Vintage Travel Kat
Reign by Damian Flanagan

Champagne at Reign

The fittingly-named Reign bar in Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria Building is a stylish oasis in one of the city’s most popular heritage buildings. 

Walking along the ornately-tiled corridors of the QVB, we pass a gentleman in a suit playing a black grand piano – a dash of sophistication within this royally-named Sydney landmark.

At Reign, we take our seat in a prime position by the grand arched windows overlooking George and Druitt streets. Not only can I see the sandstone steps and clock tower of the historic Sydney Town Hall building; but the bronze statue of Queen Victoria herself sits beneath us, making us indeed feel like royalty watching the tourists below and bustling after-work crowd scatter like ants among the streets. My tip – reserve a table by the windows if you can.

Interestingly, the Queen Victoria statue was created in 1908 in Dublin and was transported to Sydney in 1986 for the grand re-opening of the Queen Victoria Building.

Reign Champagne Bar Sydney by Damian Flanagan
Reign Bar Sydney at the QVB. Image: Damian Flanagan.

The interiors are light, bright and feminine. I’m seated on a low dusky pink fabric chair with chrome legs in front of a marble-top table. Around us, seated on a mix of chairs, bar stools, high top tables and tan poufs are groups of friends, couples and after-work colleagues of various ages, taking advantage of ‘The Royal Hour’ from 5-7pm. Staff are busy at the long counter shaking rose-gold cocktail shakers – perhaps making for guests one of their renowned concoctions which includes The Hummingbird and the di Nonancout among the favourites.

Our sommelier Kyle talks us through the drinks list. With more than 150 champagnes and sparkling wines on the menu, bubbles are definitely the order of the day as far as I’m concerned. Sparkling wines come from not only the top producers in France’s Champagne region, but also rare boutique drops from craft producers. You can taste drinks by the glass or sample a Champagne Flight.

Katrina Holden at Reign Champagne Bar Sydney by Adam Davy
Katrina Holden at Reign bar, Sydney. Image: Adam Davy

We opt for the Producer Spotlight Tasting Flight which changes regularly and includes four 75ml tastings.

The nibbles menu has a fairly extensive selection – including oysters, smoked salmon, kingfish and beef cheek. We sample the beef sliders on fluffy, pillowy rolls with a spicy sauce; goat cheese tortellini, watercress pesto, black olives, cherry tomatoes; and duck liver mousse served with house-made chive crumpets (we were presented with more crumpets to finish off our paté).

For dessert, we finish with donuts, honey, yoghurt, cinnamon, star anise and pistachio; and coffee served elegantly with sugar cubes gold teaspoons – a little touch of the royal-life.

Reign Champagne Bar by Damian Flanagan
Reign Champagne Bar. Image: Damian Flanagan

Reign is not quite nightclub, not quite bar and not quite café – but quite possibly a merging of the best elements of all three. Queen Vic would surely give her royal seal of approval.

Reign 

Level One, Queen Victoria Building

455 George Street, Sydney (Druitt Street entrance)

This is an edited version of my story which first appeared on Vacations & Travel.

As a child, I wrote short stories, poetry and daydreamed about visiting exotic destinations dressed like a 1960s film star. I was able to realise some of my dreams over my career spanning more than 20 years in Australian publishing, working as the editor of Luxury Travel magazine, Vacations & Travel magazine and as editor of several drinks magazines. As a freelance writer, I've scribed for The Australian newspaper, T Magazine Australia (The New York Times), Escape (The Daily Telegraph), Delicious, Travel + Leisure Asia, Wine Selector, Wine Companion, Holidays with Kids and more. I founded Vintage Travel Kat in 2020, inspired to share stories of vintage-related travel, fashion and lifestyle with a fellow vintage-vibe tribe.

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