by Jonathan Leeming in New Food and Packaging on Friday 13 December 2013

You have to look carefully to find the discrete doorway and staircase leading down into the latest addition to Bondi Junction’s bar scene, Spring Street Social, which opened its doors in September this year and was followed in November by the opening of its sister venue, the live music and arts space, JAM Gallery.

Spring Street Social is hidden, like a speakeasy, which is what owner Peter Wright, previously a pharmacist and more recently a farmer, has envisioned for his inaugural venue. With its low ceilings and dim lighting, bearded bar staff serving potent cocktails, and deliciously rich sharing plates, you could almost believe you were back in the 1920s.

We started off with a bourbon and five-spice cocktail called ‘Snake Oil’, and an unusual ‘Chase The Dragon’ concoction infused with Applewood smoke, hints of which we could smell throughout the night.

Highlights from the food menu were the lobster and chorizo macaroni bake, the BBQ pork ‘Social’ buns, and the Duck and Date Rilette, as well as the huge selection of craft beers available to wash it all down with.

The adjoining JAM Gallery has clearly been designed with versatility in mind (and a $100,000 sound system to boot), and has already played host to acoustic, funk, jazz and African horn performances, with much more in store over the coming months.

It’s only 15 minutes from the CBD, as well as being 15 minutes from the Beach. So although its location might seem an odd choice, the intention is to attract discerning customers fed up with the crowds elsewhere. I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit.