Lockout laws aside, NSW has been awash with the talk of “small bars” recently, and it’s been a growing trend for the last few years. It seems that Sydney is doing a great job in niche, well designed and inviting small bars.
Although I work exclusively in the residential market, this topic did get me thinking about the small bars’ home-away-from-home feel and interesting design; and the increases in dens, whiskey rooms, rumpus areas etc that designers are now seeing regularly in homes.
I caught up with Chau Tran, one of the owners of, Burrow Bar, in Sydney’s CBD. Located in a laneway just off George Street, the concept for this small bar was to create a neighbourhood feel in a place where there was none. “We really let the space talk to us, as we wanted to create a comfortable social drinking feel. Somewhere that you can have a drink at the bar on your own, or hang out with friends, kick back with some nibbles and forget the world outside. We wanted to inject that neighbourhood feel and spirit so customers felt at home in the city”, said Chau.
The “federation provincial” style at Burrow started life as a standard lack lustre office space. Whilst striping everything back to the barebones, the owners discovered beautifully hand honed Sydney sandstone, which was to be the basis for their design and pallet. An oversized but inviting bar, sultry lighting and French Provincial furniture help to finish the design and give it a presence that would have you believe the bar has always been there.
Small bars, like Burrow, are doing really interesting things in design and reimagining social-drinking ambience. And these are things we can recreate or take design and styling cues from in our own homes, where the bottles don’t need to be on display and without needing a bar. Weather its Madmen style, a wine connoisseurs delight or an adults retreat; cleaver design, decoration and styling can create something special and fun in your home.