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Buddy's Bar Newtown

This self-serve beer bar puts the power in your hands in the former home of Lentil As Anything.
By Ben Hansen and Suz Tucker
March 17, 2023
By Ben Hansen and Suz Tucker
March 17, 2023

Buddy's in Newtown is the suburb's first-ever self-service bar, taking over the site formerly occupied by Lentil As Anything. The King Street spot will have your beer-pulling skills on display, with each beverage you consume — whether that's a hoppy craft brew or a sweet and sour cocktail — coming from one of the 30+ self-serve taps around the venue.

This two-storey boozery is the brainchild of co-owners Jimmy Roe and Duncan McGeoch, who've kept the fit-out relatively simple with ample seating, polished brick, and a heap of natural light, as well as playful custom artwork by Newtown artist Paul Tooth.

The considerable drinks lineup comes from a carefully curated selection of local craft beer, natural wine, house-made cocktails and non-alcoholic options, all of which are stored in kegs. And the storage choice is purposeful.

Roe and McGeoch are committed to reducing their environmental impact, ensuring that lowering waste and minimising the business's carbon footprint is top of mind and steers their business practices. Roe told Concrete Playground: "We want to offer an experience without the wastage that can be traditionally generated at hospitality venues."

If you're wondering how exactly the self-serve system works (and how it isn't an RSA minefield), here's the general gist. You start by procuring a Buddy's venue card upon entrance and pre-load it with your desired amount to spend. From there, you head to the beverage wall where you grab a glass and select your booze of choice, tap your card to activate the tap and pour to your heart's content. The system tracks volume limits and is responsible for card reactivation, so you'll be kept in check.

It's not all booze, though. If you're feeling peckish, Buddy's has partnered with the local crew from Rub-A-Dub seasoning and has a snack-heavy sharing menu on offer. You'll find a bunch of beer-friendly options like nachos, flatbread Italian pizzas and Rub-A-Dub's famous chicken ribs, alongside Aussie classics like fairy bread. And if you're catering to a larger group — or just up for an insane personal challenge — opt for the one-metre long bruschetta.

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