A walk along Barangaroo on a summer’s evening heaving with revellers and tourists, makes you wish you knew of somewhere hidden, a little more unique and perhaps only on the radar of those who need to (or should know).
Enscounced in a rock face embankment, almost hidden from view on the city side of Hickson Road is Solera. Its both a nod to the future of Sydney’s upscale drinking and its past. This is one of Sydney’s finest champagne bars.
Nestled in the original Australian Gas Light Company built in 1845, many of the original features remain including tracks from the rail system and lifts now morphed into private dining nooks lined with heavy drapes for privacy. It’s a visual feast thanks to designers Steal and Stitch who have created two different rooms set against imposing sandstone walls. The first area houses a stunning illuminated bar, book ended with fridges containing a hefty amount of vintage champagne, velvet high chairs and a plenty of sparkle coming from hanging metal orb lights. In the second room tiered booths create intimate group seating with custom designed champagne tables by Kaelo; working hard to ensure your bottles are the perfect temperature.
So to the champagnes! There are three by the glass, but it’s the bottles where things get interesting, with small growers like Leclerc Briant, Jerome Dehours, Nicolas Maillart and ULYSSE COLLin. If you are bored by the traditional blend of Pinot/Chardonay/Pinot Meunier here you can try a Benoit Dehu 100% Meunier.
Cocktails more your thing? Then order a signature ‘Gas Light’ or an impressive ‘Apple of Louisianna’. Its Sazerac and apple brandy base is balanced by absinth jelly molded onto one side of a glass with its very own curved drinking pipe.
Snacks are a simple affair. If you need something more substantial than nuts and olives, choose from a meat and cheese platter with a Catalan cheese; goat (Garrotxa), semi-soft cows (Urgelia) and Salchichon, the Spanish rival to the French saucisson. Or opt for a classic Ruben sandwich.
The surprises keep coming. It’s not the champagne, wines or the food, but something normally overlooked. You must view the toilets. An electric sliding door reveals a riot of plumage! Walls are adorned with murals of royal blue peacocks romping around in a garden of red roses and pink flowers.
Solera has something old, something new, something blue and oh! great loos.
36 Hickson Road, Millers Point
Open Monday to Saturday, from 4pm