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It was the cheap drinks and convivial atmosphere that did it. The dim lighting, the bare brick walls, the worn sofa, the little stuffed ferret; they all helped. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the kind bartender subtly passing water my way (did I mention cheap drinks?), I may have forgotten just how utterly refreshing this place is.
Somehow, The Dock has managed to cram all the ingredients of a small bar into the ideal Redfern location, and come out the other side with a down-to-earth atmosphere. You can just, relax here. Grab your mates, play some Jenga or darts. It is utterly unpretentious, and without a doubt has become this barhopper’s new local.
With a more discreet location than the bustling Surry Hills or CBD, and fairly non-descript street-front (think chalked-on-signage), The Dock could just be any other little bar in the wall. Inside, a small piano (are we allowed to play it? I forgot to ask), barrels and recovered furniture allow for plenty of sitting/leaning, and there are a few seats up at the bar to schmooze with the bartenders themselves. An act highly encouraged for those of you with a thirst for well mixed drinks.
The drinks list further complements the bar. House beer (Carter) and wine is $5, and perfectly reasonable. For the adventurous, The Dock’s Skittlebrow (beer and Skittles) is surprisingly fun, but for the more conservative of you, they have a fantastic Old Fashioned (however potent) and a variety of other old favourites.
Of particular note, if you are the first to arrive, you have the pleasure of picking the cocktail of the day – and for a cool $10, you can see why it’s easy to sip the time away in this little nook. Another option is the cheeky shots on offer – The Jam Doughnut (highly recommended) and Toni’s Rocketfuel, a concoction of Jagermeister, absinthe and Jack Daniels (not for the faint hearted), just to name a few. The food is reasonably priced and quite tasty, but not really a substitute for a meal, so if you’re going to drink as much as we did, we recommend you eat something hearty first.
As barhoppers, we take our hopping adventures quite seriously, limit ourselves to a drink or two, and whatever food that fits in our budgets. As such, it is worth a mention that at the Dock we had a bigger night than we have had on any other barhop. This included about half of us being, shall we say, trashed. Two of us even stayed until close (who probably would have stayed longer if the owners hadn’t hearded them out). Probably a first and a last, considering the resulting pain on the Tuesday morning. Overall this place is a great small bar. It’s relaxed. It’s friendly. It’s fun. But most importantly, it is somewhere you can sit up at the bar and chat to the bartenders. A trait that is all too rare in small bars these days.
-EPThe Dock 182 Redfern St Sydney