Hotdogs. We told you so. Way back at the end of 2010, we predicted the end of hamburgers and the rise of the hotdog. And voilà - Stitch has a whole menu of ‘em! (They have hamburgers too, but we're ignoring that part of the menu.) We might add that all the 'dogs come with curly fries.
There's more to Stitch than hotdogs, though. This bar, hidden in a Wynyard basement behind a rack of shirts and other sartorial paraphernalia, is the newest watering hole from Pocket's Karl Schlothauer and Christophe Lehoux. But forget Pocket. Forget it ever existed, or exists still. Stitch is the business.
This dark little bar is a hooch-lover's paradise, where plush booths line one wall and seats at the bar are so hotly contested we actually have to resort to menacing a wine-drinking couple with our eyes until they finally get the message and leave. It's survival of the fittest here. And once you've visited the bar you'll know why. In fact, the Indigo Mood may just sum up why we love this place so much: it's a rocks glass filled with anejo tequila, washed with a generous lick of Amaro Montenegro (a bittersweet digestif) over ice.
The cocktail list is a mix of bartender favourites (Old Fashioned; Sazerac; Manhattan), a few fruity numbers (the Strawberry Swing involves muddled strawberries, basil and vodka served in a Champagne coupe - 'nuff said) and some clever party drinks like the Monkey Magic - cachaca, fresh apple juice, vanilla syrup, lime juice and a ginger beer float. If you're having a little dusty moment, or you don't want to enter the evening on a belly of tequila (which is either smart or ridiculous - we haven't decided yet), consider the Beetlejuice. They say it's "surprisingly refreshing!" on the menu, and we have to agree. A mix of fresh-squeezed beetroot and ginger juice, gin, Punt e Mes and sweet vermouth finished with a little ginger beer, like a boozy health drink. Just don't ask for three. Y'know, because of what happens in the movie.
The only thing we'd say about the drinkin' is there isn't much in terms of beer on offer. Here's where you might argue that you're in a cocktail bar and if you want a beer you should head up to the Wynyard Hotel. But if you're a seasoned spirits drinker, you'll know that a little cleansing ale between cocktails is a delightful thing. And there are very few joys in life greater than sitting on a Manhattan on the rocks or an Old Fashioned with a cold beer on the side.
We'll talk music for second if we may. At Stitch, it's the music you always hope to hear in a bar but never do outside of Louisiana. Swampy blues, jazz... all the speakeasy-style sounds that make you want to order more bourbon and smoke indoors.
Stitch is already hella busy. You won't get a seat after 7.30pm and forget Friday nights unless you can get there by six. But make the effort to haul in before the crowds, claim a seat and feel the fear of being menaced by Time Out staffers for staying too long at the bar.
More hotdogs? Head to Porteno (358 Cleveland St, Surry Hills) or the Norfolk (305 Cleveland St, Surry Hills).