There’s a small bar in the basement of an otherwise innocuous building on Clarence Street that’s become my favourite bar of the moment. Called Grandma’s, it calls itself a “retro-sexual haven of cosmopolitan kitsch and faded granny glamour” on its website and to be honest I just can’t beat that description.
Once you climb down the stairs past the animal head with horns on the wall you’ll find exposed brick walls, retro furniture and the occasional tiki touch such as cockatoo wall paper and a tropical cocktail menu with plenty of punches, rum and tequila cocktails.
It’s a Saturday night and I’m drinking a Papa Doble (Hemingway daiquiri) while waiting for my gay wingman to join me – he’s running late because he’s having dinner at his grandmother’s place (and yes, the coincidence doesn’t escape me). Personally, I can’t imagine spending Saturday night at my grannie’s place but hey – the GW has always been a far kinder soul than me.
However, the daiquiri is good enough to increase my benevolence toward my fellow man: made with Havana Club rum, maraschino liqueur, fresh lime and grapefruit juice, it’s perfectly made. It’s one of those cocktails that are strong and yet refreshing, with the tartness of the grapefruit balancing the sweetness and unique flavour of the maraschino. Hemingway may have been a drunk but he sure knew his cocktails.
There are also beers and ciders available and when I finish my daiquiri I order a Monteiths Summer Ale, which is a good Kiwi beer. I’m just checking out the food menu – they serve jaffles (you can choose from chicken, cheese, spaghetti and vegetarian ones) as well as biltong and curried cashews – when the GW finally arrives and apologises for his tardiness, explaining that his granny was plying him with margaritas and he lost track of time. This makes me somewhat jealous since all I get at family functions are matzo ball soup and guilt.
Despite believing that Melbourne bars are better than Sydney’s, even the GW grudgingly admits this is a good bar. Funk music is playing, the service is friendly and the crowd is casual and relaxed. If my grandma’s place was like this, I’d be a far more doting grandson myself.
Grandma’s bar, basement, 275 Clarence Street, Sydney. See the Grandma’s bar website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Grandma’s bar?