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Bar Conte

This Surry Hills corner terrace has been transformed into a sleek cocktail bar with a love for negronis.
By Ben Hansen
October 19, 2022
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By Ben Hansen
October 19, 2022
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Negronis and Italian bar snacks are at the centre of this Surry Hills aperitivo bar. Bar Conte is the project of Raffaele Lombard and his partner, interior designer Victoria Hampshire who have worked together to transport you to the Amalfi Coast through a sleek bar inspired by Italy's aperitivo culture.

"I have dreamt of this concept for the past 10 years. The negroni is my drink of choice, and has been since I was a young man growing up in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast. It's bitter, strong and clean — the ultimate pre-dinner drink. We felt it deserved its own dedicated bar," Lombard says.

The obvious place to start here is with a negroni. There are more than 20 varieties on the menu ranging from $19–32. Alongside your classics, there's a range of intriguing combinations: the Negroni Sbagliato 1972 combines Campari, Cinzano 1757 and prosecco; the Il Professore is a mix of Campari, Campano Rosso Vermouth and Kimbo coffee liqueur; and the Rhubarb is made from Glendalough Rose Gin, Cinzano 1757 and Rabarbaro liqueur.

Further along the menu and you'll find a selection of classic cocktails ($18-25) — martinis, margaritas, spritzes and sours — followed by European wines and beers.

Accompanying the drinks is a creative array of bar snacks pulled together by Head Chef and co-owner Steve De Vecchi (ex-The Apollo). Think rosemary focaccia ($11), king prawns with burnt butter ($28) and marinated eggplant caprino ($12). There are also menu items infusing the bar's signature drink, including oysters with a negroni dressing ($6.50) and negroni-infused salumi ($6).

Before the bar turns its sights towards stiff drinks each evening, it also operates at Caffé Conte each morning until 3pm Monday–Saturday. Here you'll find top-notch coffee and loaded paninis packed with battered eggplant, grilled zucchini, parma prosciutto or ham, artichokes and olives.

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