Have yourself a swingin’ time down on Foveaux.
You might have trudged up Foveaux Street in Surry Hills a thousand times, but chances are you’ve missed a brand new bar completely inspired by the Fonz. You heard us. Fonzarelli’s, Surry Hills’ newest bar dedicated to perpetually thumbs-upping Happy Days hero Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, takes cues from classic 1950s America with vintage booths, a jukebox and — something Sydney’s genuinely needing more of — a swingin’ dancefloor.
Owner Eddie Venneri (ex-Frankie’s) is the brains behind this Fonzie-inspired den of nostalgia. When we dropped in for a stickybeak, Eddie greeted us in well-worn Levi’s, white crew neck t-shirt, and a charm not seen since the Fonz himself. He guides us past an original 1950s vintage café racer, strategically perched to pique interest from passersby. We wander past the jukebox, past the pinny (pinball machine), the dancefloor, and down to the romantic, snug booths of this twin level bar. “The concept comes from the cars, the fashion, the guitars, and the music,” says Eddie. “I’ve always had a passion for the era.”
Eddie’s hospitality background is studded with some of Sydney’s most authentic bars, especially those with a nostalgic American-Italian edge. Having managed CBD basement favourite Frankie’s Pizza since its opening in 2012, Eddie knows that the devil is in the detail. “If you’ve got to choose a concept, you must move people from A-Z. You must provide an experience that draws people to that place in time. No longer in Sydney, they are in 1950s Milwaukee.”
Set over two levels, Fonzarelli’s features a full bar and kitchen, offering classic American food by Fernando Rodriguez of Barbecue Buddies notoriety. Downstairs sees full tray service by era-appropriate-clad servers. Upstairs will be full bar service and space for a dancefloor for all the cool cats to get swingin’. “We’ve been open for two minutes and we’ve already got people dancing,” says Eddie.
We expect this heavily-themed hangout to appeal to Sydneysiders who remember the era, bartenders who love the era, and students of AIM Institute who want to experience the era in the middle of Sydney. Go on, pull up a pew and “sit on it”.
Find Fonzarelli’s at 65/67 Foveaux St, Surry Hills. Open Wednesday to Sunday 5pm-midnight.
Images: Steven Woodburn.