East Village Sydney, Darlinghurst

Bars, Drink, Eat, Restaurants, Sydney / 30 November 2016

The East Village has had a facelift and the Terrace is where you’ll find us all summer long.

The East Village in Darlinghurst has a rich history. Originally known as the Tradesman’s Arms in the 1920s it was the bloodhouse of Tilly Devine, a notoriously ruthless madam who owned brothels all around the area. Situated in this red-light district the Arms was home to a colour crowd of prostitutes, pimps, pick pockets, razor carrying gangs and drug dealers. Fast forward nearly 100 years later and the iconic building is nothing but class and sophistication especially after its recent makeover.
Owners of Goodtime Hospitality, James Bodel and Locky Paech purchased the old pub, which has had numerous incarnations since the 1920s, in April this year. This marks the second pub for the duo who recently completed the extensive refurbishment of the West Village in Petersham. Breathing new life into old pubs has proved a winning formula. The multi-level building has completely changed with the help of designers Alexander & Co. who have also worked on The Morrison, Surlys Bar, Daniel San and The Print Room Bar.

east village public bar

On the ground floor you’ll find the Public Bar which looks very clean, urban and minimal. Drop-down, Edison bulbs hang above the long, light wooden bar. The first thing that catches your eye is the collection of wine bottles presented almost like an art installation on the back wall. General Manager Lee Potter Cavanagh (2015 Australian Bartender of the Year, Australian Bartender Magazine) has compiled the wine list which includes a collection of cellar wines by the glass. They are written up daily on a board and continue to rotate giving people the chance to try some incredible wines by the glass instead of purchasing the whole bottle. Brilliant idea!
Head Chef Graham Johns (Welcome Hotel, Quay) leads the Public Bar kitchen under Goodtime Hospitality Executive Chef Tom Kime (Ceru, Fish & Co.).  You’ll find re-imagined counter meals including a classic steak with homemade straw fries and salad ($26) and half roast chicken with sweetcorn, shallots, roasted heirloom tomato, basil and crispy bread ($24).


Head up two flights of stairs into the Athletic Club or as we like to call it “Man Land”. Unlike downstairs the Athletic Club is filled with heavy, dark tones, classic worn leather booth seating, a bespoke poker table and historic sporting memorabilia all over the walls. Private bottle lockers line the back of the bar and the drinks menu heroes dark spirit cocktails and boilermakers. All of this has me excited but they lose my attention with the multiple television screens that dominate the space. But I am not their target demographic. Sports-mad men who appreciate fine surroundings, good drinks and little bit of luxury are the main clientele here.
Head up to the rooftop Terrace however and this is where you’ll probably find me all summer long. I’m blown away by the transformation of this previously underutilised Sydney gem. The 100sqm rooftop bar has incredible views of the Sydney CBD skyline and a retro 1950s holiday vibe. It’s filled with eclectic potted plants, vintage style white furniture with pops of bright coloured cushions and yellow and white striped umbrellas. The staff wear shorts and colourful Hawaiin shirts and welcome you after a (massive) journey up the stairs.
Bookings are recommended coming into summer for lunch and dinner as word of the rooftop Terrace at East Village has already spread. There is a built-in retractable roof for miserable days but if you find yourself here on a sunny lunch time start with cocktails. Together with Bar Manager Reece Griffiths, Cavanagh has designed a light and fresh list that’s fun, delicious and not too serious. Mangoes are in season at the moment so do yourself a favour and order a Mango Margarita ($19). These go down an absolute treat on a warm day. Moving away from traditional pub food the menu is different on the Terrace and created by Executive Chef Tom Kime. His summer menu is designed to share and is light but satisfying.
Oysters come served with chilli & ginger or shallot vinaigrette ($21 half dozen) and are a nice way to start with a crisp rose. Wines start at $50 for Prosecco through to $126 for Perrier-Jouët Brut Champage. The average bottle of wine is around $65 with boutique beers such as the award winning Pirate Life IP priced at $9. If you’re playing sober-bob try one of their freshly squeezed juices or the green smoothie made with spinach, pineapple, rice milk and banana for $10.
We decide to stick with the cocktails and try their Avocolada ($19). Made with Tapatio Tequila añejo, Havana Club 3 años rum, avocado, lemon, evo & sal de gusano it’s a delicious take on the traditional pina colada. In fact it’s our favourite cocktail on the menu so far – trust us, avocado isn’t just for smashing on toast.
We start with a few dishes to share including a generous ball of burrata served with roasted baby heirlooms, crispy bread and black olive jam ($24). The cheese is creamy and cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes. Add a blue swimmer crab salad ($21) for a lighter addition. It’s the kind of dish you could order as an individual meal if you’re not one for sharing. Five juicy chargrilled prawns come beautifully presented on bed of mango and coriander salsa ($25) as the meal continues. To balance out the seafood we order the grilled and marinated lamb rump ($28) It’s well priced and comes with feta cheese, houmous, pomegranate and mint with grilled flat bread on the side to make your own mini souvlakis.
We managed to power through a large portion of the menu between just two but could have easily stretched our order between three. All things considered; the wonderful service, the amazing views, delicious food and world class cocktails the Terrace at East Village is great value for money. You even get a free work out going up and down the stairs.
East Village Sydney
234 Palmer St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
0431 622 944
Open 11am – 10pm, 7 days a week
Terrace bookings: hello@eastvillagesydney.com.au