A few years ago, visiting Middle Bar at Kinselas Hotel was something like falling into the middle of a fashion shoot. It was hard to tell who was hotter: the staff or the punters.
Kinselas is smack bang in the middle of Taylor Square and for many years was one of the more upmarket bars in this tourist hotspot - seeing a mix of gay and straight tourists jostle for a place in line. Since its glory days last decade, a whole swag of modern bars have since opened in the area and the corner pub has made a resounding return to popularity, so bars like Kinselas don't have the edge they once did.
Nonetheless, Middle Bar is just one level of this three level venue, and offers fab balcony views over Taylor Square and out over Oxford Street and the rooftops of Darlinghurst. A specialty cocktail bar with excellent bar staff and high quality drinks, Middle Bar had long established itself as a more stylish getaway from some of the grittier venues in the area.
It features sleek '70s style fittings with plenty of slick modern surfaces, loads of high bench and standing areas, as well as a balcony area. On a casual weeknight, it's a perfect place to relax with a small group, on weekends the place fills up fast so you'll want to arrive early if you're aiming for after work drinks, especially in summer.
Note that Kinselas has recently undergone a major refit (still underway while this review was being written) so the place had closed while it worked on its facelift.
Din Heagney, July 2010.