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Pong & Beer, Grown-Up Style: Doctor Pong

The profusion of pop-up and wine bars that have hit Sydney in the last 12 months is, frankly, brilliant (not to be overly-superlative). One of those newcomers is Doctor Pong in Darlinghurst, a place that combines booze, ping-pong and tapas, and deserves a sweet little pat on the behind because of it.

It’s a casual affair at Doctor Pong – there’s nothing pretentious or fussy about it so it never makes you feel like you just can’t be bothered. Thongs or heels; all are welcome to kick back amongst the polished concrete floors, converted barrels and squishy chesterfield couches from which to drink your beer, American-teen-red-plastic-cup-style. You never have to wait too long to get a spot at the table du pong and since it can’t soak up beer spills like the good ole pool table, you’re not left feeling like you’re back at uni sculling the last of the evening’s $2 pints. The irony that’s at play at Doctor Pong is definitely a trait for the grown-ups.

With that in mind, half the large room is dressed-up in white linen tables and sparkly wine glasses where the well-heeled can relax with some tasty tapas. There are a few misses across the menu but for the most part it’s very yummy, and always beautiful to look at.

In true Oz-European tradition, the very wide footpath is littered with tables, chairs and branded umbrellas to ward off the sun, a very inviting place to sit and people watch. As it is right up the end of Burton Street near Oxford Street, there’s plenty of people-watching entertainment to be had.

During the day it may be about sitting and relaxing but at night a DJ hits the decks and Doctor Pong starts buzzing. It never gets annoyingly intense or sceney; the relaxed vibe continues from a cheeky lunch beer through to a late night smoky aperitif. If you’re nice and it’s not too busy the lovely barman (no wanky mixologist monikers here) will concoct a cocktail of your making – simply tell him what you’re in the mood for and voilĂ ! Your own haute couture drink.

Doctor Pong is open Tuesday through Sunday from early ‘til late. You can book yourself a table in the restaurant by calling 9332 3565 or just wander in. You’ll find ‘em at 1a Burton Street, Darlinghurst.

words: Kristen Hodges


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