Sydney’s inner city is gearing up to welcome its latest addition The Waratah, which opens its doors to the public tomorrow, Wednesday 6 December.

The multi-level neighbourhood bar is the work of Pollen Hospitality, a newly formed group led by Cynthia Litster and award-winning bartender Evan Stroeve (Baxter Inn, Bulletin Place, Re-, Shady Pines).

After undergoing an extensive renovation, The Waratah is now ready for launch with a walk-ins-only public bar located on the ground floor and a for-bookings dining area and terrace upstairs.

Each level has its own focus, from a more casual offering downstairs to a formal experience upstairs, but seasonality and championing native ingredients interweaves the spaces together.

“It’s a choose-your-own adventure at The Waratah,” says Litster. “Whether it’s saddling up at the bar for a chat, orchestrating a memorable date night on the wrap-around veranda, or dropping by for a quick burger and beer…”

Stroeve is changing cocktails on a weekly basis at the public bar, with the upstairs terrace’s menu working with the seasons.

“I’ve always wanted my first bar to be one that reconnects people with it,” he says. “I’m infatuated with the idea of presenting our country in a way that we can be proud of, not only on a global scale, but in a local, colloquial and accessible way.”

Launch drinks include the Mango and Cream which combines rum with spiced mango, carmelised cream, coconut, and lime and a riff on a Negroni made with local cherries and wine from Daintree Cacao.

The bar also has its signature drink the Waratah spritz on tap which is made with Rhubi mistelle, watermelon wine, vanilla, and Archie Rose vodka.

Icebergs’ Executive Chef Alex Prichard has shaped the culinary direction, working alongside Head Chef Lewin White (Icebergs, Quay, Re-, Bistro Moncur) to develop menus that channel traditional pub fare as well as bar snacks and more substantial plates.

Downstairs, guests can order a lobster roll with Ziggy’s hot sauce or the Waratah burger with the lot, with a plate of potato scallops topped with raw scallops and tartare sure to become one of the most-ordered options.

Upstairs, highlights include butterflied King prawns with lemon myrtle butter, a Wagyu rump cap with Diane sauce, and a fairy bread ice-cream sandwich stuffed with mango and amazake sorbet that’s covered in mezcal syrup.

“I always wanted to make the nostalgic food we all have grown up to know and adore, but do so while fostering a connection with growers and producers, the people who allow us to do what we do,” says White.

The Waratah is located at 308-310 Liverpool Street Darlinghurst and is open Wednesday to Friday from 4pm until midnight and from midday on weekends, closing at midnight on Saturday and at 10pm on Sunday.