One word: Wow.
Alright, alright. So we can’t really just leave it there, can we?! Except that we could, because that one simple word is quite possibly all that came out of our gobs the whole time we were checking out the Sunshine Coast’s newest bar and private dining space.
It’s breathtakingly stunning, tucked inland away from the bustle of the coastal strip and is pretty much the place we want to spend every Friday afternoon, guzzling clock-off cocktails. And, not only is it totally new, and brought to you by one of, if not, THE Coast’s most renowned destination restaurants. Any guesses?
It’d be cruel to leave you hanging, so we won’t. We’re here to give you a grand ol’ tour of the epic addition to the Spirit House; a purpose-built bar, kitchen and private dining room that is totally separate to the main restaurant itself. Hold on to your seat and prepare to be stunned, in a good way.
Found at the back of the rainforesty, bamboo-covered property, past the cooking school and restaurant, the bar and private dining room is housed in a brand new black single-level building with a sprawling deck in the centre. It’s sleek, like, super sleek.
We visit on a Friday; alongside a steady flow of in-the-know locals having a sneaky midday drink. Entering through a gorgeous orange door and straight into Hong Sa Bar, we’re blown away by the luxeness of it all. Black and gold are the base colour palette, set off with Asian motifs and gorgeous cane furniture.
The bar stretches down one side of the room, packed with infused spirits and topped with barrel aged cocktails—negroni and manhattans are up this week—and a timber tray filled with good-for-you tonics. The attention to detail is mind-blowing.
We go with the bar staff’s suggestions and head straight for the signature cocktails, tasting and loving the House Of Sathorn—tequila, Cointreau, lime, cranberry, pink, grapefruit, lemon foam, and the Lions Tail with brown butter bourbon, Amaro, cloudy apple, burnt orange syrup, lemon and angostura. We also sip scull mocktails (hey, we were working)—a Lavender Watermelon Fizz and a Pineapple Daiquiri.
Everyone who knows how good the Spirit House’s food is, so you’ll be pleased to know there’s an all-day bar menu on offer. And just quietly, it’s next-level. From Coffin Bar oysters and Mooloolaba prawn rolls to ginger and black pepper chicken wings and Thaicini green curry balls (an Asian take on arancini), it’s hard to pick favourites when everything tastes like a mouthful of heaven.
But, perhaps if you twisted our arms, we’d go on to say you’ve got to try the miang of ginger, lime, peanuts and tamarind sauce—kind of like a tasting plate where you wrap diced ingredients in a leaf, this Asian dish is a flavour explosion. Oh, and don’t leave without ordering something from the sweets list—*cough* the lemongrass marshmallow skewers with kaffir lime sugar and passionfruit are out of this world. *cough*
The bar area has indoor seating, but it’s hard to say no to lounging on the deck in the sun, so that’s just what we do. Bridging the space between the bar and the private dining room, the deck is the hub for socialising, taking in the epic location and pretending like you’re on holiday somewhere foreign.
Directly across from the bar, on the other side of the deck, sits the private dining area. Tying in with the bar’s black and gold theme, the private dining room is dark yet ambient with handpainted lanterns hung from bamboo and a wall of imported gold Buddha heads. Opening to the deck on one side, and into its own private Bali courtyard on the other, it can be shut off from the world with gorgeous grey curtains rather than solid walls—adding to those floaty, breezy holiday vibes.
Available for hire for functions, weddings, special birthday dinners, you name it—we haven’t seen anything quite like it on the Sunshine Coast. With your own private chef and waiter, this is seriously exclusive stuff and seats up to 24 peeps. And while a minimum spend applies, but once you work your way through the cocktail list and start with the menu, we know you’ll have no trouble reaching it.
Gah! We could keep going and going and going, but we’ll reign it in. The Spirit House has had our hearts for, like, ever but with these two new additions of a bar AND private dining space, they’ve got us falling in love all over again. Hong Sa Bar is open seven days, serving drinks and food from 11am—so if you haven’t made plans for the weekend, you know what to do. Now, aren’t you glad we didn’t just leave it at “wow”?
Want more Asian? Check out the Sunshine Coast's Ultimate Asian Eats Bucketlist.
Image credit: Amy Higg for The Urban List