Daintree Sydney is a small bar with a big purpose. Located in The Rocks precinct, it aims to highlight Australia’s native and locally-sourced ingredients, while also raising awareness and funds for Australian rainforests.
The bar, which is on a mission to save and seed over one million trees across Australia, held its official opening last week with its fundraising partner HalfCut and guests including the ABC’s Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis.
HalfCut is an environmental movement that engages people to raise funds to protect rainforests and wildlife. Its current focus is on preserving the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, working closely with the Traditional Owners of the low land Daintree.
Daintree Sydney donates half of all its profits to HalfCut. Since opening its doors in July 2022, the bar has raised more than $52,000 and counting via their HalfCut fundraising page.
“Daintree Sydney is committed to ensuring its charitable efforts make real, tangible change to protecting our rainforests and bringing to light the responsibility we, as people, have to give back to these lands we too willingly take from,” said Daintree Sydney’s Beverage Manager, Tom Bulmer.
“The money we have raised to date will go towards the repurchase of the Wawu Dimbi in the Daintree, in partnership with HalfCut, to rewild the world’s oldest rainforest and help engage in the buyback program to expand lots back into the Daintree National Park. The location of Daintree Sydney is also the first place affected by the First Fleet landing, with that it feels like the perfect place to start to focus on a positive change on these lands.”
“With over 50% of the world’s forests destroyed and a further 30% of all forest degraded globally, protecting all forests, and
rewilding what we can has never been more urgent. Our forests are our greatest solution to addressing true carbon drawdown and the climate crisis, and we picked the Daintree as it is the world’s oldest and iconic rainforest that is home to the mighty southern endangered cassowary,” said Jimmy Stanton-Cook, (Jimmy HalfCut) HalfCut founder (above).
Daintree Sydney also has sustainability at the heart of the business, adopting a ‘from the ground up’ approach to its operations by tracking and monitoring the bar’s eco-footprint every step of the way. From reducing electricity, gas and water consumption, using the excess water from the ice well to water the plants after service and choosing recycled furniture for the bar fit out.
“We want Daintree Sydney’s vision to inspire other venues in the hospitality industry to also give back – whether that’s supporting community initiatives, inspiring social change or adopting sustainability measures within their own businesses,” says Tom.
All staff at Daintree Sydney are required to learn about the native flora that use to grow on the lands where the venue is located, as well as its traditional owners. The Daintree Sydney team has committed to attending regular tours guided by local Aboriginal groups, to promote continued learning about the region as it was originally inhabited.
Daintree Sydney’s seasonal menu spotlights the wealth and diversity of local produce that the land provides. The food menu has a sustainable focus and features share dishes including kangaroo tataki, Goolwa Pipi Chowder, Mojo Pork Cubano Sandwiches as well as locally sourced Australian cheese.
The cocktail list features drinks with seasonal native ingredients and where possible, fresh herbs grown by the bar.
Two cocktails were highlighted at the opening event last week. Drinks Digest sampled two delicious cocktails there: a Gumnut Negroni with Gum Leaf Gin, house-made vermouth and Davidson plum apertivo; and a Quandong Daiquiri with Quandong macerate, Husk Tumblegum Argricole and lime.
Alongside the cocktails is a wine and beer list that champions NSW producers and highlights minimal intervention and natural wines.
As a further nod to Daintree Sydney’s transparent environmental pledge, the menu also points out how far each of their wines and beers have travelled as a real carbon cost.
“It’s not just about serving sustainable cocktails, it’s a mindset and a business model shift. As one of Australia’s largest industries, the hospitality sector has a responsibility to give back to the environment. We need to preserve our rich biodiversity and protect our land that has provided for us for generations, with many more to come,” continues Tom.
Daintree Sydney is located downstairs from The Keel in the Sailor’s Home Building and opens onto Cadman’s Cottage and its parklands, with the bar’s hidden entrance running along the Cadman’s stairs.
The micro-bar’s fit-out is a mixture of heritage, recycled timbers and Modern Australian art, and boasts an intimate setting, which seats five tables at a time and takes bookings of six-10 people. A new courtyard inspired by Australian rainforests and featuring Australian native plants will also be opening soon.
A visual representation of the bar’s mission has also been depicted by local artist Felix Saw within the walls of the venue.
Currently outlined in black paint, it will be coloured in each time every 100,000 trees are saved and seeded (planted) for the
Daintree is a gorgeous, intimate hideaway to enjoy a tipple while supporting an important cause.