Alpha to open Beta, a striking new upstairs bar and eatery

Author: MAGGIE SCARDIFIELD

Here's an argument for making plan B your first choice: Sydney's Alpha is opening Beta Bar, and it's far from a second-string offering.

The new complement to the CBD's favourite modern Greek eatery, which opens on the floor above the restaurant-proper in June, is all about mezze and cocktails.   

"We're taking that old principle of a Greek mezze bar - similar to how tapas work where they bring you a small plate with your drink," says chef Peter Conistis, "and making it modern."

That could mean red mullet grilled on lemon leaves with spanakorizo rice and green-almond "saltsa" with a Dry Tai (gin, ginger, Campari and lime), or Conistis's favourite: feta custard and duck-skin crisps with a Dirty Greek Martini (vodka, cucumber and tomato tea, French vermouth and crushed Volos olives).

Alpha chef James Roberts will be on the grill, while the restaurant's bar manager of the past two and a half years, Nathan Cannon, will wrangle the drinks. 

"Alpha-Beta" might sound a bit Animal House, but the design will be anything but frat-boy. Paul Papadopoulos of creative studio DS17, who also designed the original restaurant, has retained the original honeycomb ceiling, arches and brickwork, juxtaposing them with old leather furnishings, cane and fretwork-backed chairs, striking Aegean-blue doors and brass finishes. "He's sourced some beautiful '50s gold-plated glassware from an old hotel in New York, too," says Conistis. "It's all a bit dark and luxe." 

The upstairs space will include a separate private dining room and a glass-encased courtyard featuring a 10-person chef's table and a sunken fire-pit for spit-roasting meats. 

"It's not like Alpha," says Conistis. "It's a new take on mezze, a step up, and it's very much its own beast."

Beta Bar, level 1, 238 Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9098 1111, hellenicclub.net.au/about/beta







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