I think Vasco Bar in Surry Hills should be renamed- Good Times Bar. Actually, that’s a pretty shit name for a bar so let’s stick with Vasco but let it be known that this is a bar where good times roll. Behind the spirit and vibrato of this small bar with big energy is Max Greco. You may remember him from Eau De Vie in Darlinghurst where he was shaking and stirring (even door bitching) for a number of years. Towards the end of 2012 Greco traded in his bow-tie and suspenders, rolled up his sleeves flashing his tattoo covered arms and opened his dream bar.
I remember having a drink with Greco one day about three years ago when he first told me about this ‘dream bar’. It was going to be rock and roll themed and he’d play all his favourite rock music and serve Italian comfort food using his mamma’s recipe. He declared quite dramatically (and with typical Italian passion) that if his bar didn’t succeed and no one liked it he would leave Sydney forever- he couldn’t handle the shame. Even now this makes me laugh because I knew then as I know now that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Fast forward to now and Vasco on Cleveland Street is heaving almost every night of the week with both loyal customers and fresh faces checking out what the fuss is all about. You’ll find Max busying about the bar greeting people or actually on the bar banging drumsticks on symbols. Behind the bar is fellow drinks whizz Luke Ashton (also formerly of Eau De Vie) so trust you’re in good hands.
As you’d expect the cocktails are the main focus at Vasco but you won’t find any dry ice or whimsical mixology here, rather a more accessible cocktail list with fun names. You can order the Eagle Rock a blend of lairds applejack, punt e mes, dom Benedictine, fernet branca and angostura bitters served on a big rock of ice or the Ten Cent Pistol with Makers Mark, crème de mure, ricard, burnt star anise, fresh apple and lemon to name a few.
Food wise it’s good Italian style drinking food including gnocchi with gorgonzola and Lucy’s Italian style hotdog with rosemary salt chips.
Named after Vasco Rossi, one of Italy’s most prolific singer-songwriters you’ll find murals painted on all the walls and an eclectic mix of random paraphernalia on the bar. Go earlier in the night for a quiet drink and some gnocchi. Stay long enough and you’ll be hitting drumsticks on the bar and yelling “shots all round”. Ah Vasco, you sure know how to have a good time.
0406 775 436