Just Open: Middlebar, Darlinghurst

Sunny spot: Middlebar's balcony provides the perfect view for G&T sipping.
Sunny spot: Middlebar's balcony provides the perfect view for G&T sipping. Photo: Supplied

The Caribbean hospitality invasion continues.

First we had Queenies. Then Jonkanoo. Then Rosie Campbell's. Now Middlebar has arrived, which unlike the others is chiefly a bar, and, somewhat oddly for its Cuban theme, a gin-focused one at that.

Occupying the lofty space previously inhabited by Lo-Fi in Kinselas Hotel, former Baxter Inn bar manager David Rozario and head bartender Lee Potter Cavanagh, a Merivale veteran, promise a more intimate atmosphere and a drinks list with Che Guevara-level cache.

Here's hoping the Middlebar dancefloor is as lively as Lo-Fi's.
Here's hoping the Middlebar dancefloor is as lively as Lo-Fi's. Photo: Supplied

From Friday, July 24, punters can enjoy classic G&Ts served in copper mugs and "fun, modern cocktails" inspired by seasonal produce, Cavanagh says.

Cavanagh's inspiration for the concept arose from a recent trip to Cuba. "[It has an] incredible culture in which enjoyment, dance and conversation are the cornerstones of everyday life," he says.

Expect a hint of Havana via timber walls with the odd plant, for instance, as opposed to a mock rainforest canopy. By not thematically going "all out", Cavanagh seeks to avoid the "wank factor of a neo-speakeasy bar".

Middlebar's balcony will provide the perfect, sunny spot for G&T sipping.
Middlebar's balcony will provide the perfect, sunny spot for G&T sipping. Photo: Middlebar Instagram

And, in keeping with the space's dance origins, a rotating roster of local and international DJs aim to keep the gin-powered crowds shimmying.  

When the music (or your staying power) dies down, Johnny Wong's dumpling bar downstairs will be there, as always, to give you your doughy, moreish fill.  

Middlebar, Level 2, 383 Bourke St, Darlinghurst, open Wed-Sun, 5pm-3am.