Double Deuce Lounge
If there’s one thing Sydney seems to love, it’s walking down a flight of stairs to get a drink. Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza, Stitch, Employees Only, Palmer & Co and Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern all put your quads to work before they put a cocktail in your hand.
Double Deuce Lounge comes courtesy of the three founder of Ramblin' Rascal Tavern (who met working at Baxter Inn). So it's little wonder that it too is an underground beverage dispensary.
Beneath an unoccupied restaurant space on Bridge Street (formerly Bouche on Bridge), Double Deuce Lounge – named after the dive bar in the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie Road House – is the second venue from the crew behind Rascal, which has remained one of the CBD’s most popular bars since its opening in 2014.
Where Rascal offers – in co-founder Charlie Lehmann’s words – a “five-star dive-bar experience”, Double Deuce presents a cocktail lounge dripping with “’70s porn chic”, complete with an intimate, furry-walled “kissing booth”. A cosy plush lounge with leather-lined booths, moody lighting and plenty of blond timber complete the look. While “porn chic” is only a loosely guiding aesthetic concept, you might find a framed vintage Playboy cover or two appearing on the walls.
There’s a 10-drink cocktail list of original creations concocted by head bartender Oliver Churchill (Bulletin Place, Dead Ringer), as well as subtle plays on old classics. (Lehmann hints at a Cosmopolitan “that we’ve twisted up”.)
Beer comes exclusively in cans, and while Rascal’s “shit tinny” (anything from VB to Tooheys New) won’t make it to Bridge Street, Lehmann promises at least one easy-drinking lager. Wines have been selected in collaboration with Enmore’s P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants; the 16-strong list combines a few of the natural bottles for which the wine retailer is known with some retro classics.
Just as retro but far less cheesy is the funk and soul soundtrack, pumping artists like Curtis Lee Mayfield, Gladys Knight, Herbie Hancock and Otis Redding.