In the heart of the city’s financial district at 16 O’Connell Street, Sydney. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Generally when people think of beer, images of stubbies and thongs skip into their minds. But if you head down Sydney’s O’Connell Street and venture into the Bavarian Bier Cafe, this may quickly change. Housed in a spectacular three-level Art Deco bank, this eatery boasts a lofty ground floor, an intimate upstairs bar and function area and an amber-coloured basement restaurant. The sandstone walls of the ground floor are embellished with dark brown furnishings – thick wooden floorboards, walnut-coloured booths and a central bar. The ceiling of this bar is made from dangling glass steins – the first hint that this place is serious about its brew. A second hint is the menu which lists 13 Bavarian beers on tap (and a further 10 bottled) and has taken out the AHA State Award for Excellence for the Best Boutique Beer Offering in 2009.
If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, find a seat at one of the benches or, better still, head for the basement and slide into one of its booths or tables. The food at this restaurant is like the beer – stout, hearty and very tasty so you want to be comfortable. A popular choice is the house special of crackling roast pork belly which comes with Granny Smith apple compote and sauteed potatoes. Indecisive diners can opt for the Bavarian tasting platter which offers a taste of the succulent pork belly as well as sausages, schnitzel and various matching condiments (including sauerkraut and potatoes). If you’re not in a very meaty mood, the Kinakawooka South Australian mussels are a crowd-pleaser. There are also some, limited, vegetarian options but you won’t win any brownie points with your non-meat eating friends if you take them here. This place is about meat and beer, so make the most of it.
The main bar has a central rectangular bronze bar topped by floating stein chandelier that captures and reflects the light from the sweeping Art Deco glass paned double story entrance and original deco pendant lighting.
Informal black Japan finished timber tables with bronzed Art Deco screens and leather seating along the walls surrounding the bar allow patrons to take in the sense of grandeur of the gothic vaulted ceiling and visually dramatic original Art Deco architectural elements.
A bier lover’s dream come true, the bar has six draught Bavarian Pure Biers™ on tap, and twelve imported Bavarian biers by the bottle (brewed strictly in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Pledge of 1516, and using pure spring water from an original source dating back 40,000 years), as well as an extensive wine and cocktail list.
Stairs lead to a dramatic mezzanine level where a second cream marble bar and three private booths of varying sizes in the bank’s former private chambers are connected by a balcony (complete with original Art Deco railing) that overlooks the main bar.
Chocolate leather couches, ottomans, and Art Deco lamps line the walls of each booth, creating intimate enclosed spaces that are available for hire to groups and VIP events.
For those wanting a substantial meal, a restaurant in the basement offers yet another convivial space to sit back, relax, enjoy a fine bier, vintage wine, and superb meal with friends or colleagues. Warm, honey-coloured wooden booths, communal tables, bar and floor is offset by a bright and busy open kitchen and friendly atmosphere.