Papa J’s is Cronulla’s new lounge bar inspired by old-world glitz & glamour

While Sydney’s been getting plenty of new bars this year, building up a strong post-2020 scene that feels refreshing and exciting, not much new has popped up outside of the typical haunts. Cronulla muscles into the scene with the launch of a new art deco bar called Papa J’s. Part of a small family that includes Jensens Restaurant in Kareela and fellow Cronulla restaurant Summer Salt, the new bar comes from co-owner and Executive Chef Carl Jensen who has already been well established as part of The Shire’s colourful patchwork of hospitality institutitions.

Under the newly renovated Hoyt’s Cinema, Papa J’s is hinged on a romantic bygone era, borrowing some of that cinematic flair with a backlit cocktail bar that has designs on being the space’s perennial scene-stealer. And why wouldn’t it be? The green curtained bar has been inspired by vintage Las Vegas and Miami, throwing up something in Cronulla adds greatly to the area’s underrated social scene.

The rest of the space glows under a gilded ceiling, with smart pops of light reflected off sinuous velvet banquettes, green marble finishes, and a moody fireplace that flanks the entry. Various arches are used to add incredible warmth and dimension to the venue, appropriately building a grand profile that should easily let Cronulla locals and visitors know that this is a place with pure, unadulterated star power.

Just to double down on the vibe, Frank Sinatra is one repeat at the bar, which also serves up food helmed by ex-BoRN at Tapavino chef Jon Berry. The pre- and post- film crowd should especially get a kick out of the fact that they can eat much, much better than their typical movies snacks if they head down the Papa J’s. Think pan-fried king prawns with miso butter, crispy pork belly san chow with sticky caramel, and menu sections dubbed “cheese & things”, “late night things”, and “the finer things.”

The bar will be diverse with the drinks it serves, but the wisest choice will invariably be a cocktail. After all, bar manager Josh Metcalfe has patented clear diamond ice cubes and a unique ice cube mould in Australia, allowing the mixology here to take on a more experimental approach and adding a dimension to the art that many cocktail bars typically brush over. Undoubtedly this will mean a big range of cocktails regularly rotating across the bar menu.

Address: Shop 7, 2-6 Cronulla Street, Cronulla

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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