Located on Redfern Street, just after it veers off Regent Street, The Dock is a shopfront bar that's big on charm and small on boring. Helmed by Jed Clarke, who was formerly the Beer Baron (he used to have an alcohol delivery business), The Dock's been at it a while now, but is still well worth a visit.
The vibe is apparent from the start. The front window is topped by a chalk sign listing opening hours, and a red neon 'open' sign blinks through the mist of night. Inside, the lighting is murky, emphasising the colourful lanterns and the fairy lights wrapped in webs below the ceiling. There's a group seating arrangement upfront, some clunky refashioned bar stools and tables off to one side and an old piano adjacent to the bar. One wall has the drinks list on it, one is all stripped-back brick, and the other houses a terrific collection of retro beer paraphernalia.
You'll get Hooten and Carter beers dirt cheap, as well house wine that won't lighten your wallet much. But there's wackier stuff to be had too. Remember when Homer asked Apu for beer mixed with Skittles (Skittlebrow)? And Apu says to Homer that there isn't such a product. Well, Homer would be happy at The Dock, because they make Skittlebrow. And it ain't half bad.
If you're after more traditional concoctions, scan the lengthy list of classics like Old Fashioneds, Whiskey Sours and Long Island Ice Teas. Their own creations are worth a look too. A Stevie Nicks has Amaretto, Carter beer and coke and is much better than it sounds. They also do layered shots, which make a good idea if you're keen to get on home. Grab some dumplings (prawn, pork or veg) to soak them up.
So it seems that these days Redfern makes good bars. Arcadia Liquors is just a short dash across the road, while the recently opened Hustle and Flow is just around the corner. Turns out life can be all beer and Skittles.