Normally a bar with “hotel” added to it gives off a vibe of being more expensive, more upscale, and generally more unenjoyable for us younger people to go out to on a Friday night. With this in mind, when I entered the AB Hotel I was completely confused: where were all the ridiculously overpriced drinks and condescending staff? Why was it totally the opposite of what I expected?
Sure, there were older people…but the vibe was completely backwards, starting with the decor. AB stands for the Ancient Briton Hotel, and has a cozy feel much like a heritage home would. The location has brick walls for that warm, inviting atmosphere and low key lighting (but still good enough for you to see the person you’re next to) provides it with that ‘nightlife’ look. The downstairs level is a little more well lit and lets you wine and dine in the evening, while the upstairs oozes with an aura of mystique and sultriness – perfect after you’ve had a few drinks! The best part of the entire place though has got to be the upstairs bar: the bench where the bartenders is not just a bench, it’s a bench-turned-fish-tank which provides for some great entertainment (whether drunk or sober) and means that you’ll always have something to look at while you’re waiting for your drinks.
On the note of bartenders, the staff at AB may be some of the coolest people I have ever met. With so many bars and nightclubs in Sydney, it really becomes difficult to set one apart from another and customer service is one of the few things that will draw people back. The bartender remembered my drink and promptly made me another one when I returned to the bar, and all of the staff have a genuinely ‘happy to be here’ look on their faces…and that makes me happy to be there.
Of course, AB is not the best place to go to dance with the strangers all night long. What it is great for though is a venue for a function: the design of the upstairs means it is completely catered to host a birthday or a hens night/bachelor party with ease. I attended an event there on a Friday night, and all that me and my friends could talk about was how we should hire the level out for one of our birthdays. It’s location is also great: being in Glebe means that the AB is only a few minutes away from Central for train stations, nightriders, or taxis.
Music of course is secondary in the lower level, but upstairs there is a corner and a dance floor (albeit, it’s not huge) if that’s where the night takes you. AB also holds trivia nights on Monday and Wednesday, and poker on Thursday and Sunday so it’s not just for those who want to party.
All in all, AB Hotel is a great spot for a quieter night or a function. Give it a go: you’ll probably be surprised too.