What you get for falling in love with a cowboy, and small bars in Sydney

A bar with its own video trailer already gets my vote.

It has a door policy of ‘Absolutely no door policy, functions or doorlist. Everyone is welcome’. So you could be sharing monkey nuts with a group of cowgirls or at a table next to The Veronicas and some guy off xfactor like we were. It’s called Shady Pines Saloon, Elvis was playing when I walked in and a big North American Indian carved out of wood greets you at the top of the stairs. He reminded me that I’ve always wanted to live in a wigwam. The decor is OTT, with every animal that you can legally shoot mounted on every bit of wallspace – it includes a wrinkly cow, birds, wildboar and a trout face.

All the small bars in Sydney have their own special drinks and this was no exception. No drinks menu as such but these guys have won awards for their cocktail making, so a quick description of what I liked and didn’t like to the gentleman behind the bar, and a yummy sour Hendricks gin based cocktail was all mine.

You can’t beat the Opera bar for is jaw dropping views of the harbour bridge and opera house but I really enjoyed my visits to the small independent bars that have popped up in Sydney thanks to the Mayor’s relaxation of liquor laws to encourage more diversity.

Shirt bar, tapped into my love of fine tailoring, bow ties, vintage sewing machines, whiskey and good coffee.  Balcony bar had balconies for people watching, Grasshopper served their concoctions in science lab beakers, and I liked Pocket bar for its popart and porno poster toilets.

Most of all I like a bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is friendly and relaxed. Which is why Grandma’s bar gets my vote too. Abandoned knitting by the rocking chair and sailor warnings – it’s tucked in a basement below a guitar shop, past the parrot wallpaper and deer wearing flower garlands.

Imagine your nanna’s gone to bed and your cool older brother and his hot mates are raiding her drinks cabinet. It was a bit like a little house party, with a couple making out in the front room and you can imagine a girl crying in the loos by the end of the night (not me by the way)!!

Cheese toasties (which the aussies call Jaffles) are on offer if you’ve got the munchies, and the cocktails – we had the Corpse Reviver and ‘Tiki as F$*k’ – got us up and doing the chicken dance by the end of the night. We left the place with a pink mermaid in the pocket and an idea for a great new bar…
Shady Pines Saloon Pig face

Shady Pines Saloon Pig face

mounted fish

Shady Pines Saloon Fish face

shirt bar ties

Suits you – Shirt bar ties

shirt bar mini singer sewing machine

Vintage Singer, small but still too heavy to shoplift – Shirt bar

Pocket bar's saucy poster toilet

Pocket bar’s saucy poster toilet

Sailor warnings

Grandma's bar Corpse Reviver

Grandma’s bar Corpse Reviver

Entrance to mouse bar? – ok made that one up!

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