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Barlow at The Continental Sorrento

This luxe speakeasy pairs a sumptuous live entertainment program with clever cocktails and late-night snacks by Scott Pickett.
By Libby Curran
July 20, 2022
By Libby Curran
July 20, 2022

Part of the revamped Hotel Continental, speakeasy and entertainment venue Barlow pulls inspiration from the grand sandstone building's original founder, George Coppin.

Coppin also started a local theatre company, acting in many of its productions under the stage name of Billy Barlow. "The name 'Barlow', represents it as a space where you can be whoever you want to be," co-owner Craig Shearer tells Concrete Playground.

A luxe nightclub, cocktail bar and live music venue in one, Barlow is a collaborative affair — just like its Continental siblings. It leans on Shearer's (The Terminus Fitzroy North, Brisbane's The Plough) own extensive experience in the pub game, with food by chef Scott Pickett (​​Estelle, Matilda) and sips from the Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Nick & Nora's, Mjolner).

Gareth Sobey

Moody, luxurious Woods Bagot interiors lend an old-world feel to the 140-seat space, all plush burgundy banquettes and emerald-hued walls.

An impressive booze offering translates to a cocktail aficionado's dream menu, filled with beautifully-executed classics and standout signatures. Seasonal sips might include the likes of the Mornington Margarita made with a salt and pepper pineapple syrup ($25), or the Something for Rosie infused with raspberry- and rose-smoked earl grey tea ($22).

That's backed by a global list of vino, offering plenty of options by the glass and including a crop of half bottles to match music- or comedy-filled evenings by the stage.

Kristoffer Paulsen

On that note, Barlow's broad-ranging, ever-evolving live entertainment program is out to wow locals and visitors alike, with help from a custom state-of-the-art sound system. You'll be able to dip into everything from live rock gigs, to jazz, to comedy, to DJ sets, up to five nights a week throughout the year.

As for the food, expect a selection of snacks, share plates and dedicated late-night eats, all infused with Pickett's signature flair. Ortiz anchovies ride atop house-made tomato toasts with capers and egg yolk, and spring rolls are stuffed with spanner crab and king prawn, then finished with a peanut lime nam jim.

What's more, night owls can keep the groove going until 2am with fried chicken — here, matched with caviar and creme fraiche — and hefty New York-style pizzas by the slice.

Kristoffer Paulsen

Images: Interiors by Gareth Sobey; Food by Kristoffer Paulsen

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