Pubs in Sydney are pretty good. And yes, pubs in Surry Hills are pretty damn good. But let's face it, it's a sorry state of affairs when going on a pub crawl counts as 'mixing things up' or wait staff at your local know to order your ritualistic weekly $10 chicken parmi as you predictably stroll through their doors. If you feel you fall under the above definition, it might be time for a bit of a change on the weekend.
Conveniently, then, Café Lounge is tucked away almost out of sight just off of Crown St, close enough to most public houses to make for a hasty getaway. The true greatness of its location can be fully grasped once inside – you've just veered off Rowdy Road and slipped into Chill-Ville. The inebriated, loud madness of Crown is truly out of sight, out of mind.
First-timers at the lounge can be forgiven for asking if they should take their shoes off, it's hard to shake the feeling that you've just sauntered into someone's home. But even if you take them off, it shouldn't be a problem given the Lounge's self-proclaimed lack of dress code or 'attitude' at the door – a breath of fresh air for an area known to compel people to ensure the acceptability of their appearance before coming out.
If you were looking for venues that play pub 'classics' such as "Last Train Out of Sydney" or "It's My Life", then do not go to the Lounge. The calibre of new, live music here sets a standard far above like venues, so much so that you may find yourself wanting to experience it during quiet nights in at home – which is luckily made possible by the live streaming of Tuesday nights at the Lounge, known as Sin-é (pronounced shan-ay), which showcase local burgeoning musicians on a weekly basis.
In the spirit of palatable new music, the Lounge also offers a wide selection of mouth-watering dishes – Courgette Fritters and Truffle Pizza to name a couple – as well as a drinks menu that is certainly not lacking in any respect. One could certainly say that, given its size, the Lounge can pack a harder punch than most drinking holes in the area. Food, drinks, good music, and good people are essential elements to a great night out, all of which the Lounge exceeds in delivering – it takes the traditional constituents of a good place and puts a modern and innovative spin on each of them.
Perhaps the only possible drawback of this little Surry Hills gem is that at prime times it may get a little crowded, given its small area. However, it's quite hard to imagine crowding to the extent that it becomes less enjoyed by its patrons.
The Lounge presents a half-shock to the system of city bars and pubs. It does the same things: food, drink and live music but does them all very well, and in such a different way, that you can't help but view the Lounge in a category of its own.