VARIOUS CUSTOMER REVIEWS & RANTS 2012
Thank you to all for the nice-words and/or useful feedback. Always good to know what we do well, and where we could do better. Cheers!
Erik M. Seattle, Washington, U.SA
“I have been by The Commons numerous times in the last few visits on my way to other Darlinghurst pubs and restaurants, and I was honestly looking for 13b this time around. But 13b was closed, so I popped across the street and immediately regretting not having made The Commons a destination much sooner.
I was just looking for a place to settle in and read my book over a couple glasses of vino, and the downstairs/downtown bar fit the bill to a T. It has a rustic, speakeasy atmosphere that’s casual, cool and comfortable. The bartender was a very pleasant chap who was deftly and effortlessly whipping up cocktails, pouring drinks, and making small talk with everyone who made their way to his bar.
The background music was primarily a mix of jazz that created a perfect background for the quiet conversation and occasional round of laughter erupting from one of the handful of tables tucked into the various rooms.
For my final drink, I migrated upstairs to the patio so I could enjoy what looked to be one of the last pleasant evenings the week was going to offer, and while it wasn’t as comfortable as the bar, it was a nice change, even if they were playing Cat Stevens.
There are a number of bars in this town I’ve added to my “must revisit” list, but I think The Commons may be the only one I realistically expect to revisit before I head home this time.”
Rachel Q. Randwick
“This is a great little hidden treasure, located on a small side street off of Crown. My flatmate had recommended this place. There is a nice outdoor area, as well as some tables by the fire. There’s also a cool little basement area for drinks and blues music.
Came here with a date for dinner. Ordered a bottle of wine for about $37, which was the cheapest, but it was nice. We started with the prawns and I got the snapper with carrot mash, my date got the duck confit. The food was delicious, the service was great.
Overall, the place has an awesome vibe, great for food, drinks and a fun night. It’s not cheap but not too pricey.”
Dom P. Burbank, California, USA
“I’ll start with the restaurant. The food here is never disappointing. I had so many great meals here, I can’t even tell you what is my favorite thing. The staff is always great. Attentive and friendly.
The real reason I spent so much time here was the small bar downstairs. In this great little place, I found music that made me so incredibly happy. I was fortunate to stumble upon Jesse and James playing the blues one night and their incredible talent kept me coming back time and time again. If you get the chance to go and see these guys play, do so. Do yourself a favor and go see them before they are discovered and become big stars. Then you can say, “I saw those guys back in the day.” Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Trust me! Go see them.
The bar staff downstairs are also really nice, and I enjoyed many a wonderful bottle of wine, and quite a few well made cocktails in my many visits.
Tell ‘em Don says hello.
Teri Y. Chicago, USA
“This eating house is everything rustic and vintage. It goes back to the basics of using fresh seasonal ingredients and having a meal without any pretensions. I think Jamie Oliver will love everything that The Common represents. The farmhouse setting and wooden tables and chairs add to the charming vibe of this place.
I had the breakfast item of corned beef hash with poached egg. I want to call the poached egg magical because I had no idea it was even possible to make poached eggs this perfectly. The egg was solid oval on the outside but very very delicate and when I took a bite into it, the egg white and yolk were still in semi liquid form which literally melted in my mouth. The corned beef hash was fresh and well seasoned. My husband ordered the lunch item of BBQ pork ribs. I tried some of it and couldn’t stop raving about it (I generally am not even a fan of ribs). The meat was soft, almost falling off the bone, and the glaze was just perfect. The roasted corn on the cob was a very nice rustic and delicious touch to it.
Word has it that The Commons was born out of a group of friends who wanted a place where friends could gather for a simply good meal in a down-to-earth setting and I think this place is a gem. The sandstone wall in a farmhouse setting completes it all. Love love love this place.”
Barry T. Sydney
“The downtown bar has a very prohibition-era / speakeasy feel to it, a great place if you are into the small bar scene. Some delicious cocktails to be had.
Also the farmhouse set menu for groups is also very reasonably priced (which is a 3 course meal).”
Dom A. Sydney
“The Commons is a cool little cafe by day which turns in to a cool little cafe at night. Whilst I’ve only enjoyed a coffee during the day (which was good mind you), I’m yet to sample the breakfast and lunch delicacies although if it’s anything like the dinner bar menu then I’m sure it’s a winner.
Usually me and friends go for a drink and share breads and dips and all that sort of stuff but one night my companion and I decided to splash out and treat ourselves to the fish pie and steak and boy are we thankful we did!
I like the stoned wall interior and wooden floor boards and the courtyard is quite.. pretty (ok that’s a touch feminine but it is!). The atmosphere is always nice and relaxed and during the warmer months you can hire old vintage bicycles for the day and they’ll even supply you with a hamper. It’s a really good idea but I must admit, seems like too much hard work for me!”
