Vernon's Bar Summer Hill is the latest lovely addition to the growing ranks of intimate neighbourhood Sydney small bars. Set upstairs from parent One Penny Red restaurant, in the old Summer Hill Post Office, the new bar as in the restaurant pays tribute to the heritage of the building.
There wasn't much choice in which corner to build the upstairs bar as it fits snuggly under the old parcel haulage pulleys which has lovingly remained a feature. That's not the only nod to the post office. Like the stamp reference for the restaurant, the bar coasters draw the red stripe into the theme.
Named after the post office designer Walter Liberty Vernon the extensive spirits menu is featured on a large blackboard which also has subtle postage references. Although cocktails and wine and beer are offered at Vernon's Bar, the international list of featured gins and choice of tonics makes G&T a great choice. The list is so good you might not even need to move off the stuff even if you explore a vast range of different gins and mixers (responsible drinking reminder inserted). Exploring Vernon's and its gin at the launch party Sydney Scoop met The Ginstress who recommended Dodds gin with FeverTree Meditarranean tonic. This totally met our approval as a fine choice that with the floral tonic allowed the character of the gin to shine through.
For cocktail lovers, the beverage menu at Vernon's Bar features inventive twists on classic cocktails, including the Willy Chapman, a blend of sloe gin, apricot and Prosecco; the Shiso Sour - nikka, shiso leaf and absinthe (not for the faint-hearted); as well as easy drinking classics such as Head Barman Nick Donelan’s favourite the Basil Gimlet which sees vodka, basil and elderflower blended and served straight up in a basil garnished martini glass. (Second responsible drinking reminder inserted.)
Maybe we need food and not just booze?
"I told you I'd have my own place one day" RJ winked at the party. Knowing the chef also meant we got to check out his kitchen and the you beaut smoker in the back yard. I'll correct that. I had to invite myself along to check out his packages of slow smoked foil. The lads had been chatting meat and smoking in the corner, just like at an Aussie BBQ.
But I didn't have any trouble getting to taste his food. The party provided not only liberal amounts of canapé tray service including a truly sensational signature Chestnut, Jerusalem artichoke and Portobello pie but RJ was also manning an antipasti station with his complexly intriguing house made bresaola as the hero. We got to squeeze his cloth wrapped sausage in the making too.
Scoopsters and other Vernon's Bar party goers also got to sample the tantalising light Hiramasa kingfish crudos with ruby grapefruit, cucumber and horseradish and the staff favourite - Vernon's fried chicken wing dings with miniature sauce.
Congratulations Nina, David, RJ
“Nina, RJ and myself are passionate about creating an environment for people in the Inner West and beyond that encompasses everything a good bar should, without airs and graces,” says David. “Just great food, great wine and great service in a relaxing, unpretentious atmosphere.”