If you live on the Manly end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches you would be aware of the bar/ restaurant, nay, institution known as STOWAWAY BAR. Located in Freshwater this bar transcends what can be called a local and is too unique to be categorised ‘simply’ as a bar or a restaurant. I have known this place for years and used to love a drink in their smaller, original venue. It had this candle section that probably had a million or so candles burned into it over the years resulting in this endless candle drip that was mesmerising to watch over a bevvie or twelve.
I have been to their newer, although a few years old now, venue a couple of times and was stoked to be able to work with them on a photoshoot. Thanks to Stowaways Bryony, Angus, Polly and the crew for having me in and for inviting me back to enjoy a review meal without the stress of taking a million photos.
STOWAWAY IS COOL FOR SCHOOL WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE:
How to categorise STOWAWAY BAR?! It’s a little like Shady Pines in Darlinghurst but is above ground with natural light and the staff are a lot more fun. It is like a Bondi bar without pretension and it is like all those too-cool-for-school venues around the world but they don’t have the attitude. It might as well be ran by a bunch of chilled-out pacifist weed inhaling hippies who just want to have a meal and some drinks with you. And it is these staff combined with what they offer that makes it one of my favourite venues in Sydney. I seriously cannot love this place anymore!
STOWAWAY BAR VENUE:
The venue is located upstairs in the IGA building in Freshwater. It is large, being about four or five times the size of their previous venue, and offers indoor and outdoor seating as well as different seating options ranging from tables for two, high tables, low tables, lounge chairs, fireplace room, and even some booths. If you try to categorise the place it will drunk fight you. It’s part old-school ski lodges, cigar/ smoking lounge and even modern day New York loft clubs with a little splash of the nautical.
Eclectic interior with exposed bricks, reclaimed floor boards paired with old leather, old bottles and older collectables that would feel welcome on Hemingway’s study wall. It wouldn’t be out of place for large stuffed animals from your hunting to spot the venue but that would leave less place for you to drink and catch up with friends.
The venue claims not to have a particular patronage with “the more the merrier” welcome. You would not be out of place sipping some of Angus’s EPIC cocktails while kids shoot some nerf bullets at each other on the balcony. If you live in Freshwater you will know everyone on a first name basis and if you don’t you will be welcomed with open arms and a well stocked bar.
THE MENU AND WHAT YOU CAN ORDER:
Like the venue the menu refuses to be put in Baby’s corner. As much as I hate using the term “fusion” STOWAWAY BAR fits the need. There is pub grub followed by Asian or Mexican inspired and then you can have some tapas style dishes and on Sundays they have roasts. They also serve pizzas, burgers, some stunning seafood, a kid’s menu, platters to devour with bottled wine and a dessert of the day.
It’s not just Sundays, a few nights a week they have some great meal offers. It’s $5- tacos on Tuesdays, Schnitty and Parmis on Wednesdays for $16- with a beer, chips and salad and, as mentioned, the epic Sunday roasts from lunch time all day.
WHAT WE ORDERED:
Surf & Sand – Sandy haired Freshy legend ‘Cuzzys’ fave. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Sweet Vermouth, Applewood Limoncello, Cherry Heering, orange juice, jalapeno & rosemary. Shaka Love.
Breakfast At Brookies
‘It may be normal, darling, but I’d rather be natural’ – Holly Golightly. Peanut Butter washed Brookies Dry Gin, Brookies Slow Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth & Davidson Plum jam.
Slap Ya Mama Fish Tacos – Cajun style grilled barramundi tacos  w chipotle mayo, slaw, corn & avocado salsa, coriander & lime.
Lovers Picnic – Peppered sopresa, proscuitto, danish fetta, brie, marinated olives & mushroom, roast garlic hummus, salsa rouge, rustic crackers & warmed house-made flatbread.
Braveheart’s Balls  – Beetroot arancini balls  stuffed w goats cheese
served w lemon & dill yoghurt, cracked pepper & fried beetroot leaves.
Stowaway Wings [3 styles] – Wings smothered in house-made marinades. American style smoky BBQ sauce, Hot buffalo wings w blue cheese dipping sauce, Honey, tamari & sesame seeds.
Charred Gus – Charred asparagus, almond butter, lemon zest, dukkah spice, quinoa, watercress.
Schnitty Special with Salad, Chips and a Beer (not on the regular menu – Wednesdays only).
