Bars and Nightclubs
Sydney East, Sydney

The Commons

32 Burton St, Darlinghurst, NSW
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The Commons takes many design cues from its 160-year-old structure, with the addition of modern architectural features that lighten the heavy, heritage framework. The furniture in the front courtyard and main dining room references familiar, communal items such as school desks, church pews and farm tables; and low energy LED lighting is positioned to cast soft silhouettes against the hand-chipped sandstone walls. Downstairs, the vinyl music library and sturdy bookshelf provide the opportunity to listen or browse, and the back garden is filled with native and exotic plant life. Arising from the shared aspirations of a diverse group of friends, who believed that Sydney needed another way to drink and dine. The resulting restaurant and bar is simple in its offering; a calm environment that takes pride in the city's culinary and cultural resources.

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What to Expect @ The Commons

By Nastasia Campanella

Last year, a temporary bar, known as The Pond was set up as a trial. The pop-up bar with beautiful sandstone walls, amazing gnocchi and a great wine selection has decided to stay, but not before it had a bit of a shake up. Initially, when it was known as The Pond, it was sponsored by beer company, Pure Blond. Yeah, you guessed it; that was the only beer sold. In 2010, the owners, Chris, Gab and Robert folded up The Pond and they've replaced it with The Commons.

Of course, one of the most impressive aspects of the decor is still the oldish sandstone, 1850's building where the bar is located. Out the front, there is a rack where you can either leave your bikes or borrow a vintage one to ride around the city. The entry is nicely decked out with pot plants and sweet flowers giving an element of romance. They've gone enviro too, with recycled office carpets draped across the floors, old farm tables and church pews, adding to the bohemian chic feel of the place.

Down stairs, is a little den-like space, complete with book shelves, very seductive lighting and small lamps. My friend dubbed the space an almost "half done", kind of room, with a cool homey vibe. We're listening to 1950's inspired tunes while we sip on our Aviations [$16].

The cocktail list consists of old school drinks. They've got loads of sour ones and I'm a little disappointed as I'm more of a sweet drinker. I'm also pretty annoyed that the drink I order isn't available and when I opt for something else, I'm told that isn't available this evening either. Not happy Jan! Nevertheless, my Aviation is fine. I then have a Big Fine Girl Riesling from the Clare Valley [$11].

The food is more satisfying. The cheeseboard [$25], and the charcuterie plate [$18[], are good as bar snacks. Have the ravioli with brown butter and sage [$22], as a main. Lunch is served between Tuesday and Saturdays and there is a great bunch of perfectly cut and toasted sandwiches. They are all served with salads too.

Earlier in 2010, The Commons was awarded Small Bar of the Year. Gourmet Traveller also included breakfast here amongst one of the top ones for the year. Apparently, the corned beef hash with poached eggs and confit of cherry tomatoes is tempting. I, on the other hand, think the ricotta with coffee-poached dates, pistachios and honey sounds adorable. They do breakfast from eight until three on the weekends only, but amazing coffee all day, every day.

Now with the awards rolling in, there is no stopping this little place. Sure, I wish I'd been told what drinks weren't availabel that night, but for the most part, this is a really cute space. You'll love it if you like fabulous decor and homey food. If sweet cocktails are your thing, The Commons isn't the place for you. Either way, I'm glad this isn't a pop-up bar anymore. This is a place Sydneysiders have been screaming after.

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