Bars and Nightclubs
Sydney CBD, Sydney


107-109 Regent Street, Chippendale
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Freda's is a bar & canteen situated in an old warehouse in Chippendale, Sydney

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Freda's Review

Review by Ben Storey

I was at a loss in Chippendale the other day and found myself standing outside Freda’s Bar & Canteen staring at the large day-glo chili that hung over the front door.

Since nothing gets my attention more than that, I headed into the cool cavern that is Freda’s. My first impression was that of Mad Men in a Mexican primary school – in a good way, of course.

The openness of the bar is another thing that hits you. Lots of stripped back roof beams and earthy, natural tones make this a perfect place for a business lunch or even somewhere to enjoy the surrounds with a good book.

The closest waiter handed me a menu and I found a nice little corner to take it all in. Scanning through the menu, I found another predominantly cocktail and wine bar with only a handful of beers available.

The cocktails were moderately priced at around $17 for a mostly classic cocktail menu with some minute differences. I think this shows the predominance for the image of Freda’s as a modern twist of a classic.

I grabbed a glass of the Collio Pinot Grigio off their also moderately priced wine list. For $10, I couldn’t really argue – I was enjoying the fact I was out of the heat of Regent St, all the cars seemingly so far away. That’s what I found about this place – it’s like a little oasis in the heart of the Central post-industrial strip.

The other punters in the place were obviously professionals out entertaining clients, others some lucky office workers spending their lunch time well.

It’s odd seeing some bars in the cold light of day, but Freda’s is one of those wonderful dichotomies that can sustain day-life as well as nightlife, suffused with a warm glow of its woodiness.

The menus for the day mostly consist of sandwiches leaning to a certain Spanish/Mexican/Latino flair and some beautifully sounding rustic salads. Fair to moderate, yet not overly expensive, the food is similar to its surroundings – simple and nourishing.

In the evening and afternoon, the bar lights up for the after-work trade, with a high focus on cocktails and bar food.

Also getting momentum as more of an evening arts feel, with many performers, musicians and the like making the venue like a modern day speakeasy.

If the future of Sydney bars is trying to emulate the vivacity and uniqueness of Melbourne’s well-established scene, then I think we don’t have that much to worry about with places like Freda’s.

I definitely recommend people to check out Freda’s. Be it day or night this place will probably be exactly what you’re looking for.

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A Second Review of Freda's

Review by Olga Andreev

Down an unassuming Chippendale alley lies a secret. It's hidden away from the traffic of Regent St and the bustle of Central. With its high wooden beams, slightly mismatched furniture and long clean bar, Freda’s, a place loosely styled after a Mexican cantina or a European Beer-hall, is a new and funky addition to the local scene.

With its philosophy of a fine-dining approach to a bar, Freda's focuses on exceptional customer service, knowledgeable advice and consistency of delectable beverages.

An eclectic crowd is seen frequenting the cosy joint. Depending on the time of day or the night of the week, it may be a sophisticated crowd between 25 to 35, catching up for social drinks, or it may be overworked office workers, tired of their regular watering holes. Sometimes, a surprised couple of university students may wander in and then come back for the lovely tapas-style sharing dishes and moderately priced cocktails (on average, $16 dollars being pretty reasonable for about two shots of alcohol). It's the place for a casual catch up, for pre- or post-dinner drinks.

The cocktails themselves are something else. This is not your average list, but classics with refreshing twists. No ever-present Cosmopolitans, no out-dated Piña Coladas, this is a place for a discerning drinker, someone is willing to try something new and fresh, but treading just out of the comfort zone. The Chocolate Old Fashioned is easily the pick of the bunch, not only because of its fantastic taste, but also because of its presentation - you are given a little bowl of chocolate to go with the cocktail, to supplement the taste. It's a whole experience, not just a means to get inebriated (which seems to exemplify the ways of thinking at this particular establishment as a whole). Moreover, the use of rum, rather than bourbon, in this cocktail is novel and complements all the flavours in a new, but still very comfortable way.

Aside from the diverse cocktail list, the bartenders are most definitely at ease with many beloved classics, such as martinis, margaritas and sours. The level of care and attention to detail to even simple mixed drinks is astounding and something to judge for yourself.

Besides the cocktail list, a small but pertinent wine and beer list provides a nice alternative to have alongside the shared plates (ranging under $20). The artisanal beers start at $7. The wines are on the expensive side, from $10 a glass, which may deter some, however the quality is most definitely there.

The staff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, whether it is in regards to the short tapas menu, the extensive cocktail list or the impressive backwall spirit collection, which includes some unusual whiskies, interesting rums and funky bottles of tequila.

Every aspect of the experience of Freda's is controlled and tailored to suit a perceptive patron. The music is perfectly levelled for conversation, its Latin-inspired riffs supplying plenty of background resonance, but not so quiet as to fail to fill an awkward pause on a first date or a tough business meeting.

Above all, Freda's staff and owners, who all come from an up-scale restaurant/bar background, strive for a memorable experience and will go above and beyond the call of duty to make your visit enjoyable and ensure a return visit.

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