Ivy: Not So Poisonous After All

January 31, 2008 at 7:33 am (Uncategorized)

When I heard that Justin Hemmes’ Merivale group was building a mega-emporium hotel, a little private universe on George St called Ivy comprising bars, clubs, restaurants and retail, my lip curled right before I let out an expansive yawn. Their empire building within Sydney’s CBD has been boring me to tears for some time. Also I find most of their holdings (with the important exception of the bistro and bar at Lotus, both of which I love) little more than over-crowded meat markets, and I outgrew what little appetite I ever had for that scene by the time I was finally allowed in legally (after years of strolling in illegally) at 18. So I thought oh god, spare me.

And then once the site started opening in bits and pieces, Llew and I did a walk-through of the pub that’s on street level. Ugh. It’s DIRE. Really bad. Worse than I expected and I wasn’t expecting much. Just the sort of pub I fucking hate, and Sydney’s got more than its fair share of those already. So it did not bode well for the unopened venues, of which there’s going to be a mind-boggling number. Ghastly, I thought. This concept blows.

But I stand corrected, I do. I have seen if not the light the so-called ‘Sydney A-list’ (sorry, peeps, we don’t have one, just accept it, please, and move on) thinks shines between the butt cheeks of Mr Hemmes, then at least a rather fetching shaft of natural light in the internal courtyard at the (typically lower-case) ivy bar and lounge. I was in town for an appointment today (here’s a bulletin for you: at 35, your long-suffering but hitherto always reliable body just INEXPLICABLY BETRAYS YOU as fast as your best friend at school camp), and Llew and I walked in for a sticky-beak because that’s the kind of people we are. We both love space. And booze. And any combination of the two when it’s done properly. And much as I almost hate to admit it, ivy bar and lounge is done very properly indeed. A lovely, light, airy, funky space full of what I call micro-sites for lounging around and doing what most of us do best: nothing. It’s really well done. I liked it a lot. Pity that faster than I can type WANKER it’s going to be overrun by the kind of Sydney types that have ruined every other good bar for me in the past… but hey, forget me, I’m just a grumpy 35 year old woman. Don’t pay me any mind at all – just get in there and check it out. Maybe the CBD bar scene isn’t a dead duck after all, because there was no poison in that sweet, sweet ivy.

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