Here is a thoroughly enjoyable bar. It’s also a bar we’d love to smoke it up in were it still legal. Because Mojo, set in behind one of our favourite record stores in Sydney, is exactly the sort of place in which lighting up a Marlboro red would feel not only right, but compulsory. But while your dear pink lungs might thank you for keeping them deliciously tar free, your liver might have a few things to say after a session here.
Bar manager Natalie Ng (infamous Smarties-thrower and shot-giver) and team recently opened the doors on this excellent little den of iniquity just across the hall from Mojo Music. There's no food, but they'll order you a pizza or open up a bag of Toobs if you're good. If you get drinking before 8.30pm, you can even take your Lemon Cohen (dark rum, Antica Formula, apricot brandy, lemon twist) into the shop and make a few boozy purchases.
You can settle in with a Georgia Julep if you’re up for a beaker full of fresh mint, Cognac and peach liqueur (a Mint Julep for wimps, if you will). They’ll make it well, too. The three Ms are on offer here (Margaritas, Mojitos and Martinis) and they’ll do it all with no small amount of skill and panache. But it’s not a cocktail bar. It’s just a bar, bar. Yep, we’re in a new age of drinking where the only labels that matter are those on your liquor.
Music, if you haven’t guessed at it, is the name of the game here. And they have a 700-record-strong back catalogue of juicy tunes and fine sounds to do your drinking to. You might even be lucky enough to hear their original pressing of that honey-voiced blues crooner, Josh White (pictured).
There’s a big craft beer menu at Mojo, including the Two Metre Tall Hop Ale from Tasmania. (Fun fact: the guy who makes this crisp, sessionable and slightly bitter ale is literally two metres tall – we met him, he’s huge). Or perhaps a 2L Growler is more your speed. Stopped chuckling like a dirty uncle yet? Once you’ve regained your composure, we’ll tell you that it’s $40 well spent – especially if you’re into supporting super-local small businesses like Young Henry’s, brewed right in Newtown. There are a handful of ciders on hand, but it’s a list that’s only going to grow with a little more time under their belts.
This is a young bar with a whole lot of potential. Get yourself city-side and pull up a pew.