3 hours, 3 bars, 3 cocktails
Thanks to Ms Darlinghurst (pictured) and Booze Braggart for inviting me along to their CBD Small Bar Tour ($75 per person) which includes a specially made cocktail at each venue and bar nibbles to share. It was a good chance to revisit Grasshopper and check out Grandma’s Bar and Stitch for the first time. Being part of the tour gives you a bit of VIP treatment in having a chat with the owners, reserved seating and your drinks and food are brought to you. For those who love having other people organise their night then this tour might be for you. If you’ve been wanting to check out small bars but haven’t had anyone to go with then this would suit you also. The cocktails and food you receive works out to be about how much you possibly might spend on your own for something similar. If you like choosing your own drinks and have a fear of meeting people you don’t know then I think you’d probably be better going with your own group of friends.
First stop was the very busy Grasshopper for about an hour. Thankfully a table was reserved for the group and we sampled a decent sized Charcuterie board ($33) and some easy to pick up Crisp chicken, roast pepper & almond ($15). The custom made #31 cocktail had equal parts of Ron Zacapa, Green Ginger Wine, Fresh Orange Juice, Red Wine Float served in a beaker. All their cocktails are just a number so it’s apparently easier to order at the bar. The themed spirit of the night for all cocktails was rum. Second stop was at the smaller and quieter Grandma’s Bar where I noticed a few Gill Elvgren pinups on the wall next to her rocking chair — I like grandmas taste. The Ron Zacapa Treacle cocktail ($21) is well-liked by the group and one of my favourites of the night — great balance of flavours. For those that don’t drink they can make you a non-alcoholic cocktail, although it probably would be cheaper if you visited on your own. A tea cup of Biltong South African cured beef ($7.50) is something I probably wouldn’t have ordered but I’d be happy to have the Chicken jaffles ($7.50) and Vegetarian jaffles ($7.50) again — I wish my homemade jaffles tasted this good. There’s was a bit of time to order an extra cocktail of Raspberry Moscow Mule ($16) made with grandma's own ginger beer which packed quite a punch. I thought it would be funny and appropriate if they had a cocktail which was garnished with grandma’s dentures using those candied teeth — I’d call it ‘Time for bed’ or ‘Grandma takes a nap’ hehe.
The final stop was Stitch which was the largest of all the bars and very popular. I’ve never seen so many sewing machines before. Our custom-made cocktail is the Stitch Presidente ($23) which packs a punch of pure alcohol — not the for faint hearted by I had no trouble with mine. The glasses of water served to the table was much appreciated. An interesting selection of nibbles are provided in the form of a Dip plate ($14), Roasted nuts ($14) and Curly fries ($6) although I probably would have preferred the Hand Cut Chunks ($7) and maybe one of the hotdogs by this stage of the night. The owner Karl Schlothauer also owns Pocket Bar and I hear there’s possible plans for another bar somewhere to be decided — I look forward to hearing all about it.
PROS: Everything is organised for you, Will cost probably a little bit more than if you purchased the drinks and nibbles yourself, Non-alcoholic cocktails can be provided as a substitute (but why bother), Bars are all within walking distance, The group is kept small, You get to meet new people
CONS: You don’t get to pick which cocktails or nibbles you have, Sometimes it’s a bit hard to share the nibbles along the table, It would have been appreciated if all bars provided a glass of water on arrival, Tours run on a school night
MUST TRY: Revisiting to try other cocktails and menu items now that I know where the bars are
1 Temperance Lane, Sydney NSW 2000
Charcuterie board ($33)
Crisp chicken, roast pepper & almond ($15)
Simon McGoram from Booze Braggart
Denea from Gourmet Rabbit
Michael from Gosstronomy
John serving coctails
Cocktail names are numbers only so they're easy to remember and order
Seating and tour group table
Tour heading to next bar
Basement 275 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ron Zacapa Treacle cocktail: Ron Zacapa, Brown Sugar, Angostura bitters, Orange bitters, Apple juice, Orange zest ($21)
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Non alcoholic cocktail
Biltong South African cured beef ($7.50)
Chicken jaffles: chicken, tasty cheese, onion and Jap mayo ($7.50)
WORTH TRYING :-)
Bartender making the Ron Zacapa Treacle cocktail
Menu "there's no place like home, except grandma's"
Grandma's rocking chair
Window into Grandma's
Owner James Bradey giving an introductory talk to tour
Tour heading to the next bar
61 York Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Stitch Presidente cocktail: 50 ml Zacada 23yr, 15 ml Stitch Sweet Vermouth, 5 ml Cointreau, 1 dash Stitch Orange Bitters ($23)
Glass of water — much appreciated
Dip plate: selection of artisan dips and char grilled sourdough ($14)
Didn't I just see you at Grandma's?
Seating and decor
No shortage of singer sewing machines
One unisex toilet
Booth table seating
Stairs down to Stitch
Anyone for a measurement?