Winner of Concrete Playground's Best New Pub of 2015.
Standing proud in Millers Point, the Hotel Palisade forms a unique and improbable part of Sydney's foreshore history; when it was built a century ago, it was the city's highest building. Having sat sadly vacant for years, it's now been revived with a smart new maritime design by Sibella Court which nods to the area's industrial and nautical heritage.
There are diagrams of seafaring knots on the distressed walls and the inscription 'Think Like a Pirate' on one arched doorway, as well as a painting of a ship battling treacherous seas. Old school pub tiling, vintage lamps and some priceless old signage round out the olde world feel.
A rooftop cocktail bar is due to open soon and will offer extensive views of the bright lights of the Barangaroo complex. But for now there's the downstairs pub, which pumps out food that avoids the familiar schnitzels and steak sandwiches and opts instead for snacks like creamy chicken liver pate with a sweet Young Henrys cider jelly ($12).
There's also a salmon tartare with plenty of freshness and flavour from crunchy cress, roe, thin sliced radish and citrus creme fraiche. A beef brisket sanga ($18) is filled with meat soft enough to fall apart at the touch of a butter knife and comes with a mug of salt and vinegar chips.
Once a popular drinking hole for workers building the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Palisade now offers a diverse drinks list which includes top-notch craft beers like Little Creatures Pale Ale ($6.50) as well as wines from across the nation. Go for the fruity Cooter & Cooter Shiraz ($9/$42) or one of the thematically fitting rums, like a Pirate's Grog ($13) or Sailor Jerry ($8.50).
The cocktail list by Mikey Enright (of The Barber Shop) is also on point. It includes a refreshing Governors Gimlet ($16) with house-made celery liqueur and dehydrated lime, and a Spiced Negroni ($17), which is heavy on cinnamon, cloves and star anise. A Larrikin Old Fashioned ($17) adds IIegal mezcal for a cheeky twist on the evergreen cocktail.
Heartbreak Hotel ($17) is probably the pick though, and not just for jilted lovers. Combining Chivas whisky, Pierre Ferrand cognac, rockmelon, fennel seed honey and bitters, it's floral, smoky and sweet all at once — an ideal drink to raise in celebration to this reborn gem of Sydney harbour history.