Bar, Sydney


Watching Underbelly, you’d be forgiven for walking through the Cross, eyes wide with intrigue at the hookers and smack addicts, placing hefty back story’s on the characters that fill the streets and wondering which of the younger doormen is thinking about making a move and becoming the next King of the Cross. The media seems to want this myth of the Cross to be perpetuated, with stories talking about the back alley underhand dealings that go on.

Don’t be seduced too much by this story though, you’ll miss an importnat change that’s going on. The cross is moving up market, gentrifying if you will. LL, just down Llankelly Place, is a little gem that represents the forefront of this coming small bar revolution.

Tucked down an alley that very recently was not the safest route to walk home at night, at an address famous for peddling smut and illegal gambling, LL is setting the bar for new entrants, bringing a little of Dragon-i in Hong Kong south for the winter. The docr inside features a couple of little gems from the past, and I’ve heard rumours of a slightly more crazy room out the back as well.

The cocktail list nods to a Bacardi deal, with Bombay & 42 featuring heavily. The Dragon Eye, made birds eye chili infused 42 is an on the rocks standout. Probably not a bar for a night long romp through the classics, but the Negroni was turned out well.

The food is worth more than one visit, the soft shell crab a must. Dumplings, Beef Fillet and the Fried Tofu were also great.

I’m stoked that this change has come to the hood. LL is a comfortable, friendly joint where you can chat to the owners while you’re waiting for your companions to arrive. Top marks for providing a relaxed and fun service too.

Llankelly Pl, Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 9356 8393

On Google Maps here.

Bar, Sydney


Goldfish was a bar I always used to walk past, but never went in. Positioned at the intersection of Victoria, Bayswater and Darlinghurst Rd, the Goldfish was always on the way, but never my destination. After meeting Noriel at Cocktail World Cup, I decided it was time to give it a go.

A large island bar dominates the room, but you can break with tradition and pull up a barstool without too many raised eyebrows. 6pm on a Friday is obviously not the boom time for this bar, but a steady stream of people came through the doors, ordering beers, wines and the occasional Mai Tai. A smart cage keeps the smokers in the bar, while keeping the Cross out.

I tried the Tuxedo and a cocktail whipped me up featuring Chivas 18 to match the cherries, which are worth a visit on their own. A Diffordesque secret recipe made them taste even better.

The 49% off between 6-8 everyday bar Saturday would be a smart destination for any punter. Also with the loss of the Bayswater, Goldfish might be the best drink in the Cross proper, sadly.

I should have tried here earlier and I’ll definitely be back.

111 Darlinghurst Rd, Potts Point NSW 2011‎ – (02) 8354 6666‎

On Google Maps here.

Bar, Sydney

Eau de Vie

It has to be said. I have a new favourite bar in Sydney. It has no view, it is in the back of a boutique hotel, it delivers one of the best service experiences I’ve had anywhere, ever. It’s name is Eau de Vie.

Tom Bullock in his 1918 book, The Ideal Bartender, put it very simply:

“It is proper, when a person steps up to the bar, for a bartender to set before him a glass of ice water, and, then, in a courteous manner, find out what he may desire”

Under these terms, this is very much a proper bar.

On my arrival I sat at the bar, was greeted but a solid tumbler of clean, icy water and asked for my choice. Possessing a strong love of cocktails as I do, I read the list and and accepted the barkeeps recommendation of the Crusta as an appropriate start to an evenings experimentation. The drink is typical of Eau de Vie, exceptionally well made, perfectly balanced, nodding to the classics but with its own, modern twist. The Crusta swapped Havana Club Rum for the more traditional brandy, with muddled pineapple as well.

Once you’ve made a start, the list offers much to keep you interested. The Countessa, a re imagined Negroni with Aperol, served up in an exquisite coupe, on the side a half time slice of orange, dusted with Campari powder and caramelized with a blowtorch behind the bar. The Hendricks Tea Party pairs the uniquely unusual taste of Hendricks gin with black tea and juices, served in the teacup martinis the brand has made famous and mixed in a large teapot, it’s a great drink for a crew of people to share and can be made accordingly. Magarita Con Palomitas, a well made margarita finished with a popcorn salt is a standout to those of you with a penchant for Mexico’s very own spirit. The Dark’n’Stormy is world class. Homemade ginger beer lifts the drink from a rum lovers’ standard to an exceptional zinging experience. Thanks to @MyffyRigby for the heads up.

While there were other drinks enjoyed at my table, I wasn’t lucky enough to get a taste. Frankly, I’m glad of the opportunity to go back. The Scotch Sazerac will be high on my list when i do too…

A couple of other reasons to get yourself along to the bar. A collection of shakers belonging to the proprietor, Sven Almenning, including the skyscraper and a great glass woman’s foot. The back bar is unreal, 24 tequilas and plenty of stuff I’ve not seen the likes of, plus a healthy collection of syrups, beakers, pipettes and equipment.

Trumping the drinks, the venue and the menagerie of bar equipment is Barry. Quite simply the best leader of a bar I’ve encountered. Flitting around the bar, talking serious drinks, arranging dinner reservations at restaurants that don’t take them and generally making sure everyone has an experience to be proud of.

I have no reservation in saying you need to visit this bar, ask for Barry. He’ll look after you.

Google Map here.

And their website is here. It’s not the world’s most impressive piece of digital technology, but the money really was better spent on glassware and Barry…

Bar, Restaurant, Sydney

Hugo’s Bar Pizza

Mojito - Photo by Foraggio Photo

Let’s face it, Bayswater road can be a bit hit and miss. Venues like the Bayz nestle beside crowds of extremely drunk tweens, calling anyone over the age of 23 ‘old mate’.

