Award-winning Sydney cocktail bar Eau de Vie to close Darlinghurst site

Cocktails in progress at Eau-de-vie in Darlinghurst.
Cocktails in progress at Eau-de-vie in Darlinghurst. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Time has been called at Eau de Vie, the Sydney bar that caught the attention of the world and went on to spawn a mini empire.

The Darlinghurst bar, which grabbed headlines in 2011 when it was crowned the world's best new cocktail bar at the prestigious Spirited Awards in the US, will close in January.

"Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement with the landlord," co-owner Sven Almenning says of the decision to uproot.

The Drunken Manchego, served flaming at the table with spears of rosemary.
The Drunken Manchego, served flaming at the table with spears of rosemary. Photo: Brook Mitchell

The Sydney bar tsar explains the area, knocked about by the lock-out laws, "has been tough for a while now and without seeing a substantial drop in rent we just don't think it's a viable location anymore".

When Eau de Vie opened a decade ago on the ground floor of the Kirekton Hotel building on Darlinghurst Road, few predicted its impact.

Almenning's Speakeasy Group has grown into a bar and restaurant empire stretching from The Roosevelt in Potts Point to Nick & Nora's in Parramatta.

The decision to open an Eau de Vie in Melbourne in 2012 had a bit of a coals-to-Newcastle whiff to it. Not only was it a success, however, a second Eau de Vie in Melbourne followed.

Almenning intends to keep "shaking, stirring and mixing" at the Darlo original until last bell in January. 

"We know many people have great memories of our little cocktail bar, and that there have been a number of love birds who either met at Eau de Vie, had their first date there or even proposed there."

Almenning hopes they'll pop in and "bid the old girl goodbye".

Hopefully it isn't the end for Eau de Vie in Sydney. Speakeasy Group has looked at some city sites, but given the effect of COVID-19 on the CBD, Almenning is tipping a relocation to somewhere on the city fringe.