The Hook Is the Vermuteria Team's Most Ambitious Project Today, Opening in Kings Cross in May

David Spanton is transforming the old Izgara and Harajuku Gyoza space into a retro oyster bar with a shucking station, live jazz and ice-cold martinis.
Ben Hansen
March 22, 2024

An old-school oyster, cocktail and piano bar is on its way to Bayswater Road from the mind behind two of Kings Cross's most beloved small bars — Piccolo Bar and Vermuteria. David Spanton, a passionate advocate for the area and Sydney's nightlife will open The Hook in May this year. His most ambitious bar to date, the venue is taking over impressive space previously occupied by the Potts Point outpost of Harajuku Gyoza before briefly being run as Izgara before its CBD move.

The new spot will form what Spanton describes as a "Bermuda Triangle of bars", with The Hook, Vermuteria and Piccolo Bar all just a few hundred metres from each other. Together they make up a core part of Kings Cross and Potts Point's small bar revival, with other exciting newcomers like Snack Kitchen and Caravin arriving in the area alongside local mainstays Dear Sainte Eloise, Jangling Jacks and Chester White.

two small empty tables with chairs lit up by red lights at Piccolo Bar - one of the best bars in Sydney - bar king's cross

Piccolo Bar

Sporting 250 metres of space, this is by far the biggest of the three venues. The centrepiece will be the oyster bar, taking over the curved bar used for Izgara's open kitchen. Here you can take a seat and watch your oysters be shucked before ordering them natural, kilpatrick, mornay or rockefeller.

"I fell in love with this Horseshoe shape," Spanton told Concrete Playground. "I just don't know of any kind of horseshoe bars in Sydney that aren't pubs."

The exterior of 15 Bayswater Road when it was Izgara, Scott Ehler

Accompanying the briny delights of the oyster bar will be some heartier eats like cheeseburgers, classic cocktails, a retro New Orleans-inspired fit-out and a piano by the window where performers will provide the soundtrack for the night.

A flood of reds, greens and browns will be found throughout the venue, with vintage photographs on the wall and antique beer lights illuminating guests

The aforementioned cocktails will find a balance between the tried and true menu of Piccolo and Vermuteria's focus on aromatised wine. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the drinks pair well with the oysters, with ice-cold martinis, red snappers (a gin take on a bloody mary) and black velvets (a mix of Guinness and champagne) just some of the standards and throwbacks you can expect.

The Hook is expected to open at 13-15 Baywater Road, Kings Cross in early May. Follow along with its progress at the bar's Instagram.

Published on March 22, 2024 by Ben Hansen
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