Walking through this can be a pain in the ass. Sitting on a comfortable seat, sipping a perfect mojito while tucking into and asparagus pizza on a gluten free base while watching aforementioned tweens making asses of themselves, however, can be an extremely fun experience.

Booking is advisable, but you can generally turn up before 7 and still get a seat outside. The seats on Bayswater Rd, right at the front are my pick for the view, but you’ll get attentive service wherever you sit.

On the Cocktail List, I really enjoyed the Spaghetti Western, a Havana Club negroni clone featuring aperol. The Peach Sidecar was also mighty fine, and as the photo on this post suggests, they do a good mojito.

The Pizza’s were perfected by Pete Evans, before he moved to Melbourne to concentrate on his new venue, The Pantry. He’s still the consulting chef, and his fresh stamp is still very much in evidence. Gluten free bases are available on all pizza’s for any of you that have friends in advertising who’re convinced they’ve got celiac disease.

A great place to meet a small group of friends for a bite and some good drinks.

33 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross.  (02) 9332 1227

On Google Maps here.

Bar, Beer, Sydney

The Sugarmill

sugarmill_extTucked under Kit & Kaboodle sits what I’m guessing is seen by many as the future. A well designed beer bar with ample outdoor seating in Sydney’s best known burb.

The bar runs right along the back wall, its easy and fast to get a beer, even when the numbers are getting up. Grab a couple of Fat Yaks and head outside to sit in the warm glow of gas heating, watching the junkies, ladies and street life.

The pizzas look pretty good too.

33-37 Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross 2011

02 9368 7333

Google Maps here.

Bar, Sydney

Kit & Kaboodle

Kit & Kaboodle

First of all, credit where it’s due. The Kit & Kaboodle website is a beauty. It shows a level of thought that most bars never even come close to. Despite the fact it seems a little light on pictures of the venue itself, it’s a fun and quirky good time. This, of course, begs the question: What’s the actual club like?

Walking through the colour of King’s Cross, a small roped off area and offical, clip board weilding woman under an old school cinema sign mark the entry to the venue. They do have a lot of special events, and it does seem a bit cold from the street, but chance your arm and have a go. Just to the left of the Sugar Mill, for those that can’t fathom my directions. climb the stairs to get to the action. First floor has the cocktail bar, all red and gold. I can’t really say more than that as I can’t remember being in there.

Picture 14

One more floor brings you to the supper club. A big room, that feels even bigger when it’s empty and a long bar running down the back wall. The staff are friendly and will help you out with table service if you need it. The guys behind the bar know how to mix a drink but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the style of the space masked a lack of real substance.

The cocktail list reads well, and I enjoyed the Biss Nonna, a tanqueray 10, sweet vermouth, maraschino and blood grapefruit concoction. I decided to try them out on a favourite drink of mine, the Corpse Reviver #2. No Lillet, and only a passing acquaintance with the drink didn’t really bode well. The finished product was ok, but i couldn’t help feeling a lack of love.

This is a fun place to hang on the smash with your mates, and ordering from the list offers its rewards, but in all honesty, the cocktails are better elsewhere. 6/10, 7 if its lucky.

33 – 37 Darlinghurst rd, Kings Cross (02) 9368 0300

here on Google Maps.

Bookmark and Share

Bar, Wine


img_v1479(cnr Baroda lane & Fitzroy Gardens)
50 Macleay StreetPotts PointNSW 2011, Australia

(02) 9357 1100

Google Map. 

Leave the Kings Cross train station, turning left on Darlinghurst. Walk past the hookers and the drunks, don’t accept the offer of a private show. When you get to the fountain at the end of the road, walk through the park, step over the junkies, ignore the garish frontage of Maggies and slip gracefully between the curtained entrance to Velluto.

This subtle, cozy bolthole serves an impressive array of Champange, from NV to cuvée de prestige, should you have money to spend on such wonderful things.

Warm, friendly and unobtrusive service, coupled with a good knowledge of their products ensures a quite special experience. 

I had a glass of the Brini Sebastian Shiraz 2005 which lived up admirably to its decadent billing. 

I’ll definitely be going back soon.

Bookmark and Share

Bar, Cocktail, Sydney

Jimmy Licks

jimmyliksOn the more salubrious side of Kings Cross station, Victoria St, sits Jimmy Licks; and so do I, propping up the long, thin bar, nursing a Madagascar.

A muddle of rum, blood orange, lemon, sake and campari and tuaca, this fruity filled number starts a need on my palate for Asian fare. Lemongrass and thai basil waft from the kitchen begging indulgence.

Update: the meal itself was phenomenal. The poached chicken salad i will dream about for coming weeks.

188 Victorian StPotts PointNSW 2011, Australia‎ – (02) 8354 1400

Google Map

Bookmark and Share

Bar, Cocktail, Sydney

The Bayswater Brasserie

The Bayz

32 Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross 2011

+61 2 9357 2177

Google Map.

If I’m honest this is probably my favorite bar in Sydney at the moment. You can sit at the bar and have a yarn to the bartender. Show an interest in the liquor and they’ll share it back. I should also disclose that Nigel Lacy is a mate I hold in high esteem.

The Bayz has had a cocktail list of note for quite a few years, I love it because the Corpse Reviver No.2 that i wrote about previously is featured on the list, plus the Clover Club. 

Nestled in amongst some of the trashiest pubs in the cross, the walk into the place regularly has all the comedy and drama you could possibly expect, with pilled out teens lying wasted across the sidewalk and road. The Bayz itself offers an oft glammed up crowd stamping regularly up and down the stairs between the bar and garden and the bathrooms. 

The bar is intimate, the restaurant exceptional and the back garden a smoker’s paradise in heavily regulated Sydney.

The bar is incredibly well stocked, with perhaps the best selection of Bourbons, Gins and Rums I’ve found so far.

Bookmark and Share