Finding Button Bar is the hard bit. Enjoying the adventure while you're there is rather easy. In fact, you may never escape its clutches.
As the bar proudly notes on its website, “We can be found at an unmarked wooden sliding door at the lower end of Foveaux Street in Surry Hills. No X marking the spot, so if you find it, half the battle has been won!”
So why all the mystery?
“We wanted to create a space where you could escape from the outside world,” explains co-owner Behar Sakajani. “We took our inspiration from the hull of a pirate ship. The venue is filled with furniture and fixtures made from reclaimed wood that we found around the trap. Our roof is made from scrap balsa wood!”
Along with Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux, Behar opened the business in April 2012. It was the latest in a line of venues taking advantage of the change of the licensing laws in Sydney, which allowed small bar establishments to spring up. Starting with Pocket bar in 2009, they have since opened five venues stretching from Terrigal to Paris.
The guys take a hands-on approach to the bar. They are the cocktail artists in charge of designing the weird and wonderful creations that keep everyone on the ship happy, while rock n’ roll and blues blasts forth from the speakers.
The philosophy is easy enough to comprehend, even if the bar’s location isn’t:
“We priced ourselves to be affordable yet not dropping on service standards. At the end of the day we wanted a place you could escape and enjoy good drinks and good service without the bullshit.”
A large array of wines and spirits includes home-spiced rum and sherry, as well as a whole menu full of blended and malt whiskies, and bourbons. All local fruit and vegetables are used in the cocktails – maybe you fancy a Devil’s Kiss, Box of Rain, Lucky Charm, Pleasure Vessel or Goosebumps?
One of their proudest creations is the ‘Jimmy’s Hendricks’, a signature drink created by Behar. He found the inspiration behind it when Hendrick’s Gin first became popular in London; it is a wonderful botanical creation that consists of flowers, roots, fruits, and seeds from the world over, as well as the gin of course. It is described by the creator as, “a delicious duet of infusions, rose petal and cucumber; it is crisp, bold, yet elegant with a long finish.”
The owners revel in the fact their bar is a little different and attracts a loyal clientele. They are proud to be a part of the changing Sydney environment; the cultural side of Sydney is extending beyond the traditional outposts, as Behar points out: “It is starting to become something more than just its harbours and beaches.”