Tim Philips, Adi Ruiz and Robb Sloan are three guys I’ve looked up to since I started bartending. I worked under Ruiz and proudly call him a mentor, while Sloan and Philips were guys I looked up to as their careers evolved and diverged.
Ruiz has held court at some of Australia’s best, including Ginger and SweatShop at Seamstress in Melbourne. Sloan recently came from an ambassadorial role for Diageo’s premium Reserve brands portfolio, while Philips has had stints at Milk & Honey London, a brief stint in the New York and Chamonix outposts and recently Ivy’s Level 6. He was also just crowned winner of the world’s most prestigious cocktail competition, beating thousands of entrants from around the world to become World Class Bartender of the Year. Ruiz came third a couple of years ago. And, at some stage during their careers, they’ve all worked at Melbourne’s Black Pearl.
With their established pedigree, it’s fair to say that the expectations for this bar were high. And having been on the front line of innovation for a vast amount of time, the concept was sure to be more evolved than simply opening the doors and making drinks.
The interior traces a reclaimed industrial vibe that welcomes all, with banquette seating, stools and chairs that invoke comfort and casualness. The space is small and purposely so; the concept dictates that personal service is required and it simply wouldn’t work in a space any bigger.
As for the drinks, it’s a bold and brave concept that sets this bar apart. Selecting fresh produce daily from the markets, they shape these ingredients into classic drink recreations. This gives you a good frame of reference for what you are drinking before totally redefining how you feel about the drink. I cite the mango daiquiri as the critical game changer. Mango pureed freshly on a daily basis takes incredible prep time and this fruit doesn’t juice itself.
As for the concept, they allow the produce to dictate how it is applied. It may be that a classic is the most appropriate vessel, but as Ruiz states, “it’s not about correctitude”.
“We let the produce dictate the drink. We’ll apply it to classics or modern drinks.”
The prices remain reasonable and provide a huge contrast to the overpriced, pre-packaged drinks that litter the more glamorous spaces of the city’s cocktail landscape. For those less inclined to drink cocktails, they make the perfect G&T, rotate wines constantly and entertain a delicious selection of sparklings, from accessible up to some vintage Krug. And just in case, they’re looking at some Chateau d’Yquem for the high rollers.
There are no gimmicks and liquid nitrogen has no place here. Flavourful drinks speak for themselves, although you do get a good serving of banter from three of the best in the game. If you’re inclined to snack while you drink, there are plans to put charcuterie and cheese platters on the menu, courtesy of nearby Tapavino.
Bulletin Place is a blend of simplicity and perfection, bought to you by passionate industry professionals. It will set new standards in the city’s drinking culture and should be at the top of your list every time you need a perfect drink.
First floor, 10–14 Bulletin Place, Sydney
Mon to Sat 4pm–midnight