Rugby usually involves a few schooners at the pub after the game, but George Gregan’s latest hospitality venture (also backed by Phil Waugh, David Wenham and Sam Neill) couldn’t be further from a footy club bar room. A relatively new addition to the Neutral Bay café/wine bar scene, The Local Bar is as good for a relaxed breakfast and flat white as it is for a pre- or post-dinner drink and nibble.
Tucked away on Young Lane just off Grosvenor Street, inside is ultra-modern but intimate with small tables that curl around the pressed metal bar. The tables on the footpath outside are perfectly positioned for the morning sun and something off the breakfast menu. Try the novelty of “fancy Weet-Bix” (really just Weet-Bix, banana and honey but nostalgically satisfying nonetheless) or something more substantial like boiled egg, jamon and rocket on toast. Jamon and other charcuterie meats take pride of place on the menu, used as a toast topping in the morning and on generous platters in the evening complemented by quality cheeses, cornichons and spiced almonds.
The menu encourages matching charcuterie with one of the Spanish sherries on offer, with a sherry “flight” of four different kinds available for $13. The wine list is extensive and favours an Australian drop ,while the beer and cider selection is more international. Cocktails deserve a special mention with their playful names and enticing combinations. ‘Lucky Lips’ ($16) is a caipiroska with mashed kiwi fruit and vodka, and the ‘Chilli Jam Margarita’ ($16) gets its name from a mix of Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime and chilli. It’s hard to go wrong, though, with ‘The Fish House Rum Punch’ ($38) for 4 - a heart-warming jug of rum, cognac and “love.”