adding up to sydney's cosmopolitan vibe is the smoking panda, an eclectic fusion of a cool watering hole in downtown l.a. and a retro chinese diner. the interior shows an abundance of elements from both, albeit tweaked or glossed over here and there for hipness' sake. a distinctive neon malboro sign, created especially for the venue, and the sultry pink, red and black colour scheme pays homage to the seductive clubs of los angeles, while the retro cherry red banquettes, timber beaded curtains, illuminated live fish tank, and red and gold accents allude to the classic chinese feel. the dark wooden bar top and back bar, exposed brick and desert-scape murals all add a pastiche that's pretty hard to resist. and not surprisingly, so does the smokey panda's menu.
mind you, the back bar features over 65 bourbons, 50 rums and an extensive range whiskies and tequila, and is the most elaborate spirits list down under. and we haven't even begun talking about the equally wide choice in wines, craft beers and the very tempting list of classic american cocktails, all curated by world-renowned mixologist grant collins. foodwise, this place shouldn't be overlooked either, boasting a bar food menu created by acclaimed chef danny russo and chef roy nair that draws inspiration from suburban chinese restaurants. signature dishes include sweet and sour pork ribs, soft shell crab slider with asian slaw and the chairman’s wings served with barbecue sauce. location: 5-7 park street [town hall].