Alecia W. Sydney
‘Dining at The Commons is like heading over to your mate’s place for delicious home cooked meals, but with a heritage dining room and friendly waiter service. Housed in a beautiful sandstone building, the humble façade welcomes guests through wrought iron gates and into a farmhouse-like space with low ceilings and long timber benches.
Menus created by the kitchen are all about locally sourced, seasonal ingredients used to create classic dishes, so you’ll find plenty of specials to accommodate for the best and most readily available ingredients. Visiting for the first time with a francophile friend, we opted to share the duck liver pate with cornichons, served simply on a wooden board with slices of toasted bread. I followed up with a rich lasagne layered with house made pasta sheets – according to our waiter, just like his nonna makes it.
The meals on offer were quite simple, but everything tasted great and knowing that the chefs are using sustainable produce is a definite plus. I’ve not yet visited their lower level bar, Downtown, but hear it has quite the following in Friday nights.’
Seaton K. Sydney
“Down on Burton Street, away from the loud rampant partying of Oxford Street lies a small restaurant and pub called The Commons. But there is nothing common about this place.
You enter through the courtyard. Tables scattered behind a wrought iron fence. The alfresco mood of this space makes me imagine a place like Naples, though I’ve never been nor do I know anything about it, but it feels inspired.
There is table service for the restaurant element of the venue, but also for the drinks. Which I must say are a little pricey, though we may have ordered a fancy kind of beer as I’m sitting with two beer connoisseurs who like to try new boutique ales when they can.
“$9 for a bottle? Okay.” Don’t want to look cheap. “Thank you.” [Seaton pays begrudgingly.]
Then downstairs is where the real fun starts. There’s a small room filled with books and a piano and it has a Victorian feel to it. We shot a music video here once as we felt it gave off the vibe of a hunters lodge in Colonial times. Of course we added the necessary Deer heads and animal foetuses in jars, but the place looked a treat.
It’s a slightly pricey establishment, bordering on exclusive but not quite there and I’m sure many will find enjoyment and tranquility within it’s confines. Though one thing is for certain, it is anything but Common.”
Leah W. Sydney
“The small cocktail bar culture is really starting to grow wings here in Sydney. It seems like every week, a new special little place crops up somewhere. And usually it’s the no-sign, secret password, spin-around-5-times-and-wiggle-your-ears-for-entry type of place.
I went to the basement of Commons on a Wednesday for a nightcap. It was virtually empty down there, which my friends assured me was an absolutely fluke. The stone walls, low ceiling and shadowy lighting gave me that “I don’t know if we should be down here” feeling. With glass vases, a minimalistic case of stacked books, and an old piano, it felt a little like your alcoholic granddad’s secret basement speakeasy- the place he might escape for a cheeky little scotch before supper. The Common’s atmosphere, coupled with its thoughtfully crafted cocktail menu, proved to me without question that this dirty little secret is definitely one worth sharing. But please, keep it at a whisper.”
Jake T. Sydney
“Sydneysiders have been yearning for something with substance, sophistication and style for several years. Yes, you’ve got Zeta Bar and the numerous tourist haunts in Darling Harbour but nothing catering to locals who want a nice cocktail with a great chilled out atmosphere. Then came along The Commons, a place that oozes coolness yet doesn’t ooze attitude (something quite rare for Sydney).
The Lamborghini Gallardo parked outside when I was there tells a lot about the clientele (and prices) at this establishment but don’t be deterred. I was really impressed with this bar. There is nothing quite like entering a venue that makes you feel genuinely welcome.
The upstairs restaurant is very nice however the true jewels lie in the basement. As I walked down the stairs to the bar I could hear a roar of people and laughter with the familiar sound of jazz music. The bar is definitely ‘cozy’ (translation: ’small’) but it has a great friendly beatnik atmosphere. I ordered a Caprioska ($18) from the Bartender while my friend was still reading through the copious number of cocktails on the menu. The Bartender was really attentive, he asked my friend ‘what sort of cocktails do you like? I’ll make you something special’. Needless to say, my friend said it was definitely the best cocktail he has ever had. The Caprioska was worth every cent, not just for the drink but also for the atmosphere that comes along with it.”
Ana S. Sydney
“My partner and I have been searching for another “grown up” location and The Commons delivers. They’ve created a warm atmosphere, great food and drinks and a cool vibe that is neither pretentious nor trendy. The front patio outside has a communal style adorned with church pews and school desks. In the dining room on the main level, they keep it cozy in the cool months by lighting one of their fireplaces that gives it a nice rustic feel. Downstairs holds the intimate bar and sounds of cool jazz can be heard over the lively conversations. I’ve only had dinner here and I can assure you that their food philosophy is right on. The menu is limited, but they focus on seasonal, local ingredients that you can truly taste in their dishes. The house-made pasta of the day is fantastic and when the chicken parmigiana is on the menu it is one of the best. It can get quite busy so book if you have a group over 4. The service was also friendly, helpful and attentive. I’ve always had a good experience here and plan to keep it on my Surry Hills shortlist.”