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Piccolo Bar Kings Cross

Kings Cross institution Piccolo has been revitalised as a 12-seat aperitivo bar that pays homage to the history of the spot.
By Ben Hansen
November 10, 2021
By Ben Hansen
November 10, 2021

At nearly 70-years-old, Kings Cross institution Piccolo Bar has been revived as a licensed aperitivo spot under the guidance of Bartender Magazine founder, Dave Spanton. Located just off the Kings Cross main strip on Roslyn Street, Piccolo Bar served as a late-night cafe and nightlife spot from 1952. But, following years of difficult conditions for Sydney's hospitality industry, the Kings Cross institution closed its doors.

Rising from the ashes of lockdowns and lockouts, the inner-city stalwart is being leased by Spanton from long-time owner Vittorio Bainchi and has been given a makeover that stays true to the heritage of the bar while freshening it up.

The writer and entrepreneur has also secured the venue's first-ever liquor license. Sitting at a small but mighty 20 square metres, the bar holds 12 seats indoors and eight outdoors. Come 10pm, the outdoor seating will be packed away making Piccolo Bar one of Sydney's smallest drinking holes.

The food menu is reserved but a lot of fun. You'll find hot dogs made with LP's Quality Meats dogs, goat's curd and piquillo pepper toasties and a range of canned treats like spicy Italian sardines or Spanish mussels, served with crackers and pickles.

Alternatively, the drinks menu stretches across eight pages, overwhelming visitors with choice. While a wide array of wine and spirits are on offer, the cocktails, aperitifs and aromatised wines are the star of the show here. Take your pick from the selection of vermouths or order a classic Americano made with Campari, house-blended vermouth and soda. Head to the bar between 4–6pm for $12 cocktails.

For Spanton, it was a no-brainer when he saw the beloved venue was up for lease. "My accountant thinks it's a crazy idea," he jokes. "But there's more to life than money, and I just couldn't stand to see this place disappear."

'Piccolo Bar' is one of our favourite spots for a drink. So much so that it features in our list of the 20 best bars Sydney has to offer. Browse the full list for all of the city's top watering holes.

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