Not all hotel bars were created equal. Some are too quiet, some are too old and stuffy, some are just plain boring. The brand new Observatory Bar inside Langham Sydney is light years away from being any of those things.
Carved out of what was originally ballroom and conference space, the bar is a study in opulent yet not over the top luxury that the Langham does so well. Custom furniture, handpicked pieces of art and beautiful glassware are just the beginning of your experience when you walk inside.
A nod to the original Observatory Hotel, Langham pays tribute to much more than its predecessor. They’ve taken a theme and run with it – at least when it comes to the cocktail list. Bar manager David Green has lovingly, and painstakingly created a rather cosmic-themed cocktail list – we’re talking drinks like Through the Wormhole, Dark Matter and a Night at the Planetarium. Our favourite is Star Gazer, gin, cold pressed pineapple juice, mint and yuzu tonic served to the table in a miniature telescope. Yes, that’s right, a telescope. Green is practically bouncing on the balls of his feet as he brings the cute contraption to the table, unscrews the ‘lens cap’ and pours the cocktail into a crystal cut tumbler. It’s well balanced and easy drinking, certainly much more than a gimmick. There are more than 33 different cocktails on offer – some with more fun factor than others. We get serious drink envy when the table over orders A Night at the Planetarium and a red and white milkshake cup arrives with a bowl of marshmallow fairy floss.
These aren’t your average cookie cutter cocktails, but they’re not all kitsch either. Green spent months developing the list, incorporating local spirits, local ingredients and local history wherever possible. When it comes to behind the bar, there’s been no skimping there either. There are more than 50 different wines by the glass, along with more than 250 different bottles of wine. We’re wowed by the 56-strong local and international gin list – and can vouch for the G&Ts, where you’ve got plenty of different tonics to choose from.
When it comes to food, the offering is certainly smaller, but no less decadent. Try brioche roll bug tails, beetroot smoked salmon, mini wagyu tacos or sizzling saganaki cheese served hot in a skillet dish drizzled in thyme, honey and Sipsmith gin. The Espresso Martini Popsicle is already popular with the evening crowd, but we’re big fans of the plump lemon and juniper berry beignets.
Whether you want to switch off and go to a galaxy far, far away for the evening, or are after a rare British gin you can’t find anywhere else around town, the Observatory Bar should be on your list.
The Langham Sydney, 89-113 Kent Street, Sydney
Mon – Sun: 5pm – 10pm (bar food)
Mon – Sun: 5pm – midnight (beverage service)