Last week I had the very great pleasure of attending the official launch of a very cool, very calm and very collected bar at the deep end of a wharf in Walsh Bay, and if I had my way, I’d be back every night.
Sydney Theatre Company’s latest venture – the very unambiguously named The Bar At The End Of The Wharf – is a wonderful new informal bar and dining area which has, in my humble opinion ‘got what it takes’. Great food (the mushroom bruschetta is incredible and don’t even get me started on the arancini balls…), great wine, an impossibly beautiful view and, if you weren’t already sold, it belongs to one of our most loved theatre companies!
Designed by STC’s Resident Designer Alice Babidge and Project Managed by STC’s Company Manager Rhys Holden, this new bar has transformed the end of the STC wharf into an affordable and comfortable environment for theatre-goers, company members, and (hopefully) general public who live and work in the Walsh Bay area. What is so lovely about the venue is the feeling of community it exudes. I still can’t quite put my finger on how this feeling permeates the venue; perhaps it’s because it has been designed and managed in-house; perhaps it’s because the bar staff are just so damn fun; perhaps it’s because Sydney needs a venue like this… Whatever the reason, I left feeling like I’d made a fabulous discovery, and from what I heard that evening amid all the congratulatory hugs and ceremonial ‘chinking’ of glasses – about 150 other people felt the same way.
Anyone who has attended a show at STC’s wharf (which has housed the company for nigh on 30 years) knows the long walk down the uneven planks can seem never ending, but with a gem like this at the end of it, I’d happily walk the walk daily. Or nightly.
As the sun set over the wharf, casting gorgeous pink light across Walsh Bay, an impromptu ping pong tournament began between several of the patrons, myself included, and I realised just how wonderful this venue really is. Playing to Sydney’s growing late night hospitality scene, The Bar At The End Of The Wharf could be just what the nocturnal theatre community have been looking for. Anyone who has worked in Sydney’s theatre scene would be acutely aware of the lack of venues to relax and socialise post performance. Hallelujah, ladies and gentlemen, The Bar has post show dining for famished thespians as well as a drinks menu, pool and ping pong.
For those who are keen on a more solitary experience, the STC have also provided some light reading in a library of classic plays and theatrical books – who wouldn’t want to sit with the script of My Fair Lady, or The Complete Works of Shakespeare and indulge in a coffee and cake?
It’s no secret that STC’s co-artistic directors, Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, had been keen for this enterprise to become a reality for some time. The hope is to make the venue a ‘home’ for STC’s artists and staff to gather, collaborate, eat and drink, and I sincerely hope this comes to fruition.
Congratulations to all involved in the development of The Bar and cheers to you, STC! I’ll be back for another round of ping pong very soon…
The Bar At The End Of The Wharf is open Monday to Saturday with a coffee and cake menu served from 9am-3pm, light lunch from 12pm-3pm and Bar menu 4pm – late.
Contact The Bar on (02) 9250 1761 or email [email protected]