Circular Quay’s newest cocktail bar, Bar 1880, has just launched at Bulletin Place – the epicentre of Australia’s media history and the beating heart of the Bulletin Magazine.
As one of Australia’s longest-running magazines (1880 – 2008), the Bulletin Magazine was iconic for the influential Australian writers and artists that helped to shape the political and cultural landscape of the time. Bar 1880’s design restores the magazine’s timeless aesthetic, bringing in a mix of contemporary decor and old-world finishes that add warmth and character.
Bar 1880 embodies a speakeasy vibe and provides an exclusive atmosphere with dim lighting, rich dark blue walls and vintage touches. Paying homage to old Sydney from the sensational current affairs publication to the once bustling working port, the two-level cocktail bar features cosy indoor and laneway dining with tasteful nods to the past.
Downstairs sits the ‘Headline Bar’, opening to the laneway where replica letters from the press are built into the cobbled path. Here guests can step back in time and imagine paper boys collecting their loads for the day. Hidden above is the ‘Press Room’, which features uneven floorboards from where the original printing press was cut into the floor and antique press trays have pride of place on the wall.
The venue is the brainchild of young entrepreneur Harry Morton who has assembled a decorated bar and management team including former Zephyr Manager Didier Nahum and 2011 French bartender of the year Alex Raclet.
Alex cuts no corners with everything made in-house, selecting fresh produce daily to craft inventive signature cocktails, such as ‘Lock Me Up’, which is one of the absolute standouts on the menu. This old-fashioned style cocktail uses sous vide banana and white cacao butter washed cognac, chestnut and fino sherry to make for an unforgettable tipple.
Another highlight on the signature menu is the ‘Bulletin Bellini’ which is a heavenly concoction including Mirabelle Plum, Cardamon, Prosecco, Rose Foam and Pistachio dust – sweet, fizzy, floral and so very refreshing. There are a healthy selection of local and artisan spirits, with over 25 gins to choose from, which can all be made into a martini for martini lovers to work through over time.
Forgotten cocktails are also brought back to life within the Press Room with highlights including ‘Suffering Bastard’ (Egypt 1942) containing Francois Voyer VS cognac, Hickson dry gin, lime, ginger beer and bitter as well as ‘Don’t Give Up The Ship’ (England 1941) comprising Joadja dry gin, Carpano, Curacao and Fernet.
There’s even a small food menu so you can fill your belly while indulging in some of the super delicious cocktails. You can feast on some Salted Popcorn or some Spicy Mixed Nuts between sips or for something a tad more substantial, you can order a share platter overflowing with carefully sourced cured meats and cheeses along with a selection of high-quality canned sardines imported from Italy.
Bar 1880 is a great little hidden gem to explore when you’re next in Sydney’s Circular Quay. Look out for it next to Tapavino in Bulletin Place laneway.
10 Bulletin Place, Sydney
Open Tues – Sat (4pm to late)