Sydney’s Getting A Pop-Up Bar That Literally Just Serves Different Kinds Of Water

We swear it's less pretentious than it sounds.

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Brought to you by the Art & About and the City of Sydney.

Themed and specialty bars have become something of a presence in Sydney over the last five or ten years. The guys behind Shady Pines, Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza have made their mark stocking bars with ridiculously comprehensive selections of certain liquors, while American-style diners, faux Prohibition-era saloons and painstakingly recreated Aussie pubs have sprung up like mould behind a leaky fridge.

But a new pop-up bar due to open its doors in February is taking the concept of the specialty bar several hundred kilometres past where everyone else thought the logical conclusion was. Part City of Sydney council project, part art installation, part extremely fancy drinking fountain, H2O: Water Bar in Paddington Reservoir Gardens is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: a tasting bar where the only thing on the menu is a bunch of different kinds of water, sourced from around the country.

It sounds like the latest Peak Sydney moment in the city that made Activewear a thing, but thankfully it’s a little more substantive than that. A joint project between Sydney artist Janet Laurence (who served as one of Australia’s representatives to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference) and the City of Sydney as part of the upcoming Art & About program, H2O aims to educate city-dwelling Sydneysiders about a precious resource that all too often gets taken for granted. In the age of climate change, rampant ocean pollution, and coal-seam gas and coal mining threatening groundwater and artesian water basins, water is increasingly becoming an endangered and vulnerable commodity, especially in the driest inhabited continent on Earth.

In that spirit, H2O is dovetailing its eyecatching premise with a bunch of events designed to get people more aware of Australia’s long, complex and often fraught history with water. The bar’s two-week lifespan includes a stack of panels featuring scientists, historians and campaigners from groups like Lock The Gate, several movie screenings, and performances from artists, musicians and poets — more than enough to pique some interest in a topic most people rarely give any thought to. And if none of that catches your eye, at least you know where to go in Sydney if you’re thirsty.

What: H2O: Water Bar (further info here)
When: Saturday, February 13 to Sunday, February 28
Where: Paddington Reservoir Gardens, 251-255 Oxford Street, Paddington

Brought to you by the Art & About and the City of Sydney.

Feature image by Helen White.