Walking into Verandah’s cavernous space has always been a bit daunting, but with a large circular bar to the right, the room is broken up in to the serious stand up drinker’s area and the main room of group seating and chairs along with of course that famous balcony! Thanks to the vision of Simon Tilley and Nick Wills of hospitality group Tilley and Wills, the space morphs again if you turn left into the more intimate ‘Social at Verandah’.
Think ‘Club Tropicana’. It’s got more foliage than the Botanical Gardens and you’ll be dining inside an urban jungle conservatory, as artful murals, wicker chairs, intimate banquets surround a central bar with rose gold touches. If you are eagle eyed, you may even see a monkey or two.
The Bar menu offers fun from flights of Gin and Scotch’s removing any dilemma of which to pick. Social specialty cocktail of Lady Marmalade with Tanqueray gin kicks the night off in more ways than one. Reality TV fans of First Dates will love bar manager Cameron Pascoe who is even more charming and engaging in real life. The warm and welcoming service from all staff at Social is a standout.
NSW AHA Chef of the Year Executive Chef Brad Sloane (ex Marco Pierre White, The Belvedere London) brings Italian influences home with entrees of a seafood bisque with islands of yabby tail and roast pumpkin tortellini, or try the South Australian calamari which are perfect creamy strips tossed in lemon spice. Mains are artfully presented and locally sourced; two slices of juicy Tinder Creek duck painted with swirls of roast cauliflower pure or pan roasted Gold Band snapper sitting atop a medley of pan roasted gold asparagus, spinach, baby fennel with lashings of mussel cream. Simply add smashingly good fat chips and truffled Mac n Cheese; it’s hard not to want to move in.
It’s fantastic to see an icon be reinvented into a space which will see more generations eat, drink, meet but if you haven’t been for a while, we recommend you take a trip down memory lane – you might just create a whole lot of new ones.
55-65 Elizabeth St, Sydney