Chippendale bar scene, we hardly knew ya
Did Chippendale even exist prior to last week? Sure there was White Rabbit Gallery and Café Giulia, but really, it seemed like just another hodgepodge semi-industrial suburb squeezed between the butt cheeks of Redfern and Ultimo.
In our ‘city of villages’ it takes funky hangouts to coax people into foreign territory, so all hail Freda’s – the first, but certainly not the last, small bar in Chippers. Freda’s makes others in its bar class look like miniature dwarfs, with its expansive warehouse space contrasting with the petite licensing laws limiting capacity to 120.
Which leads us to our only gripe: on weekend eves, expect to be greeted at the back alley entrance by a suspicious bouncer and a request to queue (even when you arrive by yourself and the alley is empty). It’s a head-count thing.
But don’t be put off. Once you’re given the green light to pass through the hallowed doors, apologetic bar staff will usher you towards a much-coveted spot amongst roughly hewn tables amid stylish surrounds of golden filament bulbs and exposed beams and brick.
Freda’s is a space for all hours. For lunch, there are specialty sangas on house-baked bread, Mecca coffee, and Manly’s 4 Pines on tap. Return later for an aperitif or make a night of it with the baker’s dozen boutique wine selection – from Spanish rosé to organic Veneto pinto grigio – and such lovingly crafted cocktails as grapefruit mezcal margaritas and ‘50/50’ Cognac & whiskey Sazeracs.
Former Fish Face chef Ibrahim Kasif has designed a night menu that plays unashamedly second fiddle to the drinks. The seasonally driven fare – maybe crushed peas on toast or pickled Galician octopus – is desirable enough to have you forgo that late-night kebab stop.
Chippendale – the next Redfern-is-the-next-Surry Hills? A couple more Freda’s and we reckon so.
Where: 109 Regent St, Chippendale
Hours: Mon–Sat 11am–midnight | Sun 11am–10pm
Phone: (02) 8971 7336