Sydney is a city obsessed with coffee, and Benjamin Sweeten knows this better than anyone. He's behind Kansas City Shuffle, and his new venture is located next door. It's called Tuxedo, and it's the city's first bar dedicated to Espresso Martinis.
“I just love coffee,” says Sweeten. “I already have a cafe, and so I thought, I'm going to create a bar full of everything I love next door – and I love Espresso Martinis.”
Housed in the former Cadbury chocolate factory, Tuxedo's fit-out features exposed brick, bare light bulbs and huge steel girders. A pool table dominates one end of the room and a neon sign proclaims “we're not in Kansas anymore”. Also prominent is plenty of golf paraphernalia – a tribute to Sweeten's favourite pastime.
Tuxedo has opened with seven different Martini options. Impatient drinkers can order an Espresso Martini on tap (it’s also cheaper), but the freshly concocted version uses carefully selected ingredients. “Our base Espresso Martini has Single Origin coffee, vodka and Mr Black [cold-drip coffee liqueur], so it’s super-clean, super-tasty,” says Sweeten. “We've also got a dirty Espresso Martini, which uses cold-drip coffee.”
For a bit of variation, try a rum-based Espresso Martini with Frangelico and chocolate liqueur, or a sweeter number with amaretto, or the decaf version. There's also a nod to the building's past – a Cadbury Chocolate Martini made with milk, chocolate liqueur, chocolate syrup and vodka.
For beer lovers, there's Black Mamba, an espresso-based brew made by Young Henrys. It's on tap, alongside the brewery's lager and Newtowner ale. The wine list of Australian, French and Italian drops has 12 by the glass and double that number by the bottle.
Sweeten has designed a food menu of retro snacks and a few favourites from his cafe. “The food is an extension of Kansas City Shuffle. Obviously, being Lebanese, I wanted to have hummus, but there's lots of American things in there as well,” he says. That includes smoked beef-brisket tacos, shrimp cocktails and chicken-liver parfait. For dessert, there's Mr Black espresso tiramisu.
Sweeten is treating the first month as a soft launch. At this point the bar is only open until 7pm but there are plans to stay open till later. Only the first 50 people to arrive after 5pm will be let in during this period.
Mon to Fri noon–7pm