Assembly Bar, Sydney CBD – Sydney Small Bars

The name Assembly may evoke nostalgic memories of school but Assembly Bar is far from the place to recite school songs and listen to the principal’s long-winded speeches.

You’ll find the CBD-located bar inside Regent Place, a small shopping mall on Kent Street above Azuma Kushiyaki and opposite Tetsuya’s or you can reach it down the escalator from the George Street entrance.

Assembly Bar
Assembly Bar

Assembly Bar, which opened prior to Christmas in 2011, is the recent bar venture of Ben Taouss, part owner and licensee, who opened Pocket Bar two years earlier. Originally from Montpellier in France, Ben’s international career saw him enjoying an eight year stint in London as venue manager, working at Eclipse Bar, Cocoon ad Boujis nightclub as well as working in the Caribbean for a year.

Assembly Bar
Assembled crates make up the bar

The bar has an industrial feel with bare floors, exposed piping, copper light fittings and dark steel grey walls which give it a sense of open space. Add the comfort of Chesterfield lounges and the warmth of industrial lights to this rustic and raw setting and you have a space that is open and welcoming.

Assembly Bar
Assembly Bar interior

An assembly of crates make up the backlit bar, and continuing with the theme, the industrially “assembled” décor and dividers complement the drawings on the wall which give you flashbacks to classrooms and lessons.

A narrow metal spiral staircase imported from France leads to a quieter upstairs loft area with a low ceiling, more lounges and headless mannequins. Don’t be concerned about waiters spilling your drinks on their way up. A drink elevator using parts from an old garage door hoists your beverages up to the first floor – an ingenious idea that will make every two story house want one. The space is open to accommodate busy night and can be booked for private functions.

Assembly Bar
Upstairs at Assembly Bar

Assembly Bar Assembly Bar
Spiral Staircase and Drinks Lift

Assembly Bar
Industrial space with warm lighting

Outside the bar, an Astroturf courtyard near the escalator gives it an indoor/outdoor feel. The verdant space comes complete with a picket fence, a large umbrella, picnic tables and fairy lights against a faux ivy wall making it a quaint spot to sip on your drink as you watch swimmers doing laps in the pool above your head.

Assembly Bar
Artificial courtyard

On a Monday night, the ambience is chilled and relaxed with funky music that does not overpower conversations. The mix of clientele ranges from small groups spilling from nearby Chinatown, couples and the odd number of people in business suits. Cocktails are ordered, share plates are served and the place has a steady rhythm that puts you at ease after work.

Clipboard menus are found within easy reach and an attached torch lets you do away with your iPhone flashlight. Three sections make up the cocktail list. The first page has a classic edge such as the Deauville and the Bosom Caresser. Assembly Cocktails introduce an inventive and fun element with names such as For Shizzle My Treacle made with Appelton Rum as a base, pear puree and white chocolate foam. Many are suited for a dessert-style cocktail with the use of fruit puree and foam and a spirit that is not too overpowering. The Ambassadors, pays homage to spirit Brand Ambassadors who have created signature cocktails for Assembly Bar. You can order wine and champagne by the glass, choose from a selection of beers or try the cocktail specials such as  the ABSOLUT Elyx Dry Martini Twist.

In keeping with the school theme, cocktails are described as an equation. Take a base spirit, add a mathematical formula then follow it by a one liner to describe the drink.

Assembly Bar
5 parts Gosling Black Seal Rum + lime squeeze + dash of Angostura bitters + ginger beer + 1/2 lime part & mint spring garnish + built in a hi-ball = Dark “n” Stormy “A cocktail that’s close to our hearts ,it’s super refreshing and made the traditional way with Goslings of course.”

The Dark “n” Stormy cocktail from the Classics list delivers a good balance of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer with a strong alcoholic kick.

Assembly Bar
Ben Taouss preparing the Lavender Hill Cappuccino

Assembly Bar
4 1/2 parts La Mauny Rum + 1 1/2 parts lime juice + 2 parts cloudy apple juice + shaken & strained + martini glass + apple & lavender foam + Pop Rocks = Lavender Hill Cappuccino “An exciting martini that will rock your taste buds’ world.”

The Lavender Hill Cappuccino introduces a textural and auditory element to the rum-based cocktail with the use of Pop Rocks. The tiny specks are served on a mint leaf in case you don’t like them popping in your drink. Using La Mauny Rum from Martinique, the cocktail takes the floral properties of the rum and delivers an elegant and balanced drink that is not overpowering and fun at the same time.

The peckish can choose from a selection of soul food and share plates. The menu includes a Cured Meat Board, to Pork Belly Sliders, Keen-Wah Salad and a range of Frankfurters and gourmet hot dogs with spicy sauces.

Assembly Bar
braised sticky short ribs off the bone + broccolini = Sticky Ribs
fries + cheese & truffle sauce = Assembly Fries

The Sticky Ribs is the must-have dish. The twice cooked meat is served off the bone in a sweet sticky sauce with broccolini, so tender and flavoursome that the texture takes you by surprise. The Assembly Fries, crisp and golden, make a good accompaniment to the dish and come with a pot of truffle cheese sauce for dipping.

Assembly Bar
Upstairs area

Assembly Bar
Back to school bar drawings

Assembly Bar
Ben Taouss

Assembly Bar

Assembly Bar is a great CBD venue in which to assemble with a group of friends over cocktails and share plates, drop in for after work drinks or enjoy a date night. The range of cocktails suits many tastes, from the classics to the creative to the more adventurous. When you go to Assembly, you’ll leave with one lesson that is easy to memorise:

inventive cocktails + central location + chillout ambience + attentive service + welcoming venue = Assembly Bar

Assembly Bar

Regent Place
488 Kent Street (opposite Tetsuya’s)
Sydney NSW 2000

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.