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The Cantina OK! Team Has Nailed the Brief Once Again with Its Expansive New CBD Cocktail Bar Centro 86

A top-secret Pitt Street basement has been transformed into a bustling underground cantina with one-of-a-kind cocktails until 2am, seven days a week.
By Ben Hansen
February 07, 2024
By Ben Hansen
February 07, 2024

Not content with creating four of Sydney's favourite venues in Bar Planet, Cantina OK!, Tio's and The Cliff Dive — plus the beloved OK! sparkling margarita seltzer — Mucho hospitality group has just served up another absolute home run with its new hidden underground cocktail lair Centro 86.

Described as an "old, fancy Mexican cantina on shrooms", the fresh Sydney CBD opening takes the magic of Bar Planet, as well as Cantina OK!'s love of margaritas, and applies it to an expansive 110-seat space. But before you settle in for a few fanciful cocktails, you've got to find the bar first.

Wander down Pitt Street until you find the Centro 86 sign. At this point, you'll have to take a right-hand turn and venture around to the unassuming Hoskings Place, where you'll find a fire escape and luminous Centro 86 sign, which will lead you down two flights of stairs to the moody subterranean watering hole.

Mucho has kept things local, working with a collection of Sydney and Australian artists to transform the space. David Humphries, the mind behind Bar Planet's psychedelic countertops, is back to inject big splashes of colour into the bar — while the team has enlisted local stained-glass artists, ceramicists, furniture makers and visual artists to bring the venue to life.

Margaritas are the name of the game at Centro 86, with five varieties on the menu, including the sensational and ultra-unique parsley-topped Verde — a must-try. Adding to that something special is a set of three old-school ice shavers, bringing a dose of theatrics and a melt-in-your-mouth touch to the drinks.

The inventive cocktails don't stop with the margs, with sherry-forward mixes and a fresh take on Bar Planet's Scorpino gracing the menu, alongside a refined wine and beer list featuring a few minimal-intervention drops and Wildflower Brewing's beloved table beer.

There's also an expansive tequila collection featuring spirits available from $13–180. You'll find varieties that the Mucho team has aged themselves, ultra-rare options, plus Australia's first agave spirit that's distilled up in Bowen, Queensland.

And it wouldn't be a Mucho venue without a bag of popcorn on your table — this time with a new secret spice mix that's promised to rival the fan-favourites of the group's other venues.

Located just metres from The Caterpillar Club and Ragazzi, this opening marks another impressive addition to the ever-improving Sydney CBD as it bounces back from the lockout laws. A few city-best margs and a bag of popcorn before heading off to enjoy a bowl of artichoke ravioli at one of our favourite restaurants in Sydney — sounds like a match made in heaven.

Centro 88 is located at Basement 86/88 Pitt St, Sydney — find the entrance on Hoskings Place. It's open 4pm–2am Monday–Sunday. Stay up to date with the bar at the venue's Instagram.

Images: Dexter Kim.

Published on February 07, 2024 by Ben Hansen
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