Photography by Alberto's Lounge
Words by Jane Ryan on 09-Feb-2020
17-19 Alberta Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000, Australia
Website: View bar's website
Style: Restaurant bar
Recommended for: Cocktails, Food, Late night, Spirits, Wine
Price guide: High-end
Owned by: The Swillhouse Group
In the no man's land that sits between the city and Surry Hills, dominated by unkempt carparks and gloomy office blocks, this late-night laneway diner and wine bar has managed to carve out a home and cemented itself in Sydney's foodie scene.
Firstly, if you've got your heart set on a meal at Alberto's, you're going to want to book.
Although Alberto's is modelled on the concept of a neighbourhood joint – and there's always space kept unreserved for walk ins – it's Sydney and this place gets hella busy, hella quickly. Think queues out the door by 6pm on a Friday. So if you don't have a plan B, have a booking. Or come back later for late night pasta and Negronis.
The space is intimate and homely, with a narrow corridor in faded yellow, warmly lit, leading to the single room that comprises the bar and restaurant floor. Reflective of the rest of Swillhouse's venues (Baxter Inn, Restaurant Hubert etc), Alberto's has about 20 shades of oak, with dark wooden bar stools and chairs, wooden paneling on the banquette seating, a wooden bar top, wooden tables and a wooden backbar. Elsewhere walls are covered in old photos and vintage amaro and vermouth posters while large windows look out over a rear laneway and its mural created by local artist Allie Webb.
Come on a rainy day for the full effect of just how cosy this place can get.
Our favourite time to be at Alberto's is once the earlier dinner crowd has moved out. Drop by for whiskies, cocktails (classics done right) or a taste of Alberto's well-curated wine list which pours by the glass or the carafe as well as a more expansive bottle list. There's plenty of Italian grapes and regions to fit the theme but Vic and SA are shown equal love and there's nothing more joyous in this venue than to sit at the bar with an enormous glass of red and a plate or two from the talented kitchen, which throws out dishes such as salty, briny seafood pastas and bright peach and mozzarella salads.
They're open till 1am Thurs – Sat and DJs play 'throwback Euro' tunes on Sat and Sun so nab a spot and bulk order the carafes.
Alberto's has a relaxed service style, it's friendly yet unobtrusive. It's also a venue with bucket loads of soul, all helped with carbs on carbs and Martinis washed down with Nebbiolo. A welcome addition to the Sydney scene – one helping the cause for late nights out in the city.