From the ashes of Phoenix rises a luxe lobby bar. By Emily Lloyd-Tait We don’t know about you, but if we can’t be downing fruity cocktails on a rooftop, an underground bar styled to look like a cross between the Grand Budapest Hotel and a Vegas boudoir is a solid back-up option. The space that once housed the late nightclub Phoenix has been doused in pastel pink and kitted out like a fancy hotel lobby by the theme-loving team that brought you the Botanist and SoCal on the north side, the Butler in Potts Point and Bondi Hardware. This time round the brief is old vintage opulence, so there are rings of dressing-room lights around the arches behind the bar, white bentwood chairs, exposed brick and fans spinning lazily overhead to keep things fresh.
If you need a little perking up, the balance in the Hyde Espresso is a little off with the heavy roasted flavours dominating the drink, so for coffee cocktails we’re going to go for another round of the Count Negroni’s Cold Drip, a riff on everyone’s favourite threepart aperitif that uses coffee-infused gin, vermouth, orange bitters and Orange Colombo in place of Campari. It’s sweeter and more citrusy than the original, but with a toasty backbone. The Della Pringle’s Tingle might sound like a vintage vaudeville act, but it’s far more entertaining as a long, refreshing cocktail of gin, vermouth, mango, basil, lemon juice, bitters and soda.
We’re seeing croquettes popping up on menus all over the city this year, but these guys do them better than most, packing the crunchy bullets of mashed potato with whole green peas and salty pancetta and adding a swipe of harissa mayo to the mix.
Oxford Street has been haemorrhaging bars at an alarming rate since the lockouts came into effect. The old soul on the stereo and the kitschy holiday vibes of this new addition are doubly welcome.
Della Hyde 34 Oxford St, Darlinghurst 2010. dellahyde.com.au. Tue-Sun 5pm-late.