Sydney’s bar scene has matured. The beer barns of old have been replaced by small, specialised drinking dens. Some serve food; others craft their own soda and still others recall the 1944 liberation of Paris, complete with Champs Elysees cocktail.
It had to happen: craft sodas. Yes, the mixers – those things that make your favourite cocktails possible – have gone specialist. Think Wattle Cola, Smoked Lemonade and Bush Tonic with native lemongrass and lemon myrtle. They’re the backbone of this soft-drink factory that supplies restaurants and Archie Rose Distilling Co. and keeps drinkers at its 60-seat cocktail bar very happy. How could you not smile when presented with the refreshing Jean Claude Pandan made with pandanus-infused rum, pineapple, coconut water, whey and Ceylon- tea spice mix?
40 King Street, Sydney
So you’ve been looking everywhere for a bar with a theme based on the 1944 liberation of Paris but just haven’t found one? Well, luckily there’s Kittyhawk, the sibling of Clarence Street’s The Lobo Plantation. Rye and rum cocktails rule amid the military paraphernalia; order the Rye & Ginger with housemade ginger beer, pineapple and lime then hum La Marseillaise.
16 Phillip Lane, Sydney; 0437 233 009
Tucked within the French fin-de-siècle juggernaut known as Restaurant Hubert, this bar is a way to sidestep the tyrannical bookings backlog as well as a destination in its own right. Expect snappy bartenders and snappier drinks – such as the Hubert Pastis Fizz with Cognac, cream and honey – in surroundings that demand your best shoes.
15 Bligh Street, Sydney; (02) 9232 0881
This Must Be The Place
Opened by two award-winning bartenders, this Scandi-schmick joint naturally takes its cocktails very seriously. Only five spritzes (for example, Indian Summer made with perry, chai spice, rosé, Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey and plum vinegar) and four cocktails (such as Coffee & Cigarettes, a mix of coffee-infused Tanqueray, Aperol, Campari, Lillet Blanc and amaretto) are on the list at any one time but the TMBTP bar staff are always happy to take requests.
239 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst; (02) 9331 8063
Top image: PS40