Blue Mountains News

Blue Mountains' Secret Bar Life

By Blue Mountains Tourism - Ellen Hill
Archived 4 Dec 2023 - Posted: 5 Oct 2023
Credit: Blue Mountains Tourism
Folk music in backdoor venues, soul in rooftop bars, whisky bar comedy, Aussie rock icons in grand hotels, arthouse movies in a golden age theatre. When the sun sets on the Blue Mountains escarpment, the thriving nightlife of our towns and villages lights up.

The fun starts at the foothills of the Mountains aboard the first floating bar in Western Sydney. Anchored on the Nepean River, you can lap up an evening of great vibes, smooth drinks and spectacular scenery on the Nepean Belle.

Go bottomless (pants are required) at The Bramble Bar at Blaxland, with two hours of endless snacks and free flowing drinks for $89 per person. There’s also Craft Club happy hours, weekly Sunday trivia and karaoke, and live music along with local craft beer, wine, spirits and cider and seasonal eats.

You can sit on Springwood railway platform waiting for a train – or in Reminiscence Tapas, Whisky & Wine Bar opposite in comfort and style, eating and drinking from the extensive menu.

In Leura, behind a discrete door at the entrance to the Fairmont Resort is the Two Doctors Whiskey Tavern - a smooth doctor’s surgery where you can sink into leather chesterfields, a plush velvet chair and explore bookshelves of vintage books and curios while sipping on a craft spirit or cocktail as a local muso plays.

In Katoomba, you can head to the Bootlegger Bar for a low and slow catch-up or a lone drink with a side of acoustic tunes. As well as smoked meats, chunky grills and GF/veg/vegan options, there’s more than 20 cocktails and a full contingent of local brews.

Located below street level, Aunty Ed's in Katoomba’s main strip is a local fav, where nostalgia meets comforts – like sitting in your Aunty Ed's retro living room (if you had an Aunty Ed). You can tuck into retro-style burgers and fun cocktails, and there’s live music on Sunday evenings.

A dress circle venue within the historic Savoy Theatre building in Katoomba, Avalon Restaurant and Cocktail Bar offers hearty food and friendly service in an art deco setting, with retro furniture, eclectic artwork and Jamison Valley views. Local musicians play Friday and Saturdays, and the hearty menu combines influences from around the globe while the drinks list has a local focus.

Across the road, the grand dame of Katoomba has had 140 years to perfect the late night.

Gather with friends under the stained-glass dome at Champagne Charlie’s in the ``main house’’ of the Carrington Hotel, and live the high life like 1850s French champagne merchant Charles Heidsieck, after whom the space was named – although champagne isn’t served for breakfast these days.

Located at the end of the hotel driveway, the Old City Bank is a great meeting place for mates, with craft beer, wine, casual nosh and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also pop upstairs for further dining.

Meanwhile, the Gothic darkness of the Baroque Room is accessed through a gate for those who know where to look. Once inside, the long marble bar, stage and timber dance floor is one of the town’s best kept 18+ live music venue secrets.

Further up the Mountain, Side B Vinyl Bar in Blackheath masquerades as a record store with a focus on first and early pressings of classic albums most weekend days – and a bar by Thursday to Sunday night.

Nearby, Zoe’s Mexican restaurant blends live music, local beers and cocktails with tacos; while the revamped New Ivanhoe Hotel, known by locals as The Ivy, is proudly perched on the corner of the highway oozing art deco soul and character.

Grab a homemade choc-top or delicious hot soup as you enjoy only the best new films including arthouse, 3D and kids’ movies at the family run independent cinema in Mt Victoria. From the cosy heritage building to the freshly baked treats and tea in china cups, the Mount Vic Flicks experience is as memorable as the movies themselves.

 
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