Newtown lovers take note - there's a new cocktail happy hour on King Street and it is a winner.
Freshly opened bar The Thirsty Wolf has taken up residency near the Missenden Road corner and is tempting passersby with its daily happy hours and a simple yet solid food menu.
2-for-1 cocktails are all $16 a pop and include a big range of classic cocktails, done well. Manager Max Spessot is in his element behind the bar, and will skilfully whip up a classic Margarita or Mojito while you watch. Another definite plus is the fact that the happy hour options span beyond the sweet and fruity - alongside our Gin Bramble, the Scoop favourite of the list is a fabulous Old Fashioned (2 for $16 at happy hour). The menu is honest about the use of more affordable brands of spirits at this excellent cocktail price point - we respect this, and are not at all disappointed with the taste of our drinks.
Happy hour runs 7pm - 9pm Tuesday to Saturday and all night Sunday. Yes - that's a special that includes Fridays and Saturdays and runs well past most early evening happy hours. Alongside the 2-for-1 $16 cocktails are $5 house wine, beer and spirits.
Beyond the $16 menu is a shorter $18 cocktail menu (not part of happy hour) that highlights the creativity of The Thirsty Wolf's staff - many are their own concoctions. First on the list is the impressive Snowstorm - a deliciously fresh blended mix of fruit and tequila with Chambord. Served with a sneaky shot of tequila inside a passionfruit garnish, it's up to you to choose if you mix it in or start with a shot! We love this drink - it's stronger than expected and the chunks of strawberry relieve that tequila hit deliciously. Other options on the elite list include Violet B (Bulldog gin, Chambord, cucumber, lemon and blueberries) and a Cat's Garden (Pimms, Aperol, strawberry, blueberry, lime and cranberry). Brave drinkers may venture to the Dragon's Breath with its chilli-infused vodka.
Food-wise the highlight is the Wolf's share platter - a DIY affair where you choose any number of options from a list of meats and cheeses, which they'll serve up on a stylish board with some tasty accompaniments. Scoop loved the wild boar and duck en croute.
There's a range of other snacks and sides good for sharing, or head for the burger menu where you'll find a solid range of offerings including vegetarian and brisket options ($12 - $14, $17 - $18 with fries). We can vouch for 'The Wolf' beef burger, a juicy patty with salad, cheese and proper pickles.
And the name? The bar's owner Alex Bondar tells a wonderfully quirky story of how, after a long fascination with the animal, in the end it was actually inspired by a curious dream about a wandering wolf.
The front bar allows a casual drink while looking right out over the life of King Street, or there are many different areas out the back and upstairs for quieter gatherings or groups. Halfway through the venue you'll spot the big painted Thirsty Wolf theme, amidst the stripped back walls. The outdoor beer garden and upstairs space would be great for functions.
It's a competitive area of town to set up a new bar but once you've experienced the tasty offerings at exceptionally good value in this comfy, attractive space, we suspect you might just keep returning.