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The Cookhouse

Home > Sydney > Food and Wine | Dinner | Cocktail Bars | Bars | Restaurants
by Ben Conolly (subscribe)
An inner city urbanite.
Published July 31st 2014
The place you'll want to spend all your money
The Cookhouse
cookhouse, randwick, bar, restaurant, pub
Sandstone walls and comfy seats
Sometimes you want to sip a nice drink on a couch seat in a sandstone building. For those occasions, the Cookhouse is an ideal location. The Cookhouse is a bar and restaurant located on the very busy intersection between Belmore Road and Avoca Street, but step inside the old sandstone building and you feel you have stepped into a cosy bar more reminiscent of England than Australia. The stone walls help, but the furniture, with several comfortable armchairs, and dimmed lighting help drive the feel of the place home.

Something Sweet to Sip

If you just came in for a drink, then the selection is gratifyingly large. A range of harder to find beers are on tap, including the Mountain Goat 'Steam Ale', a kind of beer without precedent, and without real definition, but a wonderful light flavour that lacks the hopsiness of the current 'normal' beer. The Franziskaner too is a German wheat beer, a style rightly on the rise in Australia, and always great to find on tap. It comes in a German-style 500ml glass which looks intimidating, but remember it's only 30ml more than a schooner.

cookhouse, randwick, bar, restaurant, pub, sangria, cocktails
The White Wine Sangria Cocktail

And the whiskey selection is impressive. Not only a large number of choices, but some more unknown whiskeys. If you have been trying to try different scotches to develop your whiskey understanding, this is one of the places to come.

The white Sangria is a very refreshing drink that comes in a jug just for one. A very light flavour with strawberries blended in to give it a very summery flavour that is less full on than most fruity beverages.

A bite to eat

cookhouse, randwick, bar, restaurant, pub, sangria, cocktails, beef croquettes, croquettes, mushroom arancini balls, arancini balls, mountain goat, steam ale
The beef croquettes and the Arancini Balls

A place called the Cookhouse clearly prides itself on its food as much as its drink selection. The food occasionally gives in to the modern affectation to being served on a wooden board, however the pride is well deserved. The food is delicious. The bread and butter pudding, despite a surprisingly small portion size, has drawn me back multiple times.

The bar snacks are also a delight. The Beef Croquettes are enjoyable, but the star of the party is definitely the Mushroom Arancini Balls. These items are also available whenever the bar is open, not just during food hours, making this an ideal last stop on a wander home.

What bar would be complete without good bar staff. The staff help create the relaxed atmosphere that really makes the place gel. Not even the lovely sandstone walls could make up for bad staff, and while the place is often packed out on the weekends, the staff remain both friendly and attentive.

The worst I have to say
Unfortunately, with being a comfortable, trendy, friendly place to be in a fantastic building and comfy decor, comes a premium on the prices, particularly if you want to sample some of their cocktails. This is the place you go to for just a drink or two, or go to as a treat. The prices are fair for what you get, but what you are getting is very nice.

When to visit
There are a few things you should think about when planning WHEN to visit. Firstly, the place is packed Thursday through Friday, so while in the early week it is truly a delightful quiet venue, the end of the week make it party central, with the well-dressed clientele chatting happily away in groups, and the tables both upstairs and downstairs undergoing swift rotations. With how busy the place is, it's amazing how together the staff remain.

A fantastic time if you're free is the 4-6 slot, with misnamed Happy Hour bringing down prices on their stock drinks, and the place having a nice quiet moment any day.

And for those who baulk at the cost of cocktails, many of the cocktails get reduced for a 9-10 actually-only-an-hour happy hour, and then all day Sundays when you can truly relax in to the more expensive drinks without as much fiscal pain.

But seriously check it out
This place is marvellous. You can say 'sandstone pub' a thousand times but never quite grasp the marvel of the wonderful cool room that you are stepping in to. For a Randwick local whose evening entertainment is limited by the area's early stopping public transport, this is a fantastic option for a classy date or an evening out with friends.

cookhouse, randwick, bar, restaurant, pub
The downstairs bar from the comfy seats
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Why? Good drinks, good vibe
Phone: 9399 9660
Where: Randwick
Cost: $6-10 for beer or wine, $17 for cocktails, $20-30 for food
Your Comment
The Arancini Balls look wonderful.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 2197 days ago
Good article. Thanks.
by croes (score: 0|6) 2194 days ago
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