Tucked away on the Willoughby Road bar/restaurant strip in Crows Nest, is one of the trail blazers of the small bar movement in Sydney. Opening in late 2008, Small Bar Crows Nest is the sibling to its city-side, Erskine Street counterpart.
Small Bar owners Chris Lane, Luke Heard and Lee Viveiros, have done a great job in targeting the venue to the after work, and lazy weekend crowd, with a lo-fi and relaxed vibe, complemented by live music every Saturday from 7pm.
The venue consists of four sections: A small intimate front alfresco area that seats about 12. Just inside the front door you can sit opposite an exposed brick front bar, fitted out with high timber benches and bar stools. This area seats about 15.
The middle section of the bar consists of a long room where high wooden benches, padded low seats and tables line the wall leading to a courtyard at the rear. It’s this hidden bar and courtyard out the back of Small Bar, that in my opinion, is the gem in its crown. The weather-poof, ivy covered, courtyard is definitely one of my favourite destinations to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. The french style wrought iron chairs, with red/white striped cushions, marble topped tables, and old-style glass and iron wall mounted candles are a perfect fit for this space.
The wine list features a large selection of Australian wines, with most of the major regions getting a gersey. Internationals such as New Zealand, France, and Italy, also make a welcome appearance. If you’re partial to a cocktail, unfortunately you’ll be out of luck here, with not an umbrella or pineapple slice to be seen anywhere. Having said that, if you prefer your beverages cold, malty and hoppy, you won’t be disappointed. Small Bar’s beer list covers a good selection of craft beers including Mountain Goat, Little Creatures, Endevour, and Hawkes Bay.
The food menu is small, but sufficient. Squarely complementing the the ample wine and beer selection. Snacks such as Lemon & herb arancini with gorgonzola dipping sauce ($12), Antipasto ($18.50), and oven baked brie with fresh herbs ($14.50), are right at home alongside more substantial lunch special fare such as smoked salmon linguini with capers, asparagus, and dill, or a traditional beef burger with jalapeno relish, snow pea shoots, truss tomato and cheese – both of which come with a glass of wine or beer, for $17.50.
The bar staff are friendly and knowledgeable about both the food and wines on the menu, and are more than happy to point you in the direction of something a little different if you’re keen to experiment with something outside your normal (wine) comfort zone.
Small Bar – Crows Nest
85 Willoughby Rd,
Crows Nest, 2065
Ph:(02) 9438 4559
Entree’s from $12; Mains from $16.50