Three months shy of its first birthday, 84 Union St. was presented to Sydney’s food media at a launch party last month. Officially dubbed a restaurant/bar, the space really summons pub for me, with its relaxed attitude, kitsch Australiana, generous two-hour happy hour (4-6pm each day), television screens to broadcast key sporting events, and seven-day meal specials.
You’ll also be pleased to note that this venue runs contrary to Mike Baird’s vision for a sterile city by including a stage for our nearly extinct live music scene.
Richie Dia, who also owns Richie’s Hospitality, brings with him more than a decade of experience in professional hospitality consultancy. Originally from Japan, Dia has also racked up experience as a head chef, at venues including Donny’s Bar, a loft style bar meets restaurant in Manly. Here on the main Pyrmont thoroughfare between Darling Harbour and The Star, Dia has opted for a please-all selection of Aussie pub grub classics with a bit of an Asian twist.
Some dishes – like Crispy Chicken Dumplings ($14.90/7 pieces) – are made for sharing, while others like the 200g Wagyu Beef Burger ($17.90), are best enjoyed alone, under the venue’s creative starlit night sky.
Thanks to the work of artist Mark Butt, backyard diners will enjoy their meals peering into the windows of a typical Aussie fibro house, with iconic Aussie figures like Kylie Minogue, Paul Hogan and Dame Edna Everage staring back.
Butt has created quite a comic backdrop to the whole venue, from chalk outline shrieking larrikin cockatoos and Blinky Bill on one wall, to classic Australian dunny art by the loos.
It’s supplemented by a lot of greenery, from landscape murals to hanging vines and leaves, all quite pleasant in an urban landscape dominated by concrete and other hard surfaces.
I managed to sample a good range of cocktails at this event, and they proved to be a bit of a mixed bag. The Beluga Vodka Moscow Mule ($22) scrubbed up better than both the Burlito ($20) – which took the usual mojito somewhere strange with the addition of cherry herring liqueur – and a mango-heavy White Sangria.
The cocktail that had me reaching for a second however was the smooth Sloe Negroni ($19), which successfully tweaked the Italian aperitivo classic with sloe gin. It'd be great as a post-work pit stop drink, to get your stomach in the mood for dinner.
84 Union St.
84 Union Street, Pyrmont
Ph: (02) 8068 8476