Lily Blacks is the CBD’s favourite free-wheelin’ Art Deco cocktail bar, where it’s all about pickles and bitters. You may have encountered the pickleback – the whisky shot, pickle liquor combo that tastes a bit like a burger only boozy. But how about a nip of beet brine and rum? Or bourbon and preserved carrots? The vinegary possibilities are endless. And delicious.
They like to have fun here. Behind the island bar, run by jovial pom Jacob Taylor, is a towering pyramid of liquor and a glowing pharmaceutical display of tiny brown bitters bottles in all flavours from orange to bacon. Get some of that magical meat essence in your Manhattan, or try an I Dream of Ginger – a smoky cup of excellence combining mescal, ginger syrup and ginger bitters. They take drinks seriously here, but they’re also not afraid to boost the tunes and loosen collars.
On the last Sunday of every month, they hold wild booze smackdown Iron Bartender. On Tuesdays, Sarah Fulford (winner of this year’s Hot Talent award) chucks up a little rattan hut and starts smashing out tiki drinks served in plastic pineapples. Lily’s is smack bang in the CBD, so while you might be knocking back an onionified Martini before heading to San Telmo for dinner, the person next to you is as likely to be sucking back a post-work beer. Head in for a high old time, any old time.
Fun and good drinks are of equal priority here. Make attendance one of yours.