Robb Report Australia

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One of New York’s finest speakeasies has set up shop in Sydney

Anyone familiar with the best in hospitality will be dropping everything to book their seat at the Employees Only bar opening this Saturday in Barrack Street, in Sydney’s CBD. While serving Employees Only signature cocktails like the “Manhattan Cocktail”, the local team is also trying its hand at capturing Sydney’s style with a concoction named “The Down Payment”, made with Barsol Pisco shaken with avocado (of course), fresh lime, Strega and Aqua Faba.

Principal Bartender Robert Krueger describes the cocktails as a “great mixture of diligence and fun” in a venue where it can be “the kind of place that experts in the field want to hang out at and invite their friends to join them”.

Anticipate a New York Bistro-styled menu using fresh local produce and Australian native ingredients such as quandong Karkella and saltbush. What sets this menu apart is the traditional Employees Only “staff meal” option: made each day for the staff on shift, it’s also extended to guests as a special on the menu. It’s about reflecting the philosophy of treating customers as part of the family.

The bar is situated in the basement of a heritage-listed building located near Sydney’s Martin Place, and there’s a surprise waiting at the end of the stairs – if visitors wish to partake. The space has been designed and fitted out to echo the original New York bar in almost every way with a brass bar-top, backlit glass shelves and a mirrored back-bar. Pretentious, moi?

If there are the straggling guests still sipping on a Manhattan in the early hours, another tradition of the New York speakeasy will come into play. This ritual presents the last people in the bar with a bowl of chicken soup, crafted from a 15-year-old family recipe … meaning, it’s time to go home.

Employees Only Sydney

9a Barrack Street, Sydney Monday-Saturday – 5pm-3am Late night dinner – 11pm-2.30am Sunday – 5pm-12am

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