Sydney’s nightlife doesn’t slow down in the colder months. Recently, a couple of bars have opened with a cultural theme – from Jamaican to Mexican to Spanish. With jerk chicken and dumplings to snack on, and tropical cocktails or fishbowl Gin and Tonics, there’s a lot to keep you out at night.
Rosie Campbell’s is the second venue by The Soda Factory’s Graham Cordery. Jamaican in theme, Cordery took inspiration from his latest trip to the island to create this Crown Street hang out. The bar is intimate, full of colour and has plenty of rum – more than 30 varieties. The list of other sprits is extensive and there are also beach-style cocktails to choose from. The Jamaican-American fusion-style food is no afterthought, and the burgers are the standout. Luxe buns, thick sauce, slaw and either a slab of soft-shelled crab or jerk chicken. Add Rosie Campbell’s signature paprika-dusted fries and happy days.
Drink to try: Coco Colada – a tropical slushy served in a coconut that mixes Pampero dark rum with pineapple, sugar cane, lime and snap-dried banana.
Frank and Blanco
It looks like a regular Sutherland cafe with a coffee machine and beans in the front window. But at night it’s a cool Mexican restaurant and tequila bar. Brendon Hill and Shahir Galal are behind Frank and Blanco. Their special partnership with Mexican tequila distiller Tequila Arette is what sets this place apart; Tequila Arette is currently the only distillery that makes its spirit from its own sustainably grown agave. It also makes its own grenadine syrup, ginger soda and pumpkin syrup in-house. On the menu there are light Mexican dishes such as tequila and lime trout with charred-corn salsa; the El Diablo prawns with harissa, lime and coriander soy; and spiced, pulled-pork tacos.
Drink to try: Armillito Chico – Espolon Blanco, Ximinez sherry, fresh lime juice, house-made grenadine and white orange bitters.
While it was goodbye to an old favourite when Lo-Fi closed, it’s now hello to sunny Cuba – or the closest thing to it. The bar, situated above Kinsella’s with a view of Taylor Square, has been transformed into a chic Cuban hangout. Executive bartender, Lee Potter Cavanagh was inspired by a recent trip to the Caribbean island, and has designed a gin- and rum-heavy cocktail menu. The traditional Gin and Tonic is served in a copa glass – a Spanish-style glass with a long stem and a fishbowl shape, designed to enhance the aromas and flavours of its contents. If gin isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other spirits, beer on tap and bar snacks by Johnny Wong’s Dumpling Bar. Middlebar also has a dance floor and a wide balcony.
Drink to try: Old Cuban – Bacardi eight-year-old rum, mint, lime and sparkling wine.
Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux of the Pocket Group have opened their sixth bar – an attractive space with copious hanging plants and booths. The bartop is made up of 15,000 US coins. The menu offers a selection of burgers that come with Jalsburg cheese, bacon, truss tomatoes, chipotle, pickles and mustard. Mexican bar snacks and salads are also available. The seasonal cocktails change every fortnight with the aim of utilising the season’s produce in a creative way. It also uses a lot of its own homemade mixers, including rosemary vinegar and peach and rosemary syrup.
Drink to try: this week its a French twist on an Old Fashioned – Woodford Reserve, pear and raisin gomme syrup, chocolate bitters.