It’s easy to forget there are still buildings like this in the CBD, time-warped here straight from the 1920s. Just replace the brothels and/or opium dens with Diesel Bar, the city’s new all-day cocktail bar and eatery.
Diesel is actually named after the previous tenant, Diesel jeans, and there’s a touch of blue denim grunge in the suede chairs, exposed brickwork and industrial canopy. Other than that, it’s balls-out Manhattan decadence. Tarnished brassy mirrors, gold underlighting, glossy black tables and a rib-like chandelier running the length of the space. Wouldn’t look out of place as the backdrop for a S3 Sex And The City ep.
Owner Jaime Nasser and designer Wendy Bergman have kept the bones of the building in-tact (it’s heritage, so they didn’t have much choice), and the good times are running from dawn till dusk. For brekky, expect a tight little menu, mostly fruit-topped Birchers, smoked-ham Benny and the obligatory Chilli Scramble (2017’s answer to smashed av)—this one comes with creamy base notes of Meredith goat’s feta, avocado and halloumi. YUM.
By night, the place morphs into a wicked Manhattan-style cocktail bar. The menu switches up to bite-sized little alco-soakers. Brioche buns stuffed with crab meat, pickled cucumber and herb mayo, or crispy Peking Duck wontons. If you only get one thing, make it the Bang Bang Fried Chicken: golden, double-fried chook, served with kewpie and spring onion.
Drinks-wise, there’s an encyclopedic range of spirits, plus a solid mix of craft beers and small batch vino. Happy hour runs from 4pm – 7pm (cheap Schooners, nice), and the bartenders know their way around a cocktail shaker. For tipple, try the Lt. Lon: Fiorente elderflower liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, vodka & rosemary, served in a martini glass.
It feels like the CBD bar scene has stepped up a notch this year, and Diesel is riding high on the crest of that wave. Get in now, before the hype.
Image credit: Diesel