Ahh Fridays – My favorite day of the week. There’s nothing quite like a nice cold drink after a long week of work. You know what’s even better? Enjoying a nice cold drink after a long week of work overlooking the gorgeous city on Darling Harbour.
Darling Harbour is one of my favorite places in the city, and it’s looking extra darling this time of year, with Valentine’s Day just passing. Light up hearts, romantic row boats, Pash N Dash Booths – It’s adorable! With the big city buildings in the background and the beautiful boats down on the harbour, it makes for a great view and a great happy hour spot.
Last weekend, Sam and I decided to go out to Darling Harbour and see what The Watershed Hotel and Cohibar had to offer. The waterfront restaurant/bar has arguably one of the best views on the Harbour. The hustle and bustle of the city towering over the harbour to the East. The beautiful skyline of North Sydney to the North. The sunset casting its orange shadow from the West. And the South? Well you get a nice view of the IMax theatre… But nevertheless, it’s a perfect spot!
We get there around 6:30 pm, and the bar is getting busier as the after work crew rolls in. We start at The Watershed Hotel, which has a great outdoor patio-type seating area. There’s long wooden tables with umbrellas to accommodate large groups, and cozy booths in the corners to accommodate the love birds or best friends having D&Ms. The restaurant has an “afternoon on the sailboat” feel to it. The decor is nautical, but a clean, polished look to it. Inside the restaurant is a long bar where you order your food and drink. To the side, there’s a dance floor, and lots of seating for those wanting to stay away from the sun (or the rain.)
We’re seated at a little table outside watching a giant storm roll through over the city, which was a lot cooler than it sounds. I instantly wanted to become friends with the DJ, who was playing 90’s classics. A hint of nostalgia came over me, as I was reminded of my favorite college bar and it’s infamous juke box that my best friend and I took over every night, playing Hootie and the Blowfish. So naturally I’m in a great mood. Even when it starts to rain, it’s a great atmosphere and vibe. The staff was very accommodating to the guests who weren’t under cover, making sure everyone was kept dry and still enjoying the evening.
While we were sipping on our first drinks (a lovely Pinot Grigio for me, and a Corona for Sam), we decided to nibble on the Seasoned Wedges before ordering a main. I must say, they were the best damn fries I’ve eaten since being in Sydney! (And I’ve eaten a LOT of fries.) Perfectly crispy and seasoned on the outside, warm and delicious on the inside. They even served them with the appropriate amount of chili sauce and sour cream.
For our mains, I ordered the Riverina Grass Fed Scotch Filet Steak ($32) served with chips and salad. Sam ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara ($17), with an addition of chicken, which the staff happily accommodated for. The Watershed Hotel’s menu consists of typical pub grub (think steak, chicken parm, fish and chips), but it also offers pastas, salmon, lamb and salads. Mains cost around $17-30. The restaurant also offers a variety of nibbles if you aren’t as hungry for a reasonable price.
The food came out in a timely manner, well presented and a perfect temperature. Since it is first and foremost a bar atmosphere, I wasn’t expecting too much from the food. It seemed it would just be pub grub, but I was surprised. Both meals were pretty tasty. The only thing I could say even reomotely negative was that the steak wasn’t served as “Medium” as we would have preferred. But I’m not a food critic, nor do I try to be, and other than that, it was delicious! So play on!
Personally, I think a bar is only as great as it’s staff. After all, they’re the ones making your dreams come true in liquid form. The bartenders asked us how our days were going, made jokes about the rain and always had a smile on their faces – something quite rare to find in a busy bar.
After we ate, we took the stairs up to the cocktail bar, Cohibar. Cohibar overlooks the harbour, and has a great outdoor area. With a DJ, dark red lights and bartenders dressed like it’s the 1920s, it has a speakeasy feel with a dance club twist.
Here, we ordered some of the most exciting drinks I’ve ever had the pleasure of ordering! I opted for the Harvest Moon made with Dewars, Apple Juice, Lime Juice, Ginger and Ginger Beer. The apple was juiced right in front of me, so I knew it was fresh! Sam ordered the Bourbon Smash. (Cocktails cost around $13-$20.) Both drinks were made with care and precision by our bartender, Joshua. I’m usually not a cocktail drinker, as they’re usually too sugary for me, but these cocktails were a dream come true! The perfect mix of sour, sweet and a bit of a bite. We ordered two more just to see what else was out there, and was very satisfied with all four drinks!
The night was coming to an end for us, not for the rest of the bar though! The DJ was picking up the beats, the dance floor was starting to get a little groovy and more and more people were strolling in. As we were finishing our last drinks at Cohibar, beautiful red fireworks went off over Darling Harbour. Of course, I’d like to think this was all for me, and not in prep for the Chinese New Year! Nevertheless, it was a spectacular show before the end of a great night. We polished off our last drinks, said goodbye to all of our great bartenders, and walked around the beautiful Darling Harbour.
The Watershed Hotel and Cohibar are great spots in my favorite area of the city. Good food, great music and amazing drinks make for one great Friday afternoon, that may even spill over into a great night! If you’re in the Sydney area visiting, or a local looking for something new, be sure to head over to these great venues. The Watershed holds Boathouse Saturdays, every Saturday night starting at 9 pm. Best part – no lock out rules over there! You’ll be sure to have a good time, and be treated well by the staff.
I’m looking forward to holding the Where in the World – Sydney Travel Blogger Meet Up this Thursday at The Watershed. Stay tuned for more pictures of the event 🙂
Disclaimer: I was a guest of The Watershed Hotel and Cohibar in exchange for this review. My opinions are my own, and I only write honest and truthful reviews.