Update: The Lincoln closed its doors on Sunday 13th February. The venue is currently up for lease.
With its marble bar and slick black surfaces, The Lincoln has always been a little more genteel than most Kings Cross clubs – but what draws me in now is the news Jean Munos, formerly of Zeta Bar, has taken charge of the bar.
The result is a cocktail menu with a serious pedigree. The first two pages are dedicated to classic cocktails (and provide a mini history lesson when explaining each one) to reflect The Lincoln’s 1920s-style décor and so to get in the swing of things I order the licorice sazerac.
The sazerac is often considered the first cocktail ever invented (although Christine Sismondo contends in Mondo Cocktail that the mojito probably was) and although the standard sazerac recipe calls for rye whiskey it was originally made with cognac instead (the other ingredients being Peychauds bitters, absinthe and sugar).
Finding sazeracs in Sydney is a hard call. Some bars offer sazerac variants (a number of which work well – for example, I like Eau De Vie’s version), but The Lincoln remains closer to the original recipe than most by using Peychauds (whereas most bars use other kinds of bitters) and cognac. In fact, the only variation they made is that The Lincoln infuses the Peychauds with licorice root and adds licorice syrup rather than raw sugar. The result is fantastic – a hard-hitting yet smooth and complex aromatic cocktail with a sense of authenticity.
The menu then has a page for The Lincoln’s signature cocktails, which reflect some of the wizardry you’d expect from Zeta. An example is the Jasmine Flower, made from jasmine-infused vodka with fresh apple and which tips its hat to molecular gastronomy by having an elderflower marshmallow foam on top. The result is a light, delicate and refreshing drink that has an extra textural element thanks to the foam. It’s also fun to drink – and WingWoman, who’s accompanying me tonight, particularly enjoys it.
We also try the Vanilla Moon, which combines vanilla vodka with ginger ale, fresh lime and bitters. In my mind this makes it a bit like a smoother, more sophisticated Moscow Mule, although WingWoman doesn’t find it funny when I call it a Moscow Thoroughbred. Finally, to finish the cocktail time arc, the last few pages of The Lincoln’s menu are dedicated to cocktails that have been recently invented – or reinvented – by bartenders around the world and come with lengthy descriptions – although I’ll have to wait until my next visit here before I try them (I may have had a few drinks before coming to The Lincoln …)
It’s a Friday night and WingWoman has become emboldened enough by liquor to begin boogieing. The DJ subsequently becomes so impressed by WingWoman’s gyrations that he gives her some of his CDs but space is becoming scare as The Lincoln becomes busier (I’ve been told it’s more sedate here during the week). The downstairs dancefloor, which comes complete with a mirrorball-laden ceiling, is sadly closed for the night so we head upstairs where we find a separate bar and more seating. There’s not a lot of dancing space but WingWoman decides to spread her wings here anyway.
I began this review by using the adjective “genteel” but by the time WingWoman and I depart a more appropriate adjective for The Lincoln would be lively – possibly even chaotic – thanks to the young crowd and the DJ. I’m not complaining – to be honest, I’ve been known to bust a few dance moves myself (although it’s never a pretty sight) – but I think next time I’d like to come during the week when it’ll probably be quieter, just so I can snare a cushion under the open French windows at the front and watch the Cross’s various denizens pass by.
Update: since writing this The Lincoln has launched a new oyster bar on Friday evenings, where the oysters are shucked in front of you while DJ Somatik plays.
The Lincoln, 36 Bayswater Road, Potts Point. Phone 9331 2311 or see The Lincoln website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate The Lincoln?