For some reason Nick’s Seafood on Bondi Beach always seemed empty. It had an aged 80s kind of feel and perhaps this is why people stayed away, which is crazy really because the location is spot on. You couldn’t get closer to the beach without being on it!
The Bucket List pop-up bar owners have done a wonderful job of reinventing the 80s cliched Nick’s into something much more Gen-Y plywood and very Bondi right now.
We go on a Monday night to avoid the weekend crush and to make sure we get a table, as you are not allowed in unless your backside is on a seat (licensing laws). The crowd tonight is mixed, some older, some younger and some of our mates on staffy drinks night.
We order at the bar from a barman who hasn’t yet learnt to smile yet, but has definitely been practicing his nonchalant and aloof Bondi cool look. Quite frankly, it wears a little thin. We order the Fish Cakes ($18), the 14 hour Pork Special ($26), some olives ($7), a Monteith’s Cider ($7.80) and a Corona ($8.80).
As we wait for the food we take in the beautiful surrounds. How could you not love it here? Relaxing back on the very comfortable and deep banquette seats in oceany hues of blue, aqua and green; drinking crispy cold beer; watching joggers run on the beach – it’s a little piece of paradise really.
Our meal arrives promptly and is accompanied by a beautifuil Swedish smile in shorty shorts. The olives are warmed through slightly and are deliciously oily and served in the cutest little bucket! The fish cakes are wonderful with fishy chunks and a crispy golden crumb on the outside; partnered with a thinly sliced fennel salad which is fresh and zingy.
The 14 hour Pork special is moderate. Either the cut of meat is incorrectly chosen, or they haven’t cooked it for the full 14 hours as the meat, whilst nicely flavoured, is a bit dry and not really of the falling apart variety. The accompanying yellow zucchini and mushy pea salad is lovely, bright and colourful.
Having seen the tempura fish and chips served in white chippy paper in a bucket, we kinda wish we’d ordered that instead! I think this one would be a winner!
There are several zones within the Bucket List. The front area nearest the beach is open air with fixed white umbrellas and coloured party lights. The perimeter is wrapped by continuous slatted timber banquette seats with cushions in watery hues. Long timber benches are great for large groups whilst clusters of striped deck chairs and plywood topped milk crates accommodate smaller gatherings.
Indoors the ceilings are slatted timber ceiling panels with concrete floors and warm lighting. The main table is long and has a bucket feature light above, which reminds me a little of a beer hall gone costal.
Similarly, buckets hang from above the bar which stocks most of the normal fair. Take note that all the wines, no matter which variety, are $9/glass and $45/bottle. This seems a little steep if you ask me, but then, you almost have the sand between your toes so… ??
The front indoor area is surrounded by a curved glass frontage with the cute Bucket List graphics in white. Bags a table here to make the most of the stunning views to the ocean.
This would be a fantastic place for a drink in summer with a few friends, be it in a large group or for a small catch up. As far as the ‘pop-up’ goes, rumour on the street is that The Bucket List is now here to stay – which is wonderful news for all those wishing to while away a few hours in comfort without the sandy toes.
LOVIN’: The front outdoor area.
NOT LOVIN’: The Pork.
BRING: Anyone. Watch out for the crowds on the weekends.
HOW MUCH: $$$$$
WHERE: Bondi Pavillion, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
WHEN: 11am – midnight every day.
CONTACT: (02) 9365 4122
Also check out the Gourmantic review here.