27 July 2012

The Baxter Inn: Whisky & Wine Bar, CBD Sydney (26 July 2012)

Basement, 152-156 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000

A whisky lovers paradise

“Absolutely no bookings, no doorlist, no functions — everyone is welcome.”

The Baxter Inn has been on my wish list since it opened after hearing many good things about the place. The first challenge when visiting was working out where it actually was. Make sure you take good note of the address or you'll question where it is and start asking the hairdresser next door for directions as I did. Walk down through the arched laneway, turn right at the end, then head to the far right corner where you'll find a doorway that leads down a flight of stairs and head through the unmarked door past the empty kegs. I think this might be Sydney's answer to Melbourne's The Croft Institute in terms of being very well-hidden from unsuspecting pedestrian traffic although when busy I've heard long queues form which would expose the hidden entrance. My Pencillian cocktail ($17) of Scotch Whisky, lemon, honey and ginger served in a sours glass is quite strong with a decent taste of whisky. The flavours worked quite well together although I was more of a fan of my friend's Old Cuban cocktail ($17) made with rum, mint, sparkling wine and lime served in a coupette glass. It had a nice balance of flavours and was very enjoyable to drink with a refreshing twist on the palate. There's a fair amount of seating in the bar but best to arrive early to grab a table and enjoy the quirky memorabilia and soft mood lighting.

PROS: Interesting decor and cosy atmosphere, Service seemed friendly and accommodating, Whisky lovers paradise
CONS: The website looks like it's more for a funeral parlour than a welcoming bar, Apparently gets very popular with long lines outside so arrive early, I didn't really notice a bar menu
MUST TRY: Old Cuban cocktail, Revisiting to try other cocktails
VERDICT: A very cosy and interesting bar that you could easily settle in for the night and enjoy their range of whisky and wines
Find the laneway

Look out for the red roped area — although when busy you'll probably see a very long line queued outside

Laneway sky views
Head down the stairs and open the unmarked door

Impressive whisky display — apparently the white bucket is for the tips

Drinks menu

Cocktail menu

Complimentary pretzels

Pencillian cocktail: Scotch Whisky, lemon, honey, ginger ($17)

Old Cuban cocktail: Rum, mint, sparkling wine, lime ($17)

Scotch with fresh green apple juice ($7.50)

Fair amount of table seating

Sitting at the bar is a great spot to admire all the bottles of whisky on show

Private reserve display cabinet

Nice candle and feature lighting

Toilet sink located behind the toilet so a little awkward to access

Heading back out through the laneway to the real world

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The Baxter Inn on Urbanspoon


Miss Kimbers said...

I like how this bar is very hidden. It makes it seem all secret and mysterious.

That is a very strange toilet arrangement!

Simon Leong said...

hi Miss Kimbers, i look forward to visiting again to gain a better appreciation of whisky :-)

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