VIDEO: Celebrating an icon, the Sydney Harbour Cocktail Cabinet

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‘At long last, my Sydney Harbour Cocktail Cabinet is finished’, exclaims NSW woodworker and all-round artist Michael Gill. The cabinet is Michael’s magnum opus, a true masterpiece of fine design and hand-wrought craftsmanship.

Created over a 36 year period, the Art Deco inspired cabinet is a tribute to Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge, reimagined into a highly ornate and highly functional five-metre long island bar. Extensive inlays and mosaics depict the Harbour foreshore and landmarks.


Beginnings and endings: Michael Gill and Chris Payne in 1987 when work on the Cabinet began, and now in 2023 at completion.

From its detailed hand drawings through to traditional joinery and elaborately decorated surfaces, the Cabinet has been a journey in more than one way. Over the years, Michael and partner Chris Payne have had 11 different workshops, all rented. ‘We moved the damn thing around five times when we were younger and stronger, but it’s a terribly heavy thing to move around’, he said. Living in rural NSW brought its challenges as annual bushfire seasons approached. The cabinet had to be evacuated and stored elsewhere during the Black Summer bushfires, Michael said. ‘The fire subsequently came to within 400 metres of our gate...’

With storage for hundreds of glasses, bottles and related accessories the Sydney Harbour Cocktail Cabinet is intended to work for its living, and is now for sale.

Learn more in the video below.

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