A new design aesthetic has landed in Darling Harbour, and its messenger is The Port. The 1,050-capacity bar and eatery just opened in the space that formerly belonged to Margaritaville, challenging the garish, touristy feel that has long characterised the Harbour's venues.
Instead, The Port is inspired by French coastal chic, with Lainey Richardson the architect responsible. You might know her work from Pepe's On The Beach in Wollongong, The Annandale Hotel and The Henson in Marrickville.
Here, you'll sink into a waterfront cabana, order a signature cocktail — like the St Barts Sour (Disaronno, Makers Mark whiskey, egg white, lemon Juice, black pepper) or the Smoked Sea Salt Margarita (Patron Silver lime juice, pineapple, agave nectar, smoked sea salt, paprika) — and pretend you're on the Riviera. There's also a bunch of craft beers, including Young Henry's and Stone and Wood, as well as a boutique wine list. If you're keen to get a bit diva, you can book a cabana in advance, which comes with your own private host and canapés handpicked by the chef.
The menu is all about share plates, available in various sizes to suit your appetite. Choose from "Raw and Cured", which features hiramasa kingfish sashimi with pickled ginger, soy and wasabi; or "From The Garden" and "From The Sea" selections. There's also a series of sourdough flat breads with toppings like jamon, artichoke, olives and pecorino, or chilli prawn, tomato, pineapple and buffalo mozzarella. For something heftier, check out the "From The Land" section, where you'll find pork short ribs with smoked barbecue sauce and the Double Royale Burger, with double beef, cheddar and house pickle.
You can also swing by for a light, French-style brekkie, because The Port opens at 10am to serve Will & Co Coffee and freshly-baked pastries. Then, come Thursday, the live program kicks in with acoustic musos and DJs making appearances all weekend. Sundays are dedicated to long, laid back sunset sessions, kicking off at noon and not wrapping up until late.
Find The Port at 2-10 Darling Drive, Darling Harbour, is open Monday-Thursday, 10am-2am; Friday-Saturday, 10am-4am; and Sunday, 10am- 2am. The kitchen is open daily, 11:30am-10pm. For more information, head to their website.