Haymarket is probably one of the least likely places you’d expect a small bar to appear, let alone one with a European theme. Now that The Bear has opened its doors at its new location (formerly located in a back street in Chinatown, now it's located down the tramline off George St), there is hope more will follow to populate this area that is generally devoid of any decent drinking venues. The new setup is larger too with a licence to hold around 100 people but that will seem a little squeezy as the crowd grow. For ambience, the music is cheesy at times but thankfully not too Euro in style.
Inside, the vibe is definitely northern European from the decoration to the food. A photo of a log fire dominates one wall and while it's comforting in winter, a warm Sydney night may leave you longing for a space next to the photo of a northern European countryside blanketed in snow. One thing is for sure, the food is not your usual small bar fare: try the Swedish meatballs including an option to get them as sliders ($9), deep-fried Mars bar in a dark ale batter ($12 for 3 pieces).
Since moving to the new location, the cocktails at The Bear have also been given an upgrade. The Snow Candy ($18) may test your insulin levels with its super sweet combination of Amaretto, white Mozart chocolate liqueur, crème fraiche and strawberry puree. But fear not, more conventional options are available such as a selection of Whisky sours, Old-Fashioneds (the drink, not the other kind). Martinis and negroni's. Wines are available in the reasonable range of $8-$12 and a few top shelf spirits are a nice way to round out an evening visit.
In brief: The BearBest things: Intimate and friendly environment Ideal for: Small groups, catch-ups with friends, dates Date tip: The corner tables or bar are the best bet Gripes: Closing at midnight is a drag, especially given its location. Rating: 7/10
Last updated: August 2017
You are here: The Bear, Sydney (Chinatown) review and address. A slightly hidden yet wonderful European-style small bar in Sydney's Haymarket.