Proving they know their audience, the newly revamped Buena Vista in Mosman is a little bit fancy. And while it's a pub at heart, the marble-topped bar — adorned with a veritable high-end selection of gins and whiskies — is the first sign that The Buena (as it's now named) is not your average pub. You'll still find sports on the TV and a crowd of people knocking back an after-work beer (along with the usual suspects, they have Young Henrys on tap) but you're also just as likely to see a group polishing off a casual bottle of Billecart-Salmon champagne ($125 a bottle).
Upstairs in the Vista Bar it's no different. While the setting is casual and homely, reminiscent of a chic outdoor (but actually indoor) entertaining area, complete with a deck, ferns and a lounge area, the gastropub menu takes it up a notch. They do offer pub classics like chicken schnitzel with chips and slaw ($24), rump ($28) or eye fillet steak, and a wagyu burger topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, pickles and a smoked tomato aioli ($22), but, as you would expect from a menu that Guillaume Brahimi has had a hand in, there's so much more.
The Vista Bar's menu gives you the option to fly solo or share. If you're all for the latter, start with yellowfin tuna poke with sesame and squid ink crackers — which take six hours to make and an instant to eat — or order a few crab sliders ($7 each) or barramundi tacos ($6 each) between you. And with the option to have any of their wood-fired pizzas made on a gluten free base, sharing with a big group is easy. Sticking to their penchant for the finer things, you can expect to choose from toppings such as truffles as opposed to ham and pineapple.
Healthy options are available too, and The Buena won't leave you feeling like you're paying your penance. The smoked trout, warm potato, spinach and dill salad with a seeded mustard dressing ($21) is far from boring and has enough substance to keep any food envy at bay.
If this all sounds great but you're not one to share, the miso salmon with broad beans, pickled cucumber and green tea noodles ($29) is something you won't find at most locals. It's one of the details that make The Buena a great option for a not-so casual night with mates on the lower north shore.
UPDATE 10 JULY 2017: If you're looking for a cheap mid-week dinner, The Buena does $4 tacos and $10 margaritas in the Vista Bar on Thursdays. Hop to it.