Bars and Nightclubs
Sydney East, Sydney

4143 at the James Barnes

2 Huntly St, Alexandria
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Situated in the Alexandria Creative Park, this stunning refurbishment of the old factory cottage by Trivest combined with management by the Dedes group provides the perfect setting for a friendly atmosphere where guests out for a dining experience or social drinks can enjoy themselves.

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4143 at the James Barnes Review

Review by Natalie Sutherland

It’s like a little slice of relaxation where you expect it least to be. For locals, Alexandria’s always had only the basics of the “beer o’clock” atmosphere to offer – there’s the Parkview and the Buckland, but (let’s face it) not much else. For most Sydney drinkers, Alexandria has always been a forgotten suburb, burrowed between the bohemian bustle of Newtown and the vivacious calls of Surry Hills and beyond.

And yet, tucked away in the Alexandria Creative Park, amidst industrial spaces and commercial offices, the 4143 at the James Barnes springs up like a hidden oasis in an otherwise barren, Alexandria plain.

My first experience of the 4143 was that it had re-invented the “afternoon drinks” atmosphere. It’s a sublime escape from the carpet-stained, stale smoke-scented pubs of the inner west and the squashed-in-like-sardines bars of King Street.

Inside, you’ll find the warehouse-style bistro with urban, dark wood furniture and lots of natural light. Outside, at the front of the venue, you’ll find a gorgeous, open courtyard adorned with bamboo furniture that feels more like someone’s front patio rather than a public bar.

Developed by property company Trivest, the 4143 was born as the old James Barnes oil and meal mill, which operated back in the glorious 1940s. Obviously appreciative of this, the architects at Trivest have designed the 4143 so that it clearly flows on from its historically rich roots and its industrial surroundings, offering a wealth of space and light for its weekend drinkers and diners.

The vibe, though a little quiet, is underscored by funky jazz and dance beats drifting from the speakers – and by the friendly staff, too, who are always keen to make conversation rather than just pour drinks.

There’s a small but delectable choice of bottled beers and beers on tap and a good range of wines by the glass or bottle. If you’re settling in for a few though, your best bet is to check out the cocktail jugs – there’s Twisted Pimms, White Sangria, Green Summer and more, all guaranteed to add a touch of class to your afternoon.

For lunch and dinner-goers, the food at the 4143 is both inexpensive and delicious. I’ve read other reviews giving the food a bad wrap, but I’ve never been anything but happily satisfied. If you’re thinking the 4143 only does average food, think again: It’s run by the Dedes Group, who also own Flying Fish in Pyrmont and Watergrill at the Kirribilli Club.

Snack meals include crisp prawns with chilli and garlic, salmon and waygu burgers and gourmet sandwiches and rolls. Main meals encompass freshly-made pizzas, decent-sized salads with fried calamari, haloumi or lamb and hearty meals like lamb t-bones, spaghetti with meatballs and beef ribs.

The only downside to the 4143 is that it is a little hard to get to – there’s a lack of public transport to give the bar the just service it deserves. And unless you’re living close by, driving or a taxi is probably your best option (there’s a neat little car park alongside the venue, though, which does make you feel kinda special).

That said, locals are slowly discovering the 4143 at the James Barnes. While neighbouring businesses already love it for lunch, the bar is a little quiet on weekends. But for me, that’s part of the appeal, especially if you’re with a group of good friends. I’m content to enjoy this little 4143 sanctuary for all it’s got to offer – it’s a breath of fresh air from everything else in Sydney and if you’re after a break from the high-density city atmospheres, the 4143 is positively worth the trip.

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