(S)wanky Bars

We’re going to Ivy for gazillion dollar cocktails tonight.  It should be cool, but I always feel awkward and self-conscious in swanky places.  There’s no relaxing because I feel like I’m being judged.  How does my hair look?  What must they think of my handbag?  Are my clothes fashionable enough?  Totally superficial, I know, but I can’t help it. 

When my friend was visiting from the US a few months back, we went to the Argyle.  We got there early to check out the decor.  As other people arrived he said, “these people are…how do you say?..wankers.”  True that. 

Pity, because the place is awesome.  Located in the Rocks, the Argyle is a modern bar that manages to still exude historic charm.   On a balmy summer night enjoy a beer amongst bizarrely oversized lamps in the cobblestone courtyard.  Be warned that cobblestones, heels and beer are a messy combination.  Inside you can lounge on cushy red seats that are practically beds with tables in the middle, or have a pow-wow in what we call the “Knights of the Round Table” booths.  You can head upstairs to lounge some more, or perch on little ottomans.  If you don’t feel like sitting and want to do a bit of dancing, the Red Room  

Whoever designed the lighting is a genius.   The textures of the sandstone and wooden beams are accentuated by soft, indirect lighting.  Overhead lights are limited to vibrant, medusa-like chandeliers.  The DJ booth is a clear cube suspended above the entryway by wires.  I’m guessing they don’t hire many female or Scottish, kilt-wearing DJs. 

Just when you think the place can’t possibly get any cooler, take a trip to the toilets.  Or should I say, toilet?  No ladies and gents here; just one big room with a trough in the centre for hand washing, stalls on either side and glowing, clam-shaped urinals at the far end.  Gimmicky, but well done.

Overall, the Argyle is a really cool place: incredibly well decorated, great drink selection and a fantastic location.  I just make a point of arriving early and enjoying it before the crowds arrive. 

I’m usually a pub and beer sort of girl, but sometimes it’s nice to sip a cocktail or boutique beer without the sound of cricket and footy in the background.

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