Two bartenders who have worked at two of the city's best cocktail bars are branching out on their own. Coming to King Street early next year is PS40, a new 60-seat cocktail bar that will also feature its own soda-making operation.
Michael Chiem and Thor Bergquist are behind PS40. Chiem most recently could be found behind the bar at Lobo Plantation and Bergquist at Circular Quay cocktail bar, Bulletin Place, where he worked for about three months. “We're setting it up as a cocktail bar, but there won't be a focus on any one spirit category – we're not going to be a rum bar or a tequila bar – we’re focusing on producing quality drinks,” says Chiem.
As well as alcoholic drinks, PS40 will specialise in drinks of the non-alcoholic variety. “In the bar, we're setting up what looks like a microbrewery,” Chiem says. “But instead of making beer, it will make our range of craft sodas.”
The drink range (called PS Soda) is currently in development – venues such as Archie Rose Distillery, Bennelong and Firedoor have used initial versions of the sodas. The full range – which will include flavours such as wattle cola, smoked lemonade and bush tonic – will be officially launched in February, following the arrival of a custom-built bottling machine from the US. “It will be a feature of the bar, you'll be able to see it working while you’re having a drink,” says Chiem. “The sodas will be available at the bar and we plan to sell them to other bars and restaurants.”
Housed in a heritage building with high ceilings and big windows, PS40's design will veer away from the dark, underground aesthetic of many bars in town. “It's going to be a new look for a bar. It is a very large, open space, so we want to make it very accessible, very welcoming. We want to get away from that basement feel,” says Bergquist.
The bar's food is still being developed, but the plan is for a menu featuring terrines, charcuterie and pickled produce.
PS40 will open in late January at 40 King Street in the CBD.