Drinking at Bondi Hardware is not unlike getting boozy inside an extremely elegant garden shed. The walls are exposed brick and an array of potted plants are scattered about the room on tables, attached to the walls and hanging from the ceiling. There is what looks like an old chimney stack hedging in the kitchen, and right up the back you will find the leftovers from the shop's former life as a Thrifty-Link Hardware store. Hammers, chisels, tongs, pliers and all other manner of tools are glued to the back wall like some sort of enormous, manly collage.
The overall vibe is more subtly masculine. A few extra tools dot the walls of the main room, but are set high to ensure no one cops a stray double-handed saw to the head. Splashes of dark green break up the natural finishes of brick and recycled timber and big industrial lights are slung low over the bar. Even the soundtrack is dominated by male vocals, but it’s all the best ones. Beatles follow Bon Iver and Eddy Vedder, which prove a killer accompaniment to whisky and hot dogs.
The Bloody Mary, seemingly the most nutritious of all the cocktails, gets a makeover at Hardware. It’s almost a meal in itself with spicy tomato, cucumber and beetroot juice mixed with a shot of tequila. And in a nod to the Japanese dry seasoning gomasio, the glass is rimmed with salt and sesame seeds.
They have Batlow cider on tap and Britain’s Aspall Cyder in bottles for sweet tooths and while it may be a little late in the season, they also do St Germain elderflower liqueur icy poles that you can dunk in a glass of white or sparking – an Australian childhood classic all grown up. For a more autumnal drink they do an orange and whisky ginger sour with Jack Daniels that’ll warm the cockles of your heart when there’s a chill in the air.
Hungry visitors are welcome, and the bar even does a full breakfast menu for when it is midday somewhere in the world, just not here. If you can though, stick it out until lunchtime so that you can order the mini NY dogs – little pork sausages in baby fist-sized buns with onion relish, cheese, tomato chutney and mustard. They come four to a plate, so grab a friend and order the sliders as well and split them.
||Introducing new Magnum Pink Marc de Champagne and Magnum Black Espresso – different Magnums for different moments. What mood are you in today? Streets Magnum