Bars and Nightclubs
Inner West, Sydney

The Wild Rover

75 Campbell St, Surry Hills NSW
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A swashbuckling, foot stomping riotous escape from pomp. Irish folk meets New York Chic - stripped back, laid bare with splashes of extravagance set against a rustic backdrop. The use of natural materials creates a very warm and comfortable environment. The Humour and playful touch, will have you at ease in no time.

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The Wild Rover Review

Review by Teresa Dodaro

Notwithstanding the absence of teacups and cakes, those partial to flights of fancy will certainly have a sense of Brief Encounter in this oddly unique yet appealing cross between a vintage railway tea room and saloon bar.

Behind an almost Harp in the South style shop front on Campbell Street, only the dim orange glow of two lanterns behind a foggy glass pane (and a well mannered doorman) will indicate you have arrived. Open the doors, and one is suddenly greeted by lively music and a delightfully warm ambiance: glorious red vintage lamps, small tables and booths, exposed brick walls and a charming wooden central bar, where some of the finest cocktails are created.

There is a truly unique approach to the décor and overall style of this establishment: whilst there is a strong sense of the vintage style tea room and railway theme (complete with station signs), one does have fleeting images of swinging saloon doors in the Wild West. Oddly, a green feature wall with painted giraffes and monkeys completes the scene - a seemingly odd choice to accompany the rather glorious striped red vintage lamps. However, with exceptional cocktails and fine table service, one can accept the giraffes with ease.

Wild Rover boasts a serious range of rare Irish whiskies, quality champagnes, wines and an impressive and inspired cocktail list. A tribute must be made to the aptly named D’Vine cocktail, an impossibly elegant and silky smooth combination of apricot infused gin, apricot brandy, sugar, lemon and, of course, the requisite egg white: simply superb and hardly surprising that it is an award winning cocktail. There is wonderfully efficient and charming table service, so you can relax by the glow of candlelight whilst your sausage rolls (truly) and cocktails are brought to you. The cocktail prices range between $16 to $19 per cocktail.

Perhaps the inspiration behind the giraffe wall was also responsible for the bar menu: a curious focus on hand made sausage rolls – lamb or lentil – being the specialty of the day. Whilst it is both an unusual and limited choice, they were tasty and filling, so it is difficult to complain (although a few more snack choices wouldn’t go astray).

The music selection is quite “wild” and perhaps explains the venue’s name. It is certainly varied and whilst it sounded jazz-like on arrival, it certainly didn’t stay that way, so don’t be alarmed if you find yourself suddenly bopping to an almost knee slapping barn dance number. If this disturbs you, another cocktail is strongly advised.

Whilst, sadly, you won’t find Celia Johnson or Trevor Howard in their elegant hats and coats, the crowd is pleasantly mixed and relaxed, with a dash of the understated youthful artistic and mildly alternative types one expects in Surry Hills.

All in all, a winner - style without pretension. Finally the Melbourne touch and a much needed addition to the Surry Hills scene.

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