Sydney’s Tiny New Deli-Style Vermouth Bar Brings Barcelona To Kings Cross
(Photo by Christopher Pearce)
— 17 March 2023

Sydney’s Tiny New Deli-Style Vermouth Bar Brings Barcelona To Kings Cross

— 17 March 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Sydney has plenty of small bars. The once notable trend has now become nothing more than a standard and it seems like a diminutive new drinking hole opens in the city every few months. Yet, few small bars really tighten up the space for something truly intimate, on par with what you’d often find down an unassuming European alleyway or frantic Japanese train station. For the past few years, Piccolo in Kings Cross has been a break from that rule, designed as an incredibly cosy, glowing red space that heroes vermouth, quality cheese boards and a concise wine list.

Piccolo has easily become one of the more popular haunts for after-work drinks in the area. The only problem is that it’s so small you’d generally find yourself waiting for a table given it’s all walk-in only.

Now there’s a solution. If you want a similar vibe and Piccolo is full, simply pop on around the corner to its new sister bar, Vermuteria. The owner of both venues, David Spanton, seems to be enamoured with that side of Kings Cross, last year buying up the long-standing Cafe Hernandez on Kings Cross Road and transforming it into this new, quaint Euro-style vermouth and wine bar.

Piccolo is now one of the most popular small bars in Sydney (photo via Piccolo)

Vermuteria opened on Friday, February 24 and local reception has been strong. It’s a well-known space, given this is where the Hernandez family roasted and distributed their small-batch coffee for four decades out of a 24/7 cafe before Spanton snapped up the building. The aesthetic is strikingly similar; there’s still that subtle prohibition-era Spanish vibe to it, but now it’s got its own small deli section for takeaway produce (including Hernandez coffee) along with a bar that’s heavy on vermouth, both by itself and in cocktails.

Designer Michael Delany has successfully presented a space that glows with the same kind of moody allure of Piccolo but offers a decidedly different experience. The aperitif wine bar and deli offers a bit more space when compared with its sister venue, with upholstered banquette and bar seating framed by vintage bottles and artwork.

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In terms of food, there’s nothing more substantial than snack-style bites designed to pair with vermouth. Everything is simple enough that the place doesn’t need a chef. The bar staff can just prepare items like cheese plates, four-cheese toasties, LP’s chorizo hot dogs, Ortiz anchovies and razor clams, and cuts of mortadella.

Given the success of Picollo, it’s safe to expect Vermuteria will track the same path and help re-position Kings Cross as mecca for Sydney’s best new bars. And I for one am absolutely on board with Spanton’s admirable quest to turn Kings Cross into the small microcosm of Europe it once was.


Address: 60 Kings Cross Road, Kings Cross
Opening Hours: Thursday – Saturday (4 PM – 12 AM)

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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