Welcome to the Commons - your new loungeroom, with great booze
First published on . Updated on .
There’s nary a basement in Sydney town these days that doesn't contain a jazz-playing, cocktail-straining “speakeasy”. And while we think that’s the cat’s pajamas – and right about now you can cue our “We love you C-L-O-V-E-R” cheer chant – it can make it tough for a bar to stand out. But this little nook of cocktail-ing good times, one of Sydney’s first ‘small bars’, is doing just that. Down the stairs from the Commons restaurant, the room’s a study in just how a few nice details can bring a boxy space to life. Book-stacked shelves and random giant glass jars give it the feel of a professor’s office; rough sandstone walls and soft light suggest the good professor is hiding from German bombers. The drinks put you square inside prohibition-era USA – the list covers old-fashioned favourites like the Negroni (tick!) and our choice, a New Orleans Sazerac. Here, rye whiskey, absinthe, bitters and sugar are stirred slowly over ice, then strained and served with a lemon twist. The barkeep warns “it’s a stiff version” and he ain’t wrong – the stairs are looking more precarious by the time we drain ours. Where the Commons really stands out is in the service department. Our Sazarac-recommending bartender takes the time to talk through the menu and check in on us to see how his drinks are going down. It’s a pretty standard touch, but one often lost in Sydney’s busier boozers.