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First Look: A Tropical Oasis in the Heart of Martin Place In The Press

Part of the new $170 million 25 Martin Place development, it’s bringing beach-holiday vibes to Sydney’s CBD with a 100-metre-long outdoor terrace, Margaritas and that holiday classic: the Pina Colada.

Harry Seidler’s iconic MLC Centre precinct – now known as 25 Martin Place – is emerging from a huge $170-million facelift. Now, out of the building site, comes one of the first in a slate of new venues to open in the precinct: Cabana Bar – a tropical oasis overlooking the busy city centre.

“The city is so concrete, we wanted to do something a little bit tropical,” says Nick Wills, CEO of hospitality group Tilley & Wills (Verandah, The Richmond Inn), which operates Cabana. “[The architecture] firm dictated how the façade would appear, so it was up to us to soften the space as much as we could.”

The resort-style bar and pub has a frisky beach-club vibe. The fit-out, by award-winning Sydney architects Luchetti Krelle (Bathers’ Pavilion, Matinee, Single O), is designed to make guests feel like they’re on holiday. Its bold logo is lit up by neon-tube lighting that’s visible as commuters emerge from Martin Place. The intent is to beckon them upwards, away from the humdrum city streets and into the party. The design elements – Pacific blue banquettes, rattan furniture, shell sconces on the walls – help you forget you’re in one of the busiest hubs in the city. The standout is the 100-metre-long terrace – it snakes the length of one side of the precinct and is softened by festoon lighting and a tropical garden.

Brad Sloane, executive chef for the Tilley & Wills Group, has created a menu of pub hits. Share plates are seafood focused – oysters, fried squid, and a tequila-cured salmon served with blue corn tostadas, avocado crema, jalapeno and lime. The larger plates are a roll call of the classics. Highlights include the cheeseburger with an Angus beef patty, jack cheese and pickles, and a herb-crumbed chicken schnitzel with gravy and fries. The bar’s proximity to the newly revamped Theatre Royal will likely make it a favourite spot for pre- or post-show revellers.

The wine list has been compiled by Social Dining at Verandah restaurant manager Katie Murphy and includes an excellent by-the-glass program. For those wanting a drink to sink their entire face into, the “fishbowl” cocktails are “designed for the long-term vacationer” and come in a 600-millilitre balloon glass. The rest of the cocktail list reads like a menu of summer classics, with zesty Margaritas alongside poolside favourites like Daiquiris, Pina Coladas and Mojitos.

“It just gives you that holiday feeling. I don’t know any bar in Sydney that you can go to for a great Pina Colada,” says Wills.

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  • In the Press Cabana Bar

  • Year 2021

  • Relationship Tilley & Wills, Luchetti Krelle

For all new enquiries, or if you would like to learn more about us, get in touch, we’d love to talk with you

For all new enquiries, or if you would like to learn more about us, get in touch, we’d love to talk with you

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