There’s a new kid on the block. Newcastle’s newest small bar, Coal and Cedar, is shaking up this once gritty steel city’s burgeoning food and beverage scene, but you’ll be hard pressed to spot this one.

Not on a map, but somewhere on Hunter Street, patrons to Coal and Cedar are invited to send a text message for entry. A password that’s good for one night only will be sent back, but if the joint’s at capacity, “tough luck,” says proprietor Ethan Ortlipp. Such is the coveted nature of this place.

Serving perfectly paired wines, fine spirits and carefully selected bites (we recommend a selection of cured meats and cheese), patrons at Coal and Cedar can expect some of the city’s finest hospitality and sharpest service.

“The inspiration came from some of Sydney’s bars but mostly experiences from New York and New Orleans,” explained Ethan. Clientele enjoy far more than great food and fine wallop here. Paying homage to its New York roots, from its understated subway tiles to a blockish yet inviting hardwood bar, there’s a story in every corner. “The bar is made from 100 year old Australian hardwood rafters from a demolished factory in Wickham, these were joined and shaped by a meticulous carpenter from Copacabana, David Chiswell. Each length was more than 14 metres...unbelievably tall trees before they were felled,” Ethan said.

“The building had been vacant since the early eighties on the site which was once the first bank in Newcastle, the Northumberland Building Society. Lost in the late 1800s, the art deco building that now stands was built in 1913,” Ethan said.

There are still two safes in the building, one having a vault door some 400mm thick, explained Coal and Cedar’s creator over a cup of terrifically strong and satisfying espresso. He neglected to elaborate what is kept in them today.

For those wondering whether there are plans to open up a sister to this stylish saloon, we can reveal these are already in progress. Sadly, however, they’re behind lock and key.

26 August 2014
Coal and Cedar
Hunter Street Newcastle 2300 NSW
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