Darlinghurst's Impressive New Two-Storey Neighbourhood Bar The Waratah Opens This Week

A heavy dose of nostalgic Australiana runs through the menus at this multi-faceted new 120-seat pub and cocktail bar.
Orlaith Costello and Ben Hansen
December 05, 2023

A 120-seat boozer with an acclaimed hospitality team and a nostalgic dessert menu will officially swing open its doors on the corner of Liverpool and Victoria Streets on Wednesday, December 6. Located a few doors down from Shadow Bakery, The Waratah will facilitate casual catch-ups, afternoon beers and moody date nights with a strong dose of Australian nostalgia.

The new opening boasts a couple of different zones. Downstairs, you'll find the walk-in-only public bar, offering an easy-going atmosphere and approachable menu. Upstairs, things are a little more serious, with a terrace cocktail bar and a more built-out dinner menu.

Led by hospitality heavyweights Evan Stroeve (ex-Re, Bulletin Place and Swillhouse), Alex Prichard (Bondi Icebergs) and business partner Cynthia Litster, the inner-city watering hole marks the debut of the new Sydney hospitality group Pollen Hospitality, founded by Stroeve and Litster.

"It's a choose-your-own-adventure at The Waratah," says Litster. "Whether it's saddling up at the bar for a chat, orchestrating a memorable date night on the wrap-around veranda, or dropping by for a quick burger and beer, the venue empowers you to create your own adventure — we're just here to assist."

The Waratah welcomes you with earthy tones, warm lighting and touches of local flora throughout the venue — setting the tone and introducing the themes of nostalgia and native ingredients.

In the ground-floor pub, the classic menu is elevated with fresh produce and a flourish of Icebergs charm, courtesy of Prichard. There's a classic Aussie burger with the lot, a lobster roll topped with Ziggy's hot sauce and a double scallop dish that pairs potato scallops with raw scallops.

Nab a booking upstairs at The Waratah, and the feeds are taken up a notch. Expect butterflied king prawns and wagyu steak diane, partnered with nostalgic after-dinner treats like a fairy bread ice cream sandwich and a Waratah take on a mango Weiss Bar.

As for the drinks, the best spot in the house is the first-floor terrace bar. Here, you'll find a selection of cocktails titled Drinking Australia. Highlights include a cocoa and cherry negroni that uses gin, local cherries and wine made with Daintree cacao and the Mango and Cream — a combination of rum, spiced mango, caramelised cream, coconut and lime.

No matter where you're seated, you can order the venue's signature summer drink: the Waratah Spritz. This refreshing sip is made from Archie Rose vodka, a house-made rhubi mistelle, watermelon wine and a dash of vanilla.

"I grew up in the country, and I've always wanted my first bar to be one that reconnects people with it," says Stroeve. "I'm infatuated with the idea of presenting our country in a way that we can be proud of, not only on a global scale but in a local, colloquial and accessible way."

"The Waratah is a venue that you can come and enjoy, feel comfortable and welcome, but also leave feeling encouraged. You have supported not only a small independent business but also the growers and producers who are the backbone of our food industry."

The Waratah will open at 308-310 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst on Wednesday, December 6. Head to the venue's website to make a booking.

Images: Jason Loucas

Published on December 05, 2023 by Orlaith Costello
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