Little Italy Pizza – Proscuitto, pepperoni, onion, bocconcini, sun-dried tomato, chilli & fresh basil.
Big Elvis – Freshly minced beef patty, double bacon, American cheddar, Swiss cheese, mustard aioli, smokey BBQ & beer battered onion rings. True love.
Roast of the Week (Sundays ONLY): this changes weekly. We had beef with all the trimmings including a Yorkshire pudding.
Dessert of the Day: Again this changes regularly. Ours was a kind of strawberry and cream meets Snickers in a cocktail glass.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
I am obsessed with this place and find it hard to find fault with anything. My guest for the day, Kat, agreed. The only thing she wasn’t a fan of was her cocktail. It had peanut butter in it and was a weird texture. I finished it and would have had another if I wasn’t driving.
You need to really read the menu. It is clever and it is sometimes humorous. The alcohol menu is impressive. They have some great wines, bubbles and beers but they are all about gin and cocktails, probably a reason I love them so much!!
The cocktails are all designed by Angus, the guy holding the burger in the pics, his cocktails are INSANE!!! Peanut Butter washed Brookies Dry Gin, Brookies Sloe Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth & Davidson Plum jam are all ingredients that guarantee I will try it. The Surf and Sand was a strong and spicy Mezcal cocktail. A local guy “Cuzzy” from Keel Surf and Supply loves it so much they tell you on the menu and stick his business sticker on the side of the drink. I am assuming he has drunk so many of them it is now considered sponsorship haha.
The barramundi fish tacos are a favourite I have eaten on every visit, the South American flavours will make this a must order. The Lover’s Picnic is how you should start every outing at STOWAWAY BAR – just buy a bottle of wine and this – it is a perfect antipasto platter that will make you very happy.
Braveheart’s Balls are a fun beetroot arancini. They have a good flavour combo – you can’t beat beetroot and goat’s cheese. Very interesting serving them with fried beetroot leaves. Their Sticky Wings are no word of a lie, the best wings ever!! They are stacked quite high in a smaller bowl and the buffalo wings with blue cheese dipping sauce make me food horny! Heaven!
The more side dish of Charred Asparagus proves you can impressively dress up a side to one beautiful dish. The almond butter, dukkah and lemon zest elevate this from a simple dish to delish. This dish leans towards a Middle Eastern inspiration.
The schnitty is a must for Wednesday nights but take note – it is ONLY available on Wed nights. Pizzas are decent and they have a great range available every day. Little Italy was my pick of the pizzas, I just can’t say no to pepperoni and prosciutto on the same pizza.
I haven’t actually eaten the burgers but they do have a good selection and haven’t faulted anything yet. I had to post this one – love the pic from our photo shoot.
And I just can’t say no to a roast on a Sunday. I do miss the old family weekly tradition and more local venues should do this. By the time we got to the roast we were already so full and only managed to share about half of it. It was what you want from a roast, nothing fancy, just a family roast, the meat was a bit drier than I would have liked but the gravy sorted that out. I will be returning for this again with the parents when they next come to stay.
Finally, the dessert. This was from our photo shoot and I did not devour it but it was so bloody sexy I wish I did! The desserts change regularly so do not know all the deets of this one. Strawberries, Cream and what looks like an in-house Snickers? GET IN ME!
STOWAWAY BAR is one of the best bars in Sydney. But is it just a bar with food this good? It fits no predefined category and plays to its own, incredibly clever, stylised and humorous, tune. This funky-assed Beaches institution demands a journey to the Northside folks. Take transport, get elegantly and responsibly trollied!
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 2/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus
STOWAWAY BAR DEETS:
PH: 02 9905 2038
18 / 1-3 Moore Rd (First Floor), Freshwater NSW 2096
BOOKINGS: For weekend lunches and group bookings only
PRICING: Very Expensive
Mon – Thur: 5 – 10pm
Fri: 3pm – 12am
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 12am
LOCAL DELIVERY: Unsure – check with venue
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – limted
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – limited
KID FRIENDLY: Yes
*** Spooning Australia Dined at Stowaway Bar as a Guest of the Venue and their Very Awesome Marketing Manager, Chloe, the wife of my legendary barber in Freshwater, Pat from Flying Tiger Barbershop ***
For more reviews of Northern Beaches Restaurants – check them out HERE