Next time you’re dining out, trade in a regular restaurant for a themed one. There are themed eateries and bars popping up all over the city, and they’re truly a treat. From speakeasies and old-school diners harking back to bygone eras, to spaces that’ll take you straight to Viking territory or the Wild West, Sydney is dotted with venues dishing up a feast for the senses.
For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, hit up these themed hotspots.
Join the kittens for playtime at Catmosphere, Australia’s first cat café. It’s home to 20 furry felines (many of which are rescues up for adoption), and you can sip coffee and nibble on cookies while cuddling the ‘catsronauts’. Then there are yoga classes, where you can escape the daily grind and get bendy while the adorable kittens roam the room. Book in advance because spots are limited.
66 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills
Named after Jay Z, this bar is a party from the second you step in. The space spans multiple levels, from the top-to-toe gold ground level, to the downstairs bar featuring murals of famous hip-hop and R&B icons. The music sticks to the theme wherever you go, and so do the food and cocktails. Go for The Kanye BBQ corn cob or the Carter chicken wings with Beyonce hot sauce.
16 O’Connell Street, Sydney
Step into the dusty-pink doors of this Petersham café, and you’ll be transported to a milk bar straight from the 1950s. The lemonade stand and pastel walls featuring ice-cream sundaes and stacks of pancakes set the scene, and the menu matches the nostalgic theme. There are burgers, jaffles, potato gems and knickerbockers on offer, as well as rocky road and decadent milkshakes – Iced Vovo, anyone?
340 Stanmore Road, Petersham
Sydney’s most stylish speakeasy, Palmer & Co is a dimly-lit basement bar that’s tucked down a laneway in the CBD. The location alone has enough of a clandestine feel to send you back to the Prohibition era, but that’s just the beginning. The staff – dressed in flapper dresses and dapper three-piece suits – serve up spirits and charcuterie boards. Jazz bands provide the soundtrack from Tuesday to Saturday.
Abercrombie Lane, Sydney
When we say this Viking-themed whiskey bar and restaurant has gone all out, we mean it. It’s a true treat for the senses, from the waiters wearing fur, jewels and Viking helmets to the tables set with Viking horns and swords. Interiors aside, there are over 400 whiskies from around the world, plus Nordic-inspired cocktails. The carvery is where the chefs work their magic on meat, fish and veg.
267 Cleveland Street, Redfern
Yee-haw! The next best thing to a trip to the Wild Wild West, this bar has a cowboy theme complete with taxidermies on the wall, a bar serving up specialty whiskies and craft ales, and a dancefloor made for boot-scootin. It’s a much-loved spot – so there’s usually a bit of a wait on weekends. As for food, there are endless baskets of peanuts, or order in from nearby restaurants.
4/256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
Capturing the essence of Liberation Day in Paris – when everyone was out celebrating their freedom from WWII. The attention to detail is amazing – hand-dyed khaki leather booths, antique mirrors, vintage French tiles, and upholstery and wallpaper from the era complete with authentic artefacts like WWII squadron hats and Morse code devices. The food is contemporary French and the cocktails are every little bit delicious.
16 Phillip Lane, Sydney
For another hit of 1950s nostalgia, head to the American-style Doughbox Diner. The eatery has all the markings of the era: rockin’ music, pin-ups aplenty, and ‘diner dolls’ donning coifs and red lipstick. After you’ve admired the details, order one of the diner’s signature crepe cones. Wash it down with an ice cream soda or malted thickshake.
137 Enmore Road, Enmore