Boutique venue No Vacancy straddles the line between Kings Cross lounge, club and small bar. There's the standard exposed brick, timber beams, a low haze from flickering tealights, old school bookshelves and retro lamps recalling small bar etiquette. Then there's the massive bling hanging from the ceiling. Yes, a disco ball. We've got booths and black flooring, too, so we're pretty sure we're in the Cross. A strong set of characteristics we've just given you, yes, but forgive us for begging the question: what exactly is No Vacancy?
Graham Cordery (Experience Entertainment Group) has put his years of experience working for ivy behind him to open this Kings Cross newbie, a venue he hopes offers "a new standard in Sydney's Kings Cross club scene" for a slightly more mature crowd. Marked by a flickering vintage sign, No Vacancy is a multi-level bar catering to a range of tastes. The first level comprises a cosy bar with open balcony and a long run of booths leading into the central bar and DJ area. This place reeks of Los Angeles style club lounge and that's not a complaint.
Opening night first impressions? Legs. Lots and lots of legs. Leggy models and leggy hosts. Mix exclusive with fashionista and you're getting the vibe. There's 'bottle service' for those lucky enough to score an exclusive booth. 12 year old Chivas Regal ($300 for 750ml) and Hayman's London ($280 for 700ml) were both on offer.
For the rest of us we've a choice of a considered selection of beverages. The drinks menu includes Chandon NV ($11 glass) and an array of cocktails (all $18). The Belly Boy, a mix of Ultimat, 1783 Soda and pressed citrus, was a little tasteless with quite a generous serving of ice. This aside, the Mr Pink, comprising Hayman's London Dry Gin, Campari, 1783 Agrum with lime, had an exciting flavour combination. Second to this was The Who's Who?!, Vodka O, 1783 Agrum, blood orange with mint, which was a tasty and freshingly sweet option. For the more adventurous, there's the Fontanebleau, a combo of Tequila Blu, pressed pineapple and chillied corriander or the Black Velvet, combining Jack Daniels, spiced walnut syrup and freshly pulled espresso.
We're going to be honest, No Vacancy is not everyone's ticket, but is a welcome addition to the Cross' ecclectic club scene. Fusing small bar decor with lounge bar drinks and club-style antics (yes, bottled water is $4), this place is doing something interesting. You'll find a grown-up crowd here of a weekend and you'll even leave without feeling the need for a good hose down. It's early days yet, but we reckon you should watch this space.