Vernon's Bar Summer Hill

Jackie McMillan
19th Mar 2023

Easily the best drinking hole in Summer Hill, Vernon's Bar sits above One Penny Red in the suburb’s former post office. Written across mirrors and chalkboards, the drinks list is extensive. It runs from well-crafted cocktails to wine, beer, sake and an extensive list of spirits, including many I have not tried, like the three French whisky options. Happy hour (4–6pm) on a hot weekday sees the air conditioning cranked and the inside tables full. The bar also boasts an attractive sandstone and brick verandah that might be nice on an evening that isn’t so warm.

Beyond lowering your temperature, the happy hour attraction is cheap Tommy’s Margaritas ($15/each) and Vernon’s beef cheese and bacon burgers dropping in price from $24 to $15. They’re presented without the spiced salt spuds but the lack of carbohydrates can be offset by a generous serve of salt cod fritters ($15/6) with tasty smoked chilli mayonnaise. The burger is a work of art: a quality beef patty contoured to fit a perfect milk bun, balanced by house-smoked bacon, Gruyère, pickles and tomato jam.

From the wider selection of “fancy drinks” Altos tequila is extended with orange, coriander and bergamot into a refreshing Sunrise Sling ($22). Bam Bam spiced rum is taken tiki-style in Breakfast in St Barts ($24) with balanced Mr Black and spiced ginger. Coconut and cacao-washed 3-year-old pineapple Havana rum goes down easy in the C.C. Mac ($22). We punctuate each round with snacks from the regular bar menu. Gildas ($5/each) lost the white anchovies under substantial mouthfuls of guindilla pickle vinegar. Charred flatbread with split pea and lemon agrumato oil ($10) was absorbant and tasty. The scallop crudo ($24) challenged me with a grainy—almost floury—ajo blanco. Vernon’s Bar is certainly an interesting and well-serviced place to kick back and experiment with a unique range of restaurant-level bar snacks and drinks.