A Tiny Vietnamese Bar Has Brought The Romance Of Hoi An To Sydney

Drink, Sydney / 29 November 2023
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A Tiny Vietnamese Bar Has Brought The Romance Of Hoi An To Sydney

Drink, Sydney / 29 November 2023

Small sips mean big flavour at this new late-night joint.

Nestled along the charming lanes of Kent Street, behind an unassuming steel door cleverly disguised as a banh-mi cart, Sydney welcomes its latest gem – Vinabar, a Vietnamese-inspired micro-bar that proudly embraces the motto “Small space, big dreams.” Tucked into a space no larger than two car spaces, Vinabar is a testament to elegance and simplicity, offering an intimate setting that transports patrons into a world of Southeast Asian allure.

Upon entering Vinabar, the ambience immediately captivates with sixty silk lanterns imported from Hoi An, gracefully adorning heritage wooden joists against a backdrop of black marble bench tops. The bar shelf doubles as a scaled replica of the Golden Hand Bridge from Da Nang, surrounded by dark reflective panels that craft an illusion of volume, creating a unique and visually stunning experience.

This micro-bar represents a significant stride in the evolution of Equicentia, a boutique property developer, and the Tesalona Group, a well-established player in the restaurant industry. Led by Ashwin Arumugam and Reymark Tesalona, Vinabar stands as a symbolic beginning for the duo in the hospitality industry. For Tesalona, who expresses a deep passion for creativity in hospitality, Vinabar is an opportunity to reignite that passion and lay the foundation for expanding his empire.

Vinabar cocktail special, Butter Me Up.

Inspired by their travels through Vietnam and Southeast Asia, Vinabar is a collaborative effort between Arumugam and Tesalona, both of Southeast Asian background – Arumugam is Malaysian Indian, while Tesalona is Filipino. The micro-bar serves as a canvas for showcasing their shared love for hospitality and the rich cultural influences that shape their culinary journey.

In an industry often dominated by sprawling spaces, Vinabar deliberately keeps its footprint small, allowing the focus to remain on what truly matters – a lasting impact. Tesalona emphasises the significance of catering to a diverse audience within a confined space, creating an environment where cocktails transcend cultural, age, ethnic, and gender barriers, becoming a medium to tell a story that engages all human senses.

The menu at Vinabar draws heavy influence from fruits indigenous to Southeast Asia, featuring exotic delights like rambutans, carambolas (starfruit), and longans. Signature cocktails, such as the “Vinagroni” and “Ca Phe Martini,” showcase the creative fusion of flavours, while the “Da Nang” with cognac, pineapple, coconut, mint, and pandan foam adds a playful touch with the use of a whipped cream charger or “Nang.”

A limited yet carefully curated menu, including a fortnightly rotating special like the “Butter Me Up” butterscotch sour, aims to keep the excitement alive for repeat customers. Tesalona, a chef by trade, meticulously curated the cocktails and the small but flavourful food offerings, featuring dishes like Kingfish Ceviche and fresh fruits with chilli salt.

Vinabar aims to make each guest’s most memorable experience revolve around their interaction with the staff – fostering an atmosphere of good vibes, great people, and one-of-a-kind cocktails that transcend their space.