16 Phillip Ln Sydney, NSW 2000
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
It's a bird, it's a plane. No, wait, it's a bar. If the one thing missing out of your drinking diet is a place styled with mid-forties fly-boy sensibilities, a cocktail menu Don the Beachcomber wouldn't hate and snacks that Margaret Fulton probably featured at many an early eighties dinner party, you've found it. Welcome to Kittyhawk.
Here you'll find plush comfort. Sink into deep leather banquettes and a prop an elbow at the luxurious bar that commands most of the room. The whole place puts you in mind of the sort of place the Wright brothers might've enjoyed a post-flight snifter (fun fact on that: Kittyhawk is a town in North Carolina credited for the first place the guys operated a mechanically controlled plane).
If you've enjoyed the bartending styles of Paige Aubort, Dre Walters and crew at Lobo Plantation, you'll have a pretty decent indication of the goings on here at their second venue. A Nuclear Daiquirye, for example, is white lightning in a cocktail glass. It's the straight, garnish free drink modern classic cocktail nerds know and love (just like a regular daiquiri, only chartreuse-y) but here they nuke it even further with a triple rye solution including local hooch peddlers Archie Rose's white rye. Hot dog.
It's a fairly rye heavy menu in general, really, with a Monte Carlo answering all your 'I only want a drink with three ingredients in it' needs. Here, a tiny cut cocktail glass holds an icy and bracing mix of rye, dom benedictine and a few dashes of bitters.
Not that the menu's made up entirely of booze-heavy chest-beaters. Take the Berries 3 Ways (complete with edible blue lego man garnish) as a pretty neat working example. So sure, on paper the ingredients sound like all the wrong guests sitting next to each other at a dinner party. But in the copper mug, the combination of white rum, cherry heering, smoked strawberry and citrus with a ginger beer float is surprisingly light, paired back and refreshing.
No, this is not destination dining. Unless you really dig on mussel vol au vents (which are actually surprisingly delicious). The menu as a whole is all a little brown and a little fried -but you're not here to eat, you're here to drink. And that, you can do well and deeply.
Bottom line Nuclear Daiquirye ($23); Monte Carlo ($18); Mussel vol au vents ($12)
Pro Tip: This is the Brigadoon of bars - it seems to only appear once you've schlepped up and down Philip Lane at least a thousand times