The downstairs space at Darlinghurst’s Bitter Phew has always been “a bit like a lost child”, according to owner Aaron Edwards. On busy nights it seated an overflow of Bitter Phew patrons, at other times it was used for events.
“When we first opened, it didn’t really have an identity… [so] about two years ago, we decided to give it a proper rebrand,” Edwards tells Broadsheet.
Meet Hank’s. It has a no-fuss, warehouse-style vibe with its dark wooden ceiling beams and decorative fairy lights. Edwards, who’s also the brains behind Creek and Cella and the now-closed Doris and Beryl’s, hopes Hank’s will become “that regular place that you can turn up to, get some good food, get some good drinks and meet people”.
“As boring as that sounds, Hank’s the guy you trust and who’s always got your back.”
To match that attitude, bar manager Lou Dare (Charlie Parker’s, Employees Only and Burrow Bar) has created a solid cocktail list that’s dictated by seasons and hyperlocal foraged ingredients. “You might come in on a Wednesday and the cocktail could be completely different by Saturday, depending on the ingredients,” Edwards says.
Signature cocktails include the Sydney Spritz, featuring a “driveway” vermouth made in collaboration with Ziggy’s Wildfoods using weeds foraged from Sydney’s inner-western suburbs. And the Cassowary combines rye whiskey with native citrus marmalade, and macadamia and sandalwood orgeat. There’s also the bar’s take on classics, including its house Martini with South Australia’s 23rd Street Distillery gin and Adelaide Hills Distillery vermouth.
In the same vein as the cocktail list, the wine menu is a mix of local and international minimal-intervention, sustainably farmed varieties. Vinden Estate from the Hunter Valley, Bowral’s Ari’s Natural Wine and the French label Jean Bouteille are a few names you’ll find on that list. Hank’s is also brewing its own beers – including the First Round Pale Ale and the Shotgun Lager – available both on tap and in tinnies.
Taking care of the food menu is Edwards’s long-time chef friend Anthony Lot (Alberto’s, 10 William St and Hong Kong’s highly regarded Belon). The pizzas are the highlight. Edwards describes them as a hybrid of Roman and Neapolitan styles, with a “nice, big, fluffy crust but with still a little bit of crunch and structure”.
They’re a mix of old classics – such as the margherita and Lot’s take on an American-style pepperoni with sopressa and mushroom – as well as more out-there options such as the ’njuda, ricotta, kale and honey. Alongside the pizzas are a number of snackable dishes, including deep-fried pickled artichokes, an octopus salad and Venetian-style meatballs.
Wed to Sat 5pm–12am