Bars and Nightclubs
Inner West, Sydney

Button Bar

65 Foveaux St, Surry Hills NSW
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A subtle pirate themed, cocktail slinging, rock n' roll watering hole, we can be found at an unmarked wooden sliding door at the lower end of Foveaux Street in Surry Hills. No X marking the spot, so if you find it, half the battle has been won! Venture in, you'll find the bartender's slinging cocktails behind a large wood panel fit out playing rock n' roll and blues. There's a large array of spirits including barrels of home spiced rum, Singapore sling's and sherry. And if you're just looking for a quick beer/cider, you'll find beers selected from our bartender's favourite local breweries.

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The Button Bar Review

Review by Teresa Dodaro

Whilst it is difficult to ascertain whether they are aiming for a vintage, cowboy western or nautical pirate theme, Button Bar is a welcome addition to the eclectic small bar scene.

Like most decent bars, there are no ghastly neon signs and only a door marks the entry. It is delightfully dark (for those of us alarmed by bright lights) and the overall ambience is appealing in a classic vintage/rustic charm way, with the abundance of wood and low hanging lights, reminiscent of the lower deck of a ship. Whilst at first entry, I was ready to take flight after spotting a barrel, but on closer observation, I concluded that the décor was quite cool, albeit to my mind, somewhat mixed. You may be fortunate enough to be relaxing in a charming booth with chesterfield style lounge seats, wooden panels and delightful lamps. However, if you are not quick enough, you may be sitting before a barrel mercilessly perched on a stool, contemplating whether your patent stilettos and pearls were a good option.

Having a passion for pirates (which is a theme on their website), I did vainly hope for a Tyrone Power to be swinging from a chandelier, however I settled for the barrel. For the chirpy enthusiastic sorts, who actually like to mix with the masses, the central table near the bar is the best bet for action, although quite loud and crowded to an almost nightclub pitch on some nights. The alternating style of music is admittedly unique, although it can be disconcerting to be bopping along to jazz and blues tracks one minute, to be rudely interrupted by loud rock tunes perhaps more suited to a tavern in the American West, the next. To be fair, they do alternate the tracks to keep the nanas pacified.

The cocktail list is truly inspired - not a Cosmopolitan in sight. It would appear to have been compiled during a reading of dark fairy tales aboard a pirate ship: Snow White, Lucky Charm, Howling Wolf, Pirate Jet, Pleasure Vessel – to name a few – and my favourite (including the song), Tainted Love: a truly excellent cocktail with an elegant orange flavour and that silky fluffiness that can only be produced with the use of egg whites (now an almost standard requirement for any cocktail that I rate). There is a strong presence of honey, pear, orange, and cinnamon throughout – all a welcome departure from the usual. The prices range from reasonable ($9.50) to Sydney standard ($18.00).

The crowd is easy going and casual: no power players, suits or, to my dismay, high heels. Instead, you will find a mix of all types and ages, although it is certainly dominated by the younger, carefree university types who, to my annoyance, manage to look exceptionally attractive and inspired in flat shoes and dubious attire. For those of us whose highest aspirations now come down to the cut of one’s pants, such displays of youthful enthusiasm are somewhat trying to the nerves which can, happily, be soothed by a Pleasure Vessel!

Button Bar introduces a radical new twist to the bar food options, with a BYO system of sorts. There are basic snacks available, or you can order takeaway from the local eateries. Whilst it is less than classy to be skulking about on the streets awaiting delivery of your takeaway, I ultimately decided it was just the thing, given my particular demands for good food. As long as we avoid the temptation to start bringing our own slippers, Button Bar may be on to something.

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