A bootery, a boarding house and an opium den. These are just a few of the past lives of 77–79 George Street, but The Doss House is the latest moniker for this heritage-listed building — and this time round, it'll focus on whisky.
And we mean a lot of whisky — 150 bottles, to be exact. This enormous whisky collection is showcased in American oak cabinets throughout the venue and spans international regions from Australia, Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the States. Rare whiskies on offer include 30-year-old Hibiki and Glenglassaugh, as well Nikka 'Taketsuru' Fortune 80 and a GlenDronach bottle from 1994. Whisky flights will be introduced in the coming months so you can maximise your breadth of tastes.
If you're not one to drink whisky neat, The Doss House has also got all the classic cocktails on offer, along with signatures like The Dusky Scotchman (Laphroaig 10-year, Branca Menta, honey and saline), a blackberry and lemon myrtle fizz (blackberry-infused Stolichnaya, lemon myrtle, fresh lemon and Cynar) and My Name Is Earl (earl grey-infused gin, peach aperitif, orange marmalade, fresh lemon and basil).
For whisky-induced snacking, the kitchen is putting together share platters featuring a selection of pickles, chutney, cheese and meat, with the Aussie-themed platter specifically including emu prosciutto and kangaroo salami paired with native cheeses. Guinness and oyster pairings are on the horizon, too.
The basement bar boasts five distinct spaces that each pay homage to a past tenant. The exposed sandstone walls and renewed original fireplaces are paired with brass fittings, antique mirrors, luxurious orange velvet banquettes and an antique chesterfield sofa. The custom-made leather armchairs in one room are offset by high bar stools in another, plus it's got a revitalised outdoor courtyard to boot. The soft lighting completes the vibe, giving off the dark and cosy feel of an old Irish pub.
Which makes sense, considering the two owners, Colm O'Neill and Eoin Daniels (who's the founder of Top Knot Carpentry and Joinery), are Irish expats and childhood mates. Daniels boasts quite the Sydney resume — his carpentry business has fitted iconic venue interiors at Opera Bar, The Old Clare Hotel, The Clock Hotel and The Golden Sheaf. The duo is joined by local heavy hitters, including bar manager Alex O'Brien (Bar No. 5, Archie Rose) and Bobby Carey (Big Poppa's, Shady Pines, Riley Street Garage), who consulted on the menus.
Images: Alana Dimou