Trailblazing Darlinghurst cocktail bar Eau de Vie closed its doors in 2020 after a decade of five-star service and cocktail innovation. But the Speakeasy Group (Mjolner, Pearl Diver Cocktails and Oysters, Eau De Vie Melbourne) hinted its groundbreaking bar would return in a new location one day.

That moment arrived almost three years later, when Eau De Vie reopened in the basement of Beneficial House, a heritage 1930s Georgian revival building in the CBD.

Despite sharing staff, the odd bottle of whisky and the same speak-easy-style entrance as The Sanderson upstairs, Eau de Vie is a distinct venue. But being below a restaurant does have its perks – snack on arancini with smoked scamorza and red wine caramel, or lamb croquettes with saffron aioli. Have some loose change kicking around? The golden oscietra caviar should take care of it. A range of charcuterie, cheeses and tinned fish are available at all hours.

At the end of the day, Eau de Vie is still primarily a place for wetting the whistle. More than 500 whiskies fill the back bar alone – along with a line-up of spirits including tequila, rum and gin. The cocktail menu rightfully includes Eau de Vie hall-of-famers such as the Smokey Rob Roy, the Espresso Zabaione, and the Old Fashioned, served blazed or cold. The rest of the list is inspired by famous bartenders and drinkers of the prohibition era. There are over 37 signature cocktails, and the team can whip up any classic you can think of.

Eau de Vie 2.0 isn’t a shot-for-shot remake of its predecessor, but the vibe feels very similar, like a different room in the same house. A long banquette, upholstered in caramel-coloured velvet, runs along one wall, joined by a row of dark leather booths and a handful of bar-side stools. The back room, which is available for private hire, also houses Eau de Vie’s whisky lockers, where Sydney’s most avid dram fans can store and purchase rare single malts.

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Updated: October 13th, 2023

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