Dean & Nancy on 22, the latest venue from the team at Maybe Sammy, opens this week. And while you mightn't find a real Nancy at the sky-high Sydney CBD venue, there is a Jane.
Chef Jane Strode's opening menu includes smoked eel and cauliflower bhaji, risotto and a molten-centred "fireball" of cream cheese and 'nduja.
Despite Strode's kitchen pedigree, co-owner Stefano Catino stresses it isn't a restaurant: "It's a cocktail bar with food."
The moniker might sound a little Rat Packy, but the 22nd-floor venue actually gets its inspiration from two fictional characters Catino created.
"Dean isn't necessarily macho and Nancy isn't girly. I like to think that [if they were driving somewhere] he doesn't know how to read a map and she's not shy to ask for directions," Catino says.
The touch point for the fictional couple plays out in the space designed by George Livissianis, with low black leather banquettes and a black and gold colour palette. The sort of place where Dean and Nancy might kick back at sunset for a cocktail, a bite of quail and a bowl of guacamole.
The cocktail list shares DNA with sibling Maybe Sammy (voted the 11th best bar in the world) but really charts its own territory. Catino recommends the rum and pineapple shrub-fuelled Rolling a Double cocktail. Inspired by his fictional duo, it arrives with dice. Roll a double and "you'll score a cocktail upgrade".
"I've been thinking of ways to honour them [Dean and Nancy], maybe setting up a table every day with a couple of drinks for them," Catino says.
If it's anything like its sibling venue, good luck finding two empty seats.
Dean & Nancy on 22 opens to the public on Friday, May 21.
Open Wed-Sat 4.30pm-late.
Level 22, A by Adina Sydney, 2 Hunter Street, Sydney