It takes a lot to get me over the Bridge. Actually, I lie. The promise of fun, colourful cocktails and yummy food, and I’m there. SoCal has all this in spades, and very much worth a jaunt to the North Shore.
A taste of Southern California
For those who haven’t worked it out already, SoCal is short for Southern California. This should give you a big hint as to what to expect from this Neutral Bay eatery that’s part restaurant, part bar. Everything’s inspired by the golden state, from the décor to the menu, and is as close as you’ll get to Venice Beach without jumping on a jet plane.
The entrance to SoCal might be unassuming from the street, but walk up the stairs and you’re greeted by a brightly-coloured fun house that instantly puts you in a good mood. There’s palm trees, colourful festoon lighting and a coastal paint palette throughout this indoor-outdoor venue. Sit perched at a high table inside or relax back in the half-exposed rooftop courtyard lapping up some sun.
If the fiesta feels fail to put a smile on your face, then head to the bar (helpfully signposted ‘bar’ – because the wall of liquor doesn’t give it away). You can’t help but flash a grin when you see the extensive cocktail list, with everything from jalapeno-infused tequila concoctions to smoked cocktails. As you’d expect, the tequila list is also longer than the Apple line-up on iPhone release day.
Taco lovers unite
The menu at SoCal is a mix of Southern California and Mexican share plates, loading up the table with the likes of tequila salmon, smoked beef brisket and an assortment of tacos. We ordered more plates than I could count, and I didn’t regret any of them, all coming out of the kitchen at a ridiculous speed.
The highlight for me is the BBQ corn. I’m a sucker for charred corn and SoCal’s smoked cheese-topped version doesn’t disappoint – and dripping in chipolte, you’re going to want to hope it’s cheat day.
A bottomless rose lunch? Feck yes!
I just love that SoCal do a bottomless rosé lunch! It’s just grape. For $65pp, you get endless flowing rosé or rosé sangria for two hours. Along with a lunch of tacos, corn chips, guacamole, ceviche and more.
The only catch is that there needs to be four of you to partake. But, I’m pretty sure if you get desperate you can convince some peeps walking along Military Road that their day would be better with rosé.
SoCal’s bottomless rosé lunch is available every Friday, Saturday AND Sunday, from 12–4pm.
SoCal doesn’t disappoint. It’s reliable, enjoyable and ok value for money (as we all know, this is hard to find in Sydney). And, from the team behind The Butler in Potts Point and Bondi Hardware in Bondi, you wouldn’t expect otherwise. To top it off, the staff are like old mates – friendly and happy-to-go-out-of-their-way helpful.
There’s no mistaking that this is a place where you’re supposed to (and will) have fun.
SoCal | 1 Young Street, Neutral Bay, New South Wales
Phone: (02) 9904 5691