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Drinking Out – Cocktails and Craft Beer in Sydney

Grandma’s – Basement, 275, Clarence Street, Sydney

I swear to you, if there was no Google, then most bars would never be found and Grandma’s is a case in point. A small speakeasy, down a narrow flight of stairs, it was pretty nigh impossible to find. A rum bar it is, and don’t ask me why a Rum speakeasy is called Grandma’s. I’m thirsty and settle on a cocktail called “Made Man” with Talisker, Ron Zacapa 23yo, Sweet Vermouth and Bitters, served in a Coupette. Not cheap at AUD 17 but a treat to drink.


Baxter’s Inn – Basement, 152-156, Clarence Street, Sydney

I first walked into an interesting looking bar called Barber Shop, which seemed a perfectly fine bar, except that it wasn’t Baxter’s Inn, which was my destination of choice. Out of Barber Shop and into a real life hair dressing saloon on Clarence Street, whose staff and patrons pleaded ignorance. I wandered back into the courtyard where Barber Shop was, and decided to take my chance down a narrow flight of stairs, and sure enough there it was, Baxter’s Inn, packed to the brim, with a long bar, packed with bottles of whisky, arranged alphabetically, all carefully labeled and with two ladders on either side of the bar, to help access the higher up bottles.

And as I observed through my stint there, the ladders weren’t only for show. I decided to try my luck on “Dublin or Nothing”, which turned out to be a superbly made cocktail, mixing up Jameson, Pineapple, Lemon, Ginger and Benedictine. I managed to find a space at the crowded bar and placed my order there. Watched the bartenders do their magic, scramble up ladders, listened to some chit chat from my neighbors who were catching a quick drink before hitting the ferry and enjoyed my cocktail.

Frankie’s Pizza, 50 Hunter Street, Sydney

After visiting two Speakeasies back to back, and both of them in basements, it was a relief to walk into Frankie’s located as it was on the street in Sydney’s Central Business District. The décor and menu were all things Italian, from the long strands of garlic and tomatoes hanging behind the bar, to the wide range of Aperitifs available and the Mafiosi who grudgingly let me in. I settled for a mug of Six Strings Pale Ale (on tap) along with a slice of Salami Pizza, to bring my Sydney pub crawl to a close.

Vikram Achanta