CBD cafe and aperitivo bar Sammy Junior doesn’t hide in the shadow of its older sibling, Maybe Sammy.
For one, it’s open for breakfast and presided over by Maybe Sammy co-owner and Spiritual Coffee founder Martin Hudak. He cut his teeth at London institution American Bar at The Savoy, and has earned international plaudits for his skill at merging coffee and spirits. Here, he’s combining the quality and know-how of Australian coffee with the European approach to drinking it – that means the coffee machines don’t stop at 3pm sharp: they keep on running right up ‘till close.
The house coffee blend is made from a rotating selection of international beans. It also gets deployed across a variety of coffee-infused cocktails. There’s the Coffee Negroni, which introduces a shot of coffee liqueur to the classic cocktail. The Espresso Martini is done frappé style, made with rum instead of vodka, and garnished with sea salt and cacao nibs.
The rest of the cocktail menu is concise, with a focus on consistency and speed. In keeping with the “junior” theme, the cocktails are all half-serves (100 millilitres each).
The all-day food menu includes toasted banana bread, topped with ricotta, honey and sea salt. At lunch, the prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato panini is the way to go. After 5pm, the focus switches to aperitivo-style dishes (including oysters and salumi).
Architect George Livissianis (The Apollo, Cho Cho San, The Dolphin Hotel, Cafe Paci) is known for creating knockout venues, and at Sammy Junior he’s done it again, creating an elegant space reminiscent of a European coffee house. The pistachio palette is anchored by a sensational central terrazzo bar that serves as both a 10-person communal table and a service counter. Those wanting privacy can retreat to the green banquettes that frame the back wall, or casually pull up one of the custom-made Thonet chairs.