The Speakeasy Group, which is known for its hidden-away cocktail bars and restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, has a new bar in the CBD. Like Melbourne’s Eau De Vie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is hidden down a dark laneway that offers no indication of the delights awaiting visitors behind the nondescript door: slick bartenders, boozy cocktails and velvet lounges ideal for late-night sessions.
It’s the group’s fourth Sydney venue, following on from the local Eau De Vie outpost (hidden in the lobby of a Darlinghurst hotel); the Viking-themed Mjølner (behind a completely non-noteworthy door on Cleveland Street in Redfern); and opulent Nick and Nora’s (26 floors above Parramatta).
The space – between Kid Kyoto and Mr Wong – was once home to the bar run by neighbouring hair salon Christopher Hanna. (Don’t worry, salon guests can still have drinks delivered while getting their ‘do.) Speakeasy Group co-owners Sven Almenning and Greg Sanderson have added some new touches – there’s the velvet seating, a gold bar and a large champagne fridge to divide the room.
“The name actually came from a throwaway line Ian Fleming wrote describing his James Bond books as ‘straight pillow fantasies of the bang-bang, kiss-kiss variety’,” explains Almenning. (They’ve always drawn inspiration from literature – Nick and Nora’s is named after the fictional crime-fighting duo from Dashiell Hammett’s 1934 novel The Thin Man.)
The drinks list has been designed by former Mjølner bar manager Alissa Gabriel, and includes a 34-strong champagne menu (including a vintage Krug for $1100). “We’ll also be featuring a range of smaller grower/producer champagnes such as Agrapart, Egly-Ouriet, Delamotte and Larmandier-Bernier,” says Almenning.
There are also alcohol-free and low-alcohol alternatives, and food and drink “threesomes” – set menus consisting of “three sip-sized cocktails paired with three items from our food menu”. Says Almenning, “We’re rocking a canapé-style menu where nothing requires knives or forks.”
The Kiss & Tell (tequila, coconut, jasmine and grapefruit), for example, comes with oxheart tomato, herb goat’s cheese and basil oil atop a toasted hempseed cracker, while the Peppermint Slap (butter-menthol bourbon, amaro, white chocolate and mint) is served alongside a star-anise panna cotta with coconut, honey, nasturtium and a chocolate biscuit.
Also noteworthy: the Mindfuck Mimosa, made with clarified orange juice that’s stripped of its pulp until it’s clear (but retains its flavour).
This venue will be the team’s first trial of live music – at the moment they’re considering a DJ with live vocals or sax. “Think an early 2000s Peppermint Lounge vibe,” says Almenning, reminiscing about the heyday of the Kings Cross nightclub.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang opens Wednesday February 19.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6 Bridge Lane, Sydney
(02) 8646 4930
Tue to Sat 12pm–2am
Sun & Mon 5pm–2am