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FOOD & DRINK

The Best Bars in Dulwich Hill (and Surrounds)

A sausage cellar door, a revamped Greek milk bar and a live music haven are just a few of your nighttime options around town.
By Marissa Ciampi
May 14, 2019
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The Best Bars in Dulwich Hill (and Surrounds)

A sausage cellar door, a revamped Greek milk bar and a live music haven are just a few of your nighttime options around town.
By Marissa Ciampi
May 14, 2019
  shares

THE BEST BARS IN DULWICH HILL (AND SURROUNDS)

A sausage cellar door, a revamped Greek milk bar and a live music haven are just a few of your nighttime options around town.

The inner west's confidently cool suburbs of Newtown and Marrickville have a new neighbour to watch out for. Dulwich Hill is quickly becoming a player in the local hospitality scene, with heaps of cafes, high-quality eats and an ever-growing number of small bars to visit. A sausage cellar door, a revamped Greek milk bar and a live music haven in a former butcher are just a few nighttime spots to hunt down around town. So, gather your crew — or schedule a date night — and hit up our pick of the best bars in Dulwich Hills and surrounds.

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    Butchers Brew Bar brings jazz and funk to Marrickville Road, pairing local craft brews and a serious wine list with live tunes six nights a week. It’s an intimate, 50-seat venue owned by local and self-confessed live music junkie Caroline Buckingham. Housed in a former butchery, it still feels a little warehouse-y — the old butcher hooks have even been repurposed into a ledge — but also like a jazz lounge, thanks to the velvet curtains, vintage red spotlights and mural of Aretha Franklin.

    Music is the main offering here, with a focus on jazz and funk, but everything from surf rock bands to reggae hip-hop groups, New York jazz quintets and Brazilian musicians are also on the lineup. Bands take the stage every Tuesday through Sunday night, with Mondays reserved for stand-up comedy by Happy Endings Comedy Club.

    At the bar, expect Sydney locals Young Henrys and Batch on tap ($10–12) and classic cocktails for $20, along with a compact wine list ($9–15 by the glass). While the food menu is limited to cheese platters, delivery from nearby ethical Japanese restaurant Manmaru is also up for grabs.

    Image: Katje Ford. 

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    Unlike Dulwich Hill’s live music newcomer, The Sausage Factory actually is a butcher-bar — or, as dubbed by Chrissy’s Cuts sausage queen Chrissy Flanagan, Australia’s very first sausage cellar door.

    Featured behind the bar are beers from Flanagan’s own brewery, aptly named Sausage Queen Brewing, which focuses on lesser-known styles of beer and ones infused with native Australian ingredients — just like her sausages. You can pair roasted wattleseed and Tasmanian mountain pepper beef sausages with a Grod the Goblin Plum Grodziskie, an old-world Polish style made from oak-smoked wheat malt. And you can snag the full range of Chrissy’s Cuts sausages here, too.

    Apart from Sausage Queen, other local breweries make the tap list, including Akasha, Yulli’s Brews, Wildlflower and Philter. Drop by at weekend happy hour, Friday through Sunday 4–6pm, when all wine and Sausage Queen tap beers are $5 and bar snacks are $10.

    Images: Sarah-Jane Edis. 

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    You may know The General as a local go-to for all-day brekkie and brunch fare, but, on Thursday through Sunday nights, the venue’s deli and general store are transformed into the dimly lit Bar General. It boasts a rotating Australian wines and locally brewed beers — as well as cocktails created using house-made spiced rum and pineapple shrub.

    As with the venue’s daytime menu, the nighttime dishes use locally sourced ingredients. Think truffle and mushroom arancini, haloumi fries, chicken wings (served by the half- or full-kilogram) and a lineup of burgers — a house staple at day and night. Monthly pop-up dinners — with past themes including Japanese, rustic Italian and fish and chips — are also on the docket here. Check the website for future dates.

    Image: Thomas Davies.

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    The Rio owes its name (and theme) to the long-time milk bar that predated it. And the space pays loving homage to the venue’s past life, too, with boozy milkshakes and a few nods to the Greek heritage of the previous owner, George Poulos.

    On the drinks list, there’s The Rio Milkshake, a concoction of rum and amaretto, mixed with maple syrup, vanilla ice cream and house-made honeycomb. For eats, try the zucchini keftedes (vego version of Greek meatballs) and spanikopita (spinach pies), along with chicken souvlaki and chips topped with crumbed feta.

    Some of the wonky charm of the original 1950s signage has been retained, too, including the hand-painted lettering on the street windows and awnings that advertise cigarettes, chocolate and more.

    Image: Katje Ford.

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    The Temperance Society is a charming old-world bar that sprawls two narrow levels, weaving in and out of rooms like a family home. Upstairs there’s a brightly wallpapered library filled with Chesterfield lounges, leather-bound books and the smell of rich mahogany. Downstairs there’s the bar, a fairy-lit courtyard and various intimate nooks on the way.

    The primary focus is the drinks list, which showcases quality beers from Aussie breweries, including Balter, Philter and Akasha. Cocktails also play up the local theme, like the Little Myrtle (Botanica’s lemon myrtle liqueur, elderflower syrup and blueberries). The wine list changes each week, too, and at the moment includes a skin-contact orange for just a tenner a glass.

    For bar snacks, you’ll fine southern-fried chicken wings with chipotle mayo and a reuben with house-made sauerkraut, Jarlsberg and pickles. The Temperance Society also pops up every Friday and Saturday at the nearby Four Brave Women, which invites refugee families for eight-week stints in its kitchen.

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    Summer Hill fine-diner One Penny Red is also home to an upstairs gin, wine and cocktail bar. Vernon’s Bar, located on the second level of on an old Post Office building, boasts an enviable semi-circle balcony that overlooks the street. Come here for the extensive wine list, featuring both local and international drops, as well as the seasonal cocktails. The latter includes the Ironbarque (Talisker whisky with pisco, almond, ginger and lime), along with a barrel-aged negroni and a sazerac served with an absinthe ice-sphere.

    There’s also a six strong list of G&Ts and Aussie craft brews from the likes of Akasha, Batch and Grifter on offer. Vernon’s dedicated menu features bar snacks such as duck liver pâté with sweet and sour onions, and cod fritters with smoked chilli mayo. For dessert, order the banana and salted caramel beignets, a regular on the otherwise regularly changing menu. And head in on Wednesdays, when the bar is offering up pots of Spring Bay mussels for just a tenner.

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