De Nom has now closed down. If you have any news on what will happen to the site then feel free to let us know.
A night in De Nom has always felt like being in a Mexican telenovela (soap opera) for me, even though its décor is inspired by 18th-century France. After all, amongst its chandeliers, silk-tented ceilings and antique furniture I’ve feared for my life, fallen in love twice, and been rejected and ridiculed – although you could argue the last two situations happen to me all over Sydney. But I digress: let’s focus on the bar before I start telling tales about my inadequacies.
If you’ve ever been to the palace of Versailles (or seen Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst) you’ll have a sense of how this bar feels – although it still has to be seen to be believed. From the velvet day bed, 23-carat gold gilt wall panels and fur rugs to the most bizarre bathroom I’ve ever seen in any bar in the world (I’ll talk about this in a moment), De Nom makes you feels like you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole – which is appropriate, since it’s located above where Ruby Rabbit used to be on Oxford Street (these days the ground floor space is taken up by the Big Rig diner – but I liked the rabbit hole analogy).
It’s open to the public but entry is far from guaranteed, if only because it’s a hot spot for visiting celebrities such as Mischa Barton – unless, that is, you’ve already purchased a $10,000 a year membership that guarantees you VIP treatment (however, new memberships are no long on offer). As such, it’s recommended to contact them first and put yourself on the list.
However, Bar Zine does wish the toilet wasn’t so cryptic to use. The first time I attempted it, after waiting in a line filled with impatient girls (I had to promise the lass behind me I wouldn’t be long when she pressured me to use the urinal – hey, I needed to use dental floss, and you mustn’t neglect your gums), I found myself in a well appointed dressing room that seemed to have everything – except the star attraction. There’s a mirror, an ornate Louis XIV chair and a bench but … no lavatory. So after flossing I began scanning each surface: is there a button I’m meant to be pushing? A revolving wall? Does it fold out from somewhere?
It’s then I heard the girls’ voices from outside:
“What’s he doing in there?” one asked impatiently.
“Probably having a masty,” another said.
I was tempted to yell out that I most certainly wasn’t having a masty when I lifted the chair’s cushion and found the porcelain bowl. I took a whiz, pressed the flush and … nothing happened.
I tried again, frantically pulling on it, but there’s not even a trickle.
“Must be a good wank,” one of the girls said.
“Why can’t they last this long during sex?” the other responded.
“I’m coming!” I screamed, before realising that could be misconstrued.
That, incidentally, was the incident I referred to above when I said I was ridiculed. I could tell you the other incidents but … well, perhaps another time. After all, this is meant to be a bar review.
So down to business: the cocktails. The signature drink is the apple and cinnamon mojito with Pampero rum, which contains apple liqueur, limes, mint, sugar and cinnamon powder. Quite frankly I believe a mojito is a classic that should simply be made with muddled limes, good quality rum, mint leaves, sugar syrup and served on ice (the less soda water, the better) but then again, I am a purist (and possibly a wanker). Other cocktails on the list include the Lychee Rose Fig and Ginger Martini, the Watermelon and Basil Smash and the Tokyo Bloody Mary, all of which, yet again, don’t exactly tinkle my bell – but