With its own rooftop and a wall of antique books, Sydney's latest hospitality venue has atmosphere in spades. The toughest part of the assignment is locating it.
Old Mate's Place, which opened to the public on the weekend, should issue a compass.
Wander into a city building, take the lift or stairs, and behind a generic and unmarked office door on level four you'll find a new addition to the Sydney bar scene, littered with early edition books.
"We wanted it to look like an abandoned gentleman's club," says co-owner Andres Walters (ex Lobo Plantation). "And the location is inspired by our love of those places in Tokyo in the middle of office buildings. Plus, being on street level is too expensive."
Owners Walters, wife Gabrielle Walters (Black by Ezard) and Daniel Noble (Ramblin Rascal) have hosted pop-ups in the space before, including Wild Turkey's Spirit of the Wild.
Old Mate's Place is a bar but food plays a part, Walters says. The rotating menu will include a Philly cheesesteak and a curious vegetarian version with mushrooms replacing the steak, and they are also ironing out the recipe for a waffle version of croque monsieur.
The owners have cleverly activated a rooftop space, one of Sydney's most collectable accoutrements. The venue has a refreshingly late licence, open until 2am. But the rooftop shuts at 10pm. "Finding us is half the adventure," Walters says.
Open Tue-Sat 5pm-2am Sun 2pm-2am (rooftop closes 10pm).
Level 4, 199 Clarence Street, Sydney, oldmates.sydney