I can’t help thinking of sewage as I drink a cocktail in Palmer and Co, which is Merivale’s (ie Justin Hemme’s) take on a small bar.
Thoughts of sewage isn’t, however, necessarily a bad thing – after all, this is located underneath the Tank Stream Bar and showcases the old exposed bricks and arches of Sydney’s old tank stream, which was originally a source of fresh water before it became a sewer.
Like many small bars, Palmer and Co is going for a vintage feel. The DJ booth is disguised behind a vintage fliptop table and plays 1920s music, the female staff are dressed as flappers, there’s wooden beams, candles and zinc countertops, as well as retro kitsch galore, from an ancient boxing bag to some old hats and a leather cap in a lighted display case that makes me think of the video clip to Closer.
I really, genuinely want to say that I’m actually getting bored with the whole faux speakeasy small bar thing – but I have to admit, Palmer and Co takes it so far I’m still pretty impressed.
The food menu is odd, since it’s filled with old Manhattan style Jewish meals such as matzo ball soup, chopped liver and corned beef on rye. I mean, I was brought up on this stuff and even I wouldn’t touch chopped liver if you paid me (although I do have an addiction to matzo ball soup and want to try Palmer and Co’s one on my next visit).
The drinks menu is on steadier ground. There’s a ridiculous number of rums, gins, whiskies, wine, etc available, while the cocktail list is filled with classics such as the Blood and Sand as well as some specialities.
I try the Hollywood Sour, which is made with a hefty amount of Angostura bitters, Calvados, apple and lemon juice, as well as orgeat and vanilla syrup. It’s served in a coupe glass with grated nutmeg on top and I like it a lot – it’s almost a savoury, rather than fruity, drink with some nuttiness to it.
In short (and to be frank, to my surprise) I like Palmer and Co a lot. I mean, I usually end up complimenting Merivale bars on their execution but as regular drinking haunts they’re not usually not my cup of sazerac – but Palmer and Co is good. Actually, it’s great. Hell, it might even give Baxter Inn a run for its money.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Palmer and Co?