“We’re not food focused,” says Flynn McLennan, owner of The Long Goodbye, a 1940s-inspired bar on the former Hazy Rose site. “We’re doing a cheese toastie at the moment, but that’s it.” While that toastie will hit the spot (this week it’s a slab of oozy raclette on salty, buttery sourdough), the focus here is on the booze.

“My mantra is strong, spirit-forward and simple,” says McLennan. “I love going to nice bars, but I hate waiting 30 minutes for a drink.” The drinks list is designed so any cocktail can be made in a couple of minutes. If it were up to McLennan, there wouldn’t be a menu at all. “People can just walk in and name a flavour and I’ll make them a drink. Everything here is mixable and nothing is sacred.”

McLennan spends his downtime developing new liqueurs, such as the duck fat-washed apricot brandy; he pairs it with cognac, lemon and Chinese five-spice for a twist on the Sidecar. There’s also a Negroni made with a sticky-sweet beetroot liqueur.

“Having that control of flavour is really important,” says McLennan. “We couldn’t find an existing beetroot liqueur, so we made one.” Along the back bar there’s a row of other creations such as rhubarb liqueur; a strawberry and balsamic shrub; chilli bitters made with the world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper; and even a house-made chinotto.

McLennan opened the bar with long-time friend Dennis Jen, an ex-customer from his Uncle Ming’s and Zeta days. The venue has had a bit of a facelift, but Hazy Rose fans won’t feel too out of place. The self-confessed film-and-book nerds have named the bar after the Raymond Chandler novel because of the author’s love of the Gimlet. “It’s a simple, classic, three-ingredient drink, so it’s the perfect reference for us,” McLennan says.

In time there might be more cheese toasties. McLennan and Jen are considering a tuna melt, or maybe sopressa with provolone and pickles. In the meantime, you always can order in from Dumplings and Beer downstairs.

The Long Goodbye
1/83 Stanley Street, Darlinghurst
(02) 8957 7674

Tue 5pm–11pm
Wed–Sat 5pm–12pm
Sun 5pm–10pm