My friend Ruby Molteno and I still pine for Barons, that fabulous late night haunt with comfortable lounges, an intelligent and artistic crowd, and the best jukebox in Sydney. We spent many memorable nights at Barons, which was tucked away at 5 Roslyn Street in Kings Cross, and met so many interesting people there, including the late American musician Jeff Buckley.
The best thing about Barons though, was that it seemed to never close, so you could rock up at 3am and not have a problem buying a drink. But Barons closed in 2007 when the building was demolished and nothing has ever filled its gap.
New, relaxed liquor laws introduced in Sydney in late 2009 have seen a proliferation of new bars opening up, but they all seem to close at midnight. Boring.
Still, if there was any bar that has come close to filling the hole in my heart left by Barons, it would have to be Pocket.
As its name suggests, Pocket is a little pocket of loveliness tucked away on the hilly corner of Burton and Crown streets, just down from Oxford Street. It's not huge, but cosy, with enough space for about 65 people.
Pocket, owned by Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux, was one of the first bars to embrace the new liquor laws and opened in late 2009. (Interestingly, Schlothauer was a Cleo Bachelor of the Year finalist in 2010 - haha.)
Pocket's walls are covered in street-art style murals by Steve Gorrow and the room is kitted out in a mish-mash of vintage furniture purchased on Ebay.
And while this old upright lounge (below) doesn't look all that comfortable, the sofa that Ruby and I found was heavenly and we kind of sunk in to it and were lost in the music.
The music is excellent too and not too loud. In the hour or so that we were there we heard David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, The Pixies, The Smiths and Gorillaz. Any bar that plays The Pixies has a place in my heart.
Obviously with the new liquor laws you don't actually need to order food to have a drink. I remember at Barons - when the liquor laws meant you had to order food - the doorman would often ask, whether or not you would be dining. ''Yes, of course,'' we would reply. ''We're just going to have a drink first''. And then of course we would never eat. The doormen knew this, but because of the strict laws, they had to ask.
Pocket's Euro food menu ranges in price from $4 for a bowl of olives to $21 for a cheese plate. Within that range are their signature dish of Crepes - either savoury or sweet - as well as Tuscan-style pate ($16), Chorizo sausage with white beans ($18), skewers, bruschetta and lots of meaty-sounding dishes, such as a Salami Plate ($18) and Ham Hock ($14).
Ruby ordered the Savoury Crepe with aged proscuitto, bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, basil and fresh tomato sauce ($14.50):
I pigged out and had the Garden Bruschetta of peas, Meredith feta, lemon oil and fine herbs ($14), which was so yummy, I nearly forgot to photograph it:
And I also had the Chicken Skewers marinated in chili and lime soy sauce, served with chili mayo ($12). I couldn't taste any chili at all and it would have been better if the chicken was marinated for longer for a stronger flavour, and cooked for longer, as I can not eat pink chicken:
But that is only a small complaint, and it could have just been a result of the dim lighting. As usual, I checked out the bathrooms, which has walls covered in pages torn from old magazines:
If only they stayed open after midnight.
13 Burton Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9380 7002