It’s a little hard to tell if Rosie Campbell’s is a bar or restaurant. You can go to just eat, go to drink or both. Either way, this Jamaican-themed venue in Surry Hills is a great place on a warm evening as the air breezes through but somehow manages to keep out the noise from its busy corner on Crown Street, even on a Saturday night.
Perhaps it is the open airy feel, the slightly inattentive backpacker staff, the bright blue yet hastily painted fixtures or the patchwork decoration, but the venue feels more like a bar you’d find in a backpacker hostel than a Surry Hills dig. None of these things overly intrude on the experience but it does take away some the atmosphere, especially since it doesn’t come with backpacker prices. And let’s face it, unless you are travelling, hanging out in bar that feels like it belongs in a hostel is not overly inspiring.
That being said, Rosie’s does have one of the best cocktails you’ll find in the area. The Floyd’s Old-Fashioned ($22), featuring Zacapa 23 year-old rum and Pedro Ximénez sherry, is nothing short of perfect in its flavour balance. Other cocktails to feature include the super tart Kingston Sour ($18) and a drink to keep you energised all night – the Espresso Coco Martini featuring a shot of Espresso, dark rum, Kahlua and burnt coconut syrup ($18).
If you’re after some supper. the late night food is straight-forward but expect some common dishes spiced up a bit to give them a bit more bite: crispy squid with jerk Mayonnaise ($16), barbecue wings with blue cheese dip and a hot mango sauce ($13) or try the chicken burger with a habanero kick ($16).
In brief: Rosie Campbell’sBest things: Informal place to get a drink, breezy on a warm night and not too noisy. Don't miss: The Floyd’s Old-Fashioned. Ideal for: Small groups, catch-ups with friends, dates Date tip: The section in the far right corner as you walk in is the best. The booths are a bit wide and make you feel a little too distant from your date Gripes: Backpacker feel, poor paint finish and colour choices, most notable in the toilets. Occasional use of harsh lighting. Rating: 6/10
Last updated: November 2016
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