Partying till the small hours in a fuggy, sweaty room to beats by some of Sydney’s best DJs was once de rigueur at The Abercrombie, the old-school boozer on the corner of Abercrombie Road and Broadway in Chippendale. It closed in 2014, bringing an end to the pub’s legendary parties, hosted by the likes of Purple Sneakers and SASH.

But late last year, the notorious drinking hole reopened with a new owner: hospitality group Solotel (The Courthouse, Bank Hotel, Goros). And while the public bar is bringing the late-night blowouts back, it’s next-door wine shop and bar Lil Sis that might be catching the attention of the older punters who partied at The Abercrombie a decade ago.

It’s a far cry from the Abercrombie of old which, Solotel CEO Elliot Solomon tells Broadsheet, was “very run-down and very charming, and a stalwart of indie sleaze late-night partying”.

Set within two 19th-century terraces, Lil Sis is a charming riff on the caves a vin (wine cellars) of Paris. Punters can shop bottles from a global array of producers whose focus is on sustainability and making biodynamic and organic wines. They’re all hand-chosen by Zoe Brunton, Monopole’s former head sommelier.

“We focus on … winemakers that are passionate [about] their terroir and make wine that speaks of their place,” says Brunton. “Most of the wines will be by the glass for those wanting to venture through and explore. We want the list to be fun, approachable, and diverse in its offering.”

Visitors can pick up a bottle of Lucy Margaux fizz or Dormilona rosé to take home or to a dinner party. But they can also park up at a communal table in the ground-floor shop, surrounded by shelves and fridges of wine, or on a leather banquette in the upstairs bar, where DJs spin French-inspired lounge disco tracks till late.

The retro-chic upstairs bar – with its geometric wooden tables and a ’60s-inspired brown and orange colour palette – is the perfect spot to hole up for snacks and a couple of bottles. Go light with a gilda (skewered olive, lemon, anchovy and guindilla) or Ortiz anchovies with warm sourdough, or hit the cheese and charcuterie menus, which include Pino’s saucisson sec, sliced-to-order LP’s hot salami cotto, Vanella ricotta and Maffra cheddar. For a truly ideal drinking food, opt for the Heinz spaghetti and cheddar jaffle. Bonus? You can snack till midnight most nights.

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Updated: February 10th, 2024

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