The trend of applying the Brooklyn style of bars to Sydney's nightlife scene isn't over yet it seems, no matter how saturated it may seem. Housed in the old Mexico Food and Liquor site, Brooklyn Social is a new bar bringing gin cocktails and American eats to an otherwise unexciting stretch of Surry Hills.
Ben May, Raul Gonzales and David Freeman are behind the venture, with Justin Tynan managing the bar. “We completely redid the interior in five weeks. We ripped out all the wooden booths and recycled the timber,” says Tynan of the space's transformation. The inspiration for the bar was, “New York in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when places like (famous punk-rock venue) CBGB were around,” says Gonzales.
Inside TomMarkHenry has gone to town with black tiles, distressed wood and green tartan on the walls. The entrance is shrouded by black vinyl sheets which give way to a feature wall adorned with retro punk imagery.
At the bar you'll find Brooklyn Lager on tap. If you think the wine list looks a little snappy, that's because it's the work of sommelier Sebastien Crowther from China Diner. Otherwise, Brooklyn Social is about gin. It keeps 44 different types, including seven local brands and there are plans to install a gin-and-tonic tap. Cocktails are inspired by the five boroughs of NYC, and include a Clover Club, Brooklyn Sling and Lady Grey Martini. The Bromosa is a take on a Mimosa – it comes with beer and gin, and is served in a glass boot.
After some Bromosas, snack on pork spare ribs, Southern fried chicken or mac-and-cheese balls. Various hot dogs and burgers round out the coronary-inducing offering. For dessert, lick Pisco Sour sorbet, or try a “metha-doughnut” – a cinnamon doughnut accompanied by a syringe filled with chocolate, strawberry or caramel sauce.
Brooklyn Social marks the first stage of the redevelopment of the Hills, which also encompasses the Central Tavern. That bar will be renovated with a different theme and is slated to open in mid August.