After a lovely dinner, my friends and I traipse around Bondi to find a local watering hole. We find Thru The Grapevine at Bondi Beach, which is pretty much empty at 11pm. Surprisingly, it costs the guys $10 just for entry. Us girls get in for free. This boggles our minds because it's a bar, not a club. But I notice that in a separate room a DJ booth and dance floor is set up.
As if paying $10 for entry isn't enough, drinks here are also expensive. A vodka soda is $9.50 and a plain soda water is $8. That's the most I've ever paid for either drink at any bar in Sydney.
And after some research the day after, I find out that it's in fact a wine bar. In retrospect, we should have assumed as much seeing as the name of the bar includes the word 'grapevine'. But to be fair, I didn't really notice anyone drinking wine at the bar. When we first got there, shots were being poured, quite possibly for a birthday party. And patrons were mostly ordering mixed drinks (just like us).
The bar is definitely modish in design and decor though. Fake plants entwined with Christmas lights are fastened to the ceiling. The Christmas lights flash at random times like a strobe effect. Glass windows open up to the streets and the beach (but on this night most of them were closed because it was 11 degrees). Mismatched furniture is well-dispersed around the venue. The tiled floor is worn down and the wooden furnishings are left raw and untreated.
The bar redeems itself when the DJ starts playing old school hip hop and pop. I'm suddenly taken back to the days of House of Pain's 'Jump Around', Mark Morrison's 'Return of the Mack', and Dr. Dre's 'Forgot About Dre'.
The crowd here is a little on the too-cool-for-school side. The guys sport skinny jeans (that could pass as leggings), long unwashed hair, and scraggly beards. Meanwhile, the girls are hot and know it - they wear sky-high heels and stylish dresses. At the least there's eye candy for the guys. I'm left wondering how it's possible that there are so many attractive women here, and few good-looking men in sight.
The place is trendy, yes. But a wine bar shouldn't really demand $10-entry. After all, it's too small to be considered a nightclub. I'd give this bar another shot on a weekday, where presumably no cover charge is involved, and a more chilled out atmosphere would remain. And of course this time I'd actually explore the wine list.
For your information, this bar is also linked to White Revolver, an exclusive club requiring a secret key to get through the connecting door. Needless to say, we didn't explore this part of the nightspot. But it's worth a mention nonetheless.