A taste of sun-drenched Californian arrives


1 Young Street, Neutral Bay

Open on a site which once housed a Japanese karaoke swingers club called Swing Box (we guess the clue was in the name) is the latest bar from Hamish Watts and Ben Carroll of the Applejack Hospitality Group (read our profile on them here). Building on the success of their first two venues, Bondi Hardware and The Botanist, they’ve now launched SoCal at Neutral Bay on Sydney’s North Shore.


The smart drinks list has been put together by Lachlan Sturrock, group bars manager for Applejack Hospitality. At SoCal he’s mining all things Mexican (by way of California, of course) and we’d recommend kicking things off either with a SoCal Frozen Margarita (because who doesn’t like tequilas slushies after all?) or the Mezcali Margarita (a smoky version of a Tommys Margarita by way of a healthy splash of mezcal).



Head Chef Zac Smart (ex-Steele Bar & Grill) is dishing up similarly-inspired dishes drawing on a Mexican, North American and seafood emphasis (the crab and sopressa empanadas were our pick when we there).

The interior has been designed by Luchetti Krelle (of Momofuku Seiobo, Ananas, Hinky Dinks and Sake fame) to have a laidback atmosphere: think bright colours, an outdoor terrace and beach bar all rolled into one.

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