The new bars that have opened in Sydney this year have been diverse, from European-leaning wine bars (with a focus on small producers and natural wines), to themed cocktail bars. Here are the newcomers of note.
Jacoby’s takes its name from Dr Lawrence Jacoby, (a tiki-obsessed character from David Lynch’s recently rebooted Twin Peaks). Brought to you by the team behind Earl’s Juke Joint, this bar pays homage to woozy nights in the Pacific. There are 10 tropical cocktails on the menu (where rum is key). There’s also Red Stripe (a moreish Jamaican stalwart) on tap and bottled Hawaiian beers. Puffer fish hang from the bar’s thatched-bamboo ceiling. There are also giant hand-carved tiki heads; heavy red velvet curtains; and zig-zag-patterned floors. The wine list specialises in orange and natural wines and includes sparkling and rosé. The food menu is short and sweet, made up predominately of toasties, with a plan to expand this in the future.
Frenchies Bistro and Brewery
Friends Vincent de Soyres and Thomas Cauqil spent a decade turning a beer and charcuterie concept over in their minds before specialising in Parisian bistronomy. Their Rosebery eatery has been adapted to suit the Australian taste and terroir. Sit at one of the high tables, which look onto de Soyre’s brews in progress, and take a moment to check out the carpentry by de Soyres’s dad. You will find a core range of five beers, each from a different region, including a German kolsch, a New Zealand pilsner, an American pale ale, an old-world IPA and an Australian red rye ale. There are also eight house-brews on tap and 16 bottles – with an even split between local and international varietals. The dining room menu upstairs is seasonal and changes daily. Downstairs is about cheese (with a rotating list of seven varieties, mostly from Australia or France) and charcuterie.
Rio Milk Bar
Rio Milk Bar – whose original signage remains as a nod to the milk bar’s golden age as The Rio in the 1950s – has grown up. Drinks are informed by the bar’s surroundings, from the Summer Hill Express (Armagnac, Applewood espressocello, espresso and house-made vanilla-and-fig syrup) to the Aussie Negroni (Melbourne gin, Applewood Red Okar and sweet vermouth). The retro milkshake machine still churns out virgin milkshakes for kids, and the staff will spike them with harder stuff for adults. The wine selection is mostly Australian and French and live music is a regular occurrence.
Rosetta is the Sydney iteration of Neil Perry’s top Italian offering Rosetta Ristorante in Melbourne. It flows across three levels – the ground-floor dining room (which includes a crudo and mozzarella bar) extends to an outdoor terrace with views of both the city and the harbour – making it the perfect place to enjoy the all-day bar menu (brimming with antipasti and pizzettes), playful cocktails and Italian wines. The design here is more casual compared to in Melbourne, with coastal-inspired marble and sapphire-coloured velvet to reflect the ocean.
Wyno is the latest endeavour by Elvis Abrahanowicz, Joe Valore and Ben Milgate of Porteño. It’s a narrow space (formerly occupied by 121BC), which brings an intimacy and closeness to the experience that elevates it. The wine, unlike the food, echoes Porteño’s list, although there is a wider variety here. The food menu is designed to be shared and revolves around border-crossing share plates with a focus on seafood. Dishes are simple in their production and ingredients, but clever and playful in execution (try buttery Continental Deli sardines with hand-cut fries or pasta peppered with LP’s seafood sausages).