by Suzan Ryan – editor, bars&clubs
Sydney’s Surry Hills bar scene just got a late-night injection of rock’n’roll attitude and good times with the launch yesterday of Brooklyn Social – part one of a two part collaboration between Ben May (Manly Wharf Hotel, The London Hotel, Mrs Sippy) and Raul Gonzales and David Freeman (The Backroom, Potts Point).
The dive bar/diner is situated upstairs from the Central Tavern (17 Randle Street, Surry Hills) and, like all decent punk rock anti-establishment types, it's out to be noticed and not forgotten.
Brooklyn Social is a slick yet welcoming hangout that channels the 1970s rock and grime of Brooklyn’s infamous dive bars with the sophistication of a modern gin-mill. The bar boasts 45 gins and a back bar that features a mix of distressed shelving, upended wooden boxes and broken wood slats, used to board up the windows and display the cocktail list.
The menu (created by Mikey Canavan of Chur London Fields fame) is a late-night drinker’s fantasy of yellow food groups and high salt and fat stomach pleasers. From onion rings and deep fried mac-and-cheese balls, to Wagyu cheeseburgers and home fried chicken, the pages-deep menu offers table service til 10pm and bar service til 2:00am.
Guests are encouraged to take Polaroids with the in-house camera and tack their photos to the photo wall, booth seating is stay-awhile comfortable and the interiors – a disparate collection of nostalgia, rock n roll, kitsch and comfort is brought together cleverly into a cohesive and welcoming whole by consultant creative director, Nathan Sullivan.
May, Gonzales and Freeman plan to close the downstairs Central Tavern later this month to begin phase two of their twin venue release: creating leafy beer garden venue The Hills, scheduled to open mid-August. The combination of the classy and outdoorsy The Hills with hard rockin’ Brooklyn Social, open from midday to 2:00am, will breathe new life into this currently exhausted corner of Surry Hills.