From the architect: 

The Doss House, Sydney's newest whisky bar, showcases bespoke, crafted spaces paying homage to the building’s past as an opium den, gambling house, bootmaker and boarding house dating back to the 1840s.

The design draws upon the rich, bustling commercial and maritime development of The Rocks precinct, capturing the contradictions of refinement and larrikinism so prevalent in Sydney’s history.

Comprising four underground rooms and two light filled courtyards, the boutique basement bar showcases custom-designed whisky cabinets with wall-to-wall, rich American oak joinery. The history remains with exposed sandstone, original fireplaces and hardwood ceilings forming the backdrop to the space, complemented with tanned antique leather furniture.


Maintaining the integrity of the Heritage-listed building forged a path for the design with no wall fixings, protective floor layers and all detailing preserving the original fabric of the site.

Working with such a significant building structure, the palette of the bar is centred around respecting the methods of construction typical of the period. Brass detailing, textured timbers and warm diffused lighting over textured tapestries accentuate and enrich the historically layered spaces, while retaining and respecting the building’s 172 year heritage.


Noting a trend towards smaller venues with customers seeking a slower pace and unique experience, the process required a return to craft. People are taking time to educate, experience and appreciate their surrounds more. With so much tradition steeped in both the making and the drinking of whisky, we let this timeless tradition and the building’s rich history pave the way for the evolution of the space.

Brazen sandstone walls whisper stories of long ago with the dark timber floors carrying voices through the decades. A rich warmth exudes through the space with antique mirrors, velvet banquettes and chesterfield sofas. The past brings us to the present, so we may sit, sip, and connect with friendly faces here and now.