6 Bridge St Sydney, NSW 2000
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
It's official, pals. The northern end of the CBD is Sydney's No.1 spot for slick drinks and hijinks.
And by "northern end of CBD" we're including Circular Quay, where Bulletin Place booze wizard Evan Stroeve casts delicious spirit spells and Mary's Underground delivers Hanky Pankys and live music well after the last Manly ferry departs.
Merivale's Palmer & Co scratches all Sazerac itches on Abercrombie Lane, and in late June Double Deuce sidled into the basement a block away at the old Bouche on Bridge site. To quote Spinal Tap's sixth drummer, it's a cocktail lounge on a mission to "have a good time, all the time".
Why it has taken this long for a bar to be named after the nightclub in Patrick Swayze's 1989 cult hit Road House, I have no idea, but I'm grateful it exists – even if it does have little in common with the movie's dodgy Missouri dive.
Ramblin' Rascal Tavern Renaissance men Charlie Lehmann, Sebastian "Cosmo" Soto and Dardan Shervashidze have gifted Sydney a 1970s-inspired joint made for sinking into leather booths and channelling Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis. (That is, the period when Davis had a thing for wearing sunglasses the size of his head).
It's the Rascal team's tribute to the golden age of Galliano, Gladys Knight and burnt-orange everything. The Stones' Gimme Shelter incarnate. Ski-lodge panelling, olive-green bar stools, golden-brown mood lighting and prints of Curtis Mayfield's buddies contribute to 80 per cent of the vibe. Making up the rest is Lehmann's safari shirts, short shorts and socks pulled to a height known as "woodwork teacher".
The food menu consists of complimentary Goldfish crackers sourced from Costco and that is all. (Mary's is a two-minute walk around the corner if needed). Double Deuce is all about drinks that wouldn't be out of place at the Playboy Mansion.
A 10-strong, $20-a-pop original cocktail list starts with the Slinky Spritz mixing vodka, strawberry, jasmine, lychee and prosecco, and finishes with a Stinger riff incorporating cognac, peppermint and Fernet Branca. It's a little bit Aero Bar, a little bit Mint Slice, and all kinds of silky and delicious.
It's a powerful tincture, the Stinger, and one per innings is probably enough. The Cozmo you could return to all night, however; a sweet, sharp quencher showcasing citrus, apricot, rosella, pomegranate and Wyborowa vodka. The gun bar team can also rock any classic with class and a Beefeater martini ($20) is more bracing than a night swim in Sweden.
Further refreshment comes via a tight selection of beer tins starring Garage Project's Bliss lager ($10), originally made for Attica in Melbourne. Newtown's minimal-intervention booze merchants P&V supply the wine and I'm predicting a lot of pub-squashy Blind Unicorn petillant naturel ($60) made with chenin blanc in the Margaret River to move across the handsome Deuce bar.
With Ivy set to launch at least three new joints in the next six months, maybe in time the mid-section of the CBD will become Sydney's hottest precinct for post-work revelry – especially with Burrow Bar and Employees Only in close proximity. But, right now, it's the northern block that's base camp for good-time cocktails and Double Deuce is leading the charge.
If you only eat one thing: complimentary Goldfish crackers.
If you only drink one thing: The Stinger ($20).