“If you can’t get to paradise, I’ll bring it to you,” read the words of tiki bar pioneer, Don the Beachcomber on the drinks menu at Jacoby’s. From the guys behind the nearby Earl’s Juke Joint comes a serious Enmore tiki bar.
“I wanted to create a place for people to drink sick wines and listen to the Dead Kennedys,” co-owner Pasan Wijesena tells Broadsheet. “I met up with Adrian Sanchez at Tiki-Ti in LA last year and after a few too many drinks we decided we had to bring something like this to Sydney.”
Taking its name from the tiki-infatuated psychiatrist, Dr Lawrence Jacoby from David Lynch’s (recently rebooted) series Twin Peaks, the bar pays homage to the nostalgia returning US servicemen had for long woozy nights in the Pacific.
Along with the tiki theme, low-intervention wines are a point of difference for Jacoby’s. Although we can’t imagine returning veterans sinking the stuff on the Sunset Strip in the ’30s and ’40s, tiki bars are practically made for uninhibited fun, for which natural wine is shorthand in 2017.
Red Stripe Lager – the entirely moreish Jamaican stalwart – is the only beer on tap, and the wine list begs to be imbibed more like cider than nursed contemplatively. Food will be limited to what’s especially good after midnight. Read: toasties.
Inflated puffer fish hang from Jacoby’s thatched bamboo ceiling and damask wallpaper sets the scene for light fittings that wouldn’t look out of place in an old motel off Waikiki. Bamboo-framed portraits line the walls and three gigantic tiki heads, carved by world-renowned tiki artist Marcus Thorn, keep watch over patrons from behind the Jarrah bar.
Beside a vast chocolate-leather booth, black-and-white chevron tiles and red velvet curtains provide a surreal journey to, of all places, the bathrooms. A canvas of palm tree silhouettes against a Caribbean sunset give another nod to the bar’s Lynchian namesake. “That’s as close to an exact replica of the painting in Jacoby’s office as we could find,” says Wijesena.
If the cocktails at Earl’s are anything to go by, patrons can expect the same level of finesse at Jacoby’s. “A lot of the cocktails you get in places like Hawaii can be kind of crap,” says Wijesena. “Fake juice, too much sugar syrup, and yuck spirits all lead to unbalanced drinks and this perception that colourful, fun cocktails can’t be delicious,” he says.
Expect to find rum classics supplemented by lesser-known gin- and vodka-based cocktails. The Romero is the Jacoby’s take on the iconic Zombie: Pampero Especial Rum, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Eldorado 151 Overproof Rum with lime, spiced grapefruit, Falernum and Absinthe is as the menu reads: strong enough to raise the dead.
But the real hero here is the wine. Jacoby’s wine-consigliere, Mike Bennie (co-founder of Rootstock, wine writer and consultant), helped out with the list. “Pasan’s idea for the wine list was fucking genius,” Bennie tells Broadsheet. “Delicious, smashable wines like this belong in a fun place like Jacoby’s,” he says.
Wines in this cache exist on a spectrum of colours and flavours. Forsaking the old “red or white” binary, the menu at Jacoby’s makes this clear. Patrons can expect to find what they’re looking for categorised by the hues of the Pacific sunset. “Organising wines by varietal or similar is a kind of pointless exercise for a bar,” says Bennie. “Pasan’s idea to break the wine list up like this makes it so much easier for people to find what they’re looking for.”
Here’s what you’ll find:
This category speaks for itself. There’s champagne, sparkling wine from Jura, prosecco and a petillant naturel from the Barossa. But the unassuming star of this show is the Seppelt sparkling shiraz. From a Victorian winery pushing 170 years in the business, this Australian wine is an international pioneer of sparkling reds. Seriously undervalued by the consumer market, Seppelt’s famous drop has remained on the lips of the country’s most discerning critics for good reason. Jacoby’s gives it the home it deserves.
Here you’ll find white varietals like vermentino, riesling, or viognier. The focus here is on soft, juicy wines where savoury notes meet sweetness and acidity halfway. The 2016 Arfion sauvignon blanc spends 80 days on skins and tastes like a tropical flavoured juice-box for grown ups. A delicate guava sweetness lays the foundations for a cereal texture and citrus finish.
Yes, you will find rosé here, but Bennie wants it to be clear: this isn’t a category just for rosé. The 2016 Chateau De Roquefort “Corail” rosé from Provence, France, is a stunning example of the types of labels to expect from this section. Delicate, mouthwatering textures from wines that are super easy to drink and brimming with vitality are a good home for rosés but also leave plenty of room for light reds.
Orange wines are something most people will already be familiar with. They spearheaded the natural-wine movement a few years back and have carved out a spot for themselves on many restaurant menus. Expect depth of flavour and thirst-quenching nourishment from this section. “We’re looking for that deep amber colour, like the ochre of Australian earth,” says Bennie.
If you’re looking for big dark chocolaty reds, forget it. These are wines with plenty of vibrancy and crunchiness. Expect to find labels with big, billowing brightness that “dance across the palate”. The 2016 Brave New Wine Schadenfreude shiraz from Great Southern in Western Australia is a standout here. Bottled young and fresh, it’s full of shimmery gusto.
154 Enmore Road, Enmore
Mon to Thu 5pm–12am
Fri & Sat 5pm–1am