Thursday, October 29, 2009

Darlo, you're bangin'

Grungy indie kids (Gaslight), dancing pill poppers (Oxford Art, Q-bar) or same sex pashers (Slide, The Columbian), Darlinghurst has had many lovers. She was used up of late and had begun to look like the hussy who stays out till tomorrow and then moves on to a recovery bar. Seamy and stale, in need of a spruce up.

BEFORE: Darlo, letting it all hang out

The Crown/Burton/Oxford St triangle has seen a flurry of bar openings these last few months, which has transformed the dingy end of Darlo into a hive of BondiScenesters+DoubleBayDollies+SurryHillsHipsters hobnobbery.

Ching-a-Lings, Low 302 and Pocket round out the small bar trifecta – finally somewhere cosy to drink where you can get a proper cocktail, listen to bang on music and get bar food other than birdseye wedges. The Winery is Gazebo’s Surry Hills sister and lends a bit of chic (tiptoeing on the border of being oversized and commercial) with a great wine list and an excellent menu upstairs, although the cocktails are average.

Doctor Pong came next and I predict a limited lifespan. Kitted out with ping-pong tables and chesterfields, the idea should work but it just plain doesn’t. Soulless, sparse, and populated with leftovers from The Gaff – I lasted five minutes before leaving because of an allergic reaction to the backpackers.

Last out of the stables, The Pond. A short stumble from Pocket, the Two Thousand crew have set up a home away from home. The basement bar, with low couches, crates and an adjoining courtyard is all dimly lit nooks and crackly jazz music. Upstairs the menu of local produce changes daily and is served at long wooden tables, much like eating in a country house kitchen. The food has been cracked up to be one of The Pond’s main selling points, but I’ve sampled about half of the bar menu and three or four of the mains and they were good but not amazing. Bang for buck, I’d say.

AFTER: Darlo, bitching