154 Enmore Rd Enmore, NSW 2042
|Opening hours||Fri-Sat 5pm-1am; Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Payments||eftpos, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
I have an embarrassing confession to make. I've never watched Twin Peaks, and I have no intention of rectifying the situation. It looks terrifying.
So when I heard the Earls' Juke Joint team was opening a "Twin Peaks-themed tiki bar", I was torn. On one hand, tiki bar! Who can resist that much rattan, barkcloth, hibiscus and things on fire? On the other, Twin Peaks.
Here's what I know about the show without Googling it to pretend I've watched it: there's a backwards-talking dwarf, a lot of red velvet, a hot brunette who wears plaid and can do tricks with cherry stems, another hot brunette who likes cups of coffee, and a dead blonde wrapped in plastic. Intrigue, by all reports, ensues. So far at the bar, the only noticeable overlap are the scarlet velvet curtains guiding the way to the loos. Hooray!
The pitch here, as Sydney's first and only dedicated tiki bar, is an idiosyncratic mix of tiki drinks and natural wine. It turns out owner Pasan Wijesena and team are selling a surprising amount of Pheasant's Tears and other crunchy, skin contact-y things.
I'll come back another time for the Georgian wine. Tonight, I'm here to drink something served in a ridiculous vessel, and on fire. And that means ordering a $40 Scorpion Bowl for two. It's basically a basin of rum, gin and cognac with citrus and falernum (think of it as liquid marzipan). "Contains more Sting than the Police", says the menu. We'll concur.
Cocktails in general are all going to set you back a minimum of $20 a pop but the value's sound. Take the Romero – their version of a Zombie, which involves four types of rum, grapefruit juice, half a lime set on fire and an absinthe float.
Tiki drinks are the woo girls of the cocktail world
The Vicious Virgin, as blue as the Pacific and just as dangerous to drink, sees an unholy mix of rum, tequila and blue curacao washed up with citrus and served in a hurricane glass, sporting a little paper umbrella.
Friday, it's been nice knowing you. Saturday, you're going to be a challenge.
A few things are on their way, including a functioning kitchen and menu to go along with it. More excitingly, they're going to be serving cocktails out of a giant clam (apparently they have a "clam man").
Look, tiki drinks are not for everyone. They're sweet and colourful and silly and overly enthusiastic – they are the woo girls of the cocktail world, and after a few they all get a little same-y. But they are fun. And if you can't love them for that, you need your pulse checked.
Pro Tip: Turn up early to be guaranteed a seat, otherwise prepare to queue
Go-to Dish: The Vicious Virgin, despite the colour and composition, is actually incredibly crisp and refreshing