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Sydney’s Answered Drinking Prayer: The Pond.

Tucked away in a side street in Darlinghurst, there’s a new bar that is likely to rejuvenate the summer afternoon drinking spirit about as much as summer itself. It’s called The Pond and it’s as pretty as a scene from an Edith Wharton novel, with fresh food and a simple list of wines and beers to match. In fact, turn off your whereabouts for even a second and you might start to reflect on just how beautiful the Italian countryside is.

And luckily, the story behind The Pond complements the space’s charm seamlessly. Once you step foot inside it will becomes almost obvious that the building is in fact a heritage-listed cottage, with the hand-cut sandstone, rustic timber floors and backyard garden to show for it. Once a home, then a shop, then a business centre and most recently an Italian restaurant, the building was neglected during the past two years. Its sad condition clearly screamed, “Project!” to the bar’s creative director Barrie Barton and his entourage of awesomeness, which includes landscape architects Rob Barton and Chirstopher and Gabrielle Moore. Pure Blonde had already enlisted the crew to bring The Pond to Sydney after its brief Melbourne stint in the summer of ’07, so the group knew they had found the perfect venue for Sydney to experience the magic of the European-style, casual drinking and eating its neighbours down south had already enjoyed. Once they got their hands on the building and went through the long process of approvals, the work began – and the neighbourhood even pitched in to make the rejuvenation passion project their own.

The many labour hours of love percolate through the walls of The Pond, which has been meticulously completed with attention to detail in everything from the hand-carved timber furniture to the 100% organic staff uniforms. There are in fact four main sections to the venue – the veranda, the main dining room, the downstairs garden courtyard (shaded by a jacaranda-in-bloom) and its accompanying indoor chillout room. The music is low enough for you to chat but good enough for you to enjoy, there are no reservations and the ambience is made complete with the friendly, chatty crowd which is attracted to the place. The food is simple, fresh and flavourful – proving that if it’s made nicely enough, a few ingredients is all it takes – and there is a selection of Pure Blonde beers and a basic menu of wines. Trust me, less is more over here, and you wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s only been open a couple of weeks, but right now, it’s hard to imagine Sydney without it – or rather, we don’t want to. Unfortunately though, we have to, as the pop-up bar is only going to stick around for the next few months and then it’s set to disappear along with our happiness. Okay, I’m being slightly dramatic, but once you visit, I’ll be surprised if you don’t fall in love with it too.
We have a feeling someone’s not going to let this place slip through their fingers, though. Either way, ours are crossed.

32 Burton Street, Darlinghurst.

words: Seema Duggal


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