It's been a year since The Worker's Balmain opened its doors to the public, and to celebrate their first birthday they did what any one-year old would do - stock the joint full of booze and hamburger sliders, ask their stand-up comedian buddies to share a story or two and get a kick-ass awesome band to perform. Oh, and there was a DJ. Did I mention the DJ? There was a DJ.
Conveniently located near the Woolies on Darling Street (convenient because you are very likely to walk right past the entrance if you are going there for the first time, and will probably need a landmark for you and your mates), the bar was once a Labor Party stomping ground back in Balmain's blue-collar union roots days. In fact, Bob Hawke and Gough Whitlam are literally looking down on you as you down a brewski or two (their portraits hang above the patrons, on the ceiling. Not creepy, but you will catch yourself looking up at the sky, rather than at your companions, from time to time).
The bar's packed at The Workers for their first birthday
The bar's atmosphere is open and funky, ideal in its Balmain setting. You can imagine gathering your friends here for a chilled night catching up on the gossip. The rooftop beer garden is perfect for a vino in the sun, and the staff are generally pleasant enough to have a quick chat. The food selection is pretty good, lots of Mexican-themed choices (tacos, jalapeņo poppers) and other nibblies that allow you to share food with your group without going hungry and heading down to the Indian place a couple of doors down.
The birthday celebrations kicked on with stand-up comedy and music, the most impressive being Pat Capocci, and Aussie Rockabilly band who reminded me of everything that is good about The Black Keys and everything Michael J. Fox-like from Back to the Future Part 1 (when he's playing guitar at his parents' prom, not when he's crashing the DeLorean). The Workers have regular live stand-up and music and if you're looking for your next favourite live act, you may just find it here.
Pat Capocci perform for The Workers' first birthday
If you're looking for a cruisy, relatively douchebag-free environment to enjoy your beverages, then The Workers, Balmain is just the place to be. It's survived its first year, and if they keep bringing in acts like Pat Capocci, I'll make it my mission to ensure they stay in business for years to come.