Jester Seeds has now sadly closed.
There are light bulbs suspended in glass jars, newspaper used as wallpaper, empty picture frames on the wall and a quirky red-topped wooden bar counter. This is Jester Seeds, Newtown’s latest small bar – and it’s good to see a drinking hole that genuinely suits the area’s vibe.
I’m here on a Saturday night with my gay wingman, who likes the unpretentious atmosphere. Most of the seating involves retro second-hand armchairs and lounges (which matches the retro music – the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds is playing while we’re here) but we claim the two bar stools and perch at the counter.
I order the Cascadeur, which is made with Campari, lemon juice, almond and orange syrup and topped with sparkling red wine ($16). The result is tart, bitter and although it’s good I’m not in love with it. Once I get through the initial layer of sparkling, however, I find myself enjoying it much more – perhaps it needed just a little less of the sparkling to begin with to make it work perfectly.
The gay wingman orders the Penicillin, made with Johnnie Walker, lemon juice, honey, ginger syrup, egg white and topped with Ardberg Islay single malt ($17). The smokiness hits first and foremost, and while the GW initially finds it a bit overpowering he also starts enjoying it more once he gets past the Islay topping.
The service here, however, is faultless – friendly, fast and seemingly genuine. They’ve also got an eclectic food menu: Marinated beef tacos, seafood pancakes, ceviche and chicken ball skewers, while their special of the night is ox tongue skewers. We’re not sure if this is a genuine special or an expression of the bar’s sense of humour, and we’re too ashamed to ask because we figure we’d seem ignorant either way.
Overall, though, we both love this bar, from the backroom with exposed brick walls to the astro-turfed courtyard. It’s funky without being tacky and laid back without being lazy. But I’m still not sure about the ox tongue skewers