Hacienda Sydney – A Sensory delight

By Honey Pen - 23:45

In a city overshadowed by lock-out laws and clogged by faces too frozen to smile, it’s near impossible to find a bar that’s not overflowing with pretentions.

But, if you read on, I’ll reveal a spot even this cynical Sydney girl was astounded that such a place even existed.

On paper, it has it all; the perfect Habour view, the extensive drinks menu and luxurious furnishings. But does Hacienda at the Pullman Quay Grand Sydney live up to the hype? 

The answer is a resounding YES.

I can hear you say, “It’s a hotel bar. Don’t they usually lack charm and character?”

Not this one, my sweet cocktail connoisseurs. This place is literally dripping in charisma.

Balancing in my new red pumps, I crossed the threshold into Hacienda. We were late – 45 minutes late ­ – and I was preparing to spill my effusive apologies for our tardiness. The bar was jam-packed with excited voices, music and the clatter of glassware.

As we were ushered in, I was immersed in a world that could only be described as a cross between a sprawling Cuban homestead and an ultra-stylish furniture show room. Warm wood tones were accented with moss green features  and soft blush hues.

Garlands of wisteria flowers hung from the ceiling and huge potted plants were elegantly positioned around the bar.  Scanning the room, on one end I spied an elegant timber bar adorned with colourful bottles and elegant art deco-style glasses. Bar stools in classy leather and tables and chairs provided plenty of seating options for guests to enjoy their delightful libations.

A warm greeting by George, Hacienda’s bar manger that night, snapped me out of my reverie. Dismissing my apologies, he escorted my husband and I to our reserved table.

It was an odd feeling, and I couldn’t help giggling to myself as a group of pretty young things were politely shooed away from our table. As the merry party picked up their drinks to move - stealing furtive glances over their shoulders and mumbling to each “Who’s this Z-grade celebrity” – I plopped down on the couch and inhaled the shimmering lights of Circular Quay.

Our table, at the furthest end of the room, was directly opposite the Harbour Bridge, and due to the floor-to-celling windows, we were spoilt with this incredible vista. As I perused the cocktail menu, guests took turns taking selfies with this breathtaking backdrop. I could easily imagine interstate and international tourists enjoying a few drinks here the day before their cruise.

Now, I’m not the most knowledgeable drinker, but the cocktail descriptions sounded so delicious, I was already feeling slightly intoxicated. Oh my, which one do I choose? After much deliberation, and a recommendation by Venue Manager Matt Harfield, the Pine Princessa was chosen.

In a matter of minutes, our fancy drinks were brought to us, and theatrically, set alight by Matt.   

Among sips and pics, we had the chance to have a great conversation with Matt. This consummate professional was absolutely delightful, and his passion and affection for his job was contagious. Soon enough we were talking about cruising, and he impressed me by rattling off facts and figures about the industry, the ships and cruisers that even surprised me!

Now don’t think just because we were ‘special guests’ that we were afforded extra niceties by Matt – I can honestly say he was just as attentive to every other guest in Hacienda, chatting and ensuring all were happy. “Hacienda means ‘home’, and I want to make sure all our guests feel at home here.” What an asset he is to the brand. It makes such a difference when a person loves their job.

Time passed quickly and our diner reservation at Q Dining had well and truly passed. Despite this bar manager George urged us to try one more cocktail and repeatedly offered to bring us some bar food. “Don’t worry, you looked like you were enjoying yourselves, so I already told the restaurant you’ll be dining later."

Two Campfire Espresso Martini appeared – complete with squishy, toasted marshmallow – and unceremoniously downed in a few scrumptious gulps. Do yourself a favor and make sure you order one, it was the best espresso martini I have ever had. View the Food and Drink menu here.

Venue Manager Matt
Bar Manager George
Well and truly cheery now, I coerced George and Matt to take a few snaps with me, and slowly made my way to the exit. After double-cheek kissing the duo, I now teetered to the exit, looking forward to what other delights the night may reveal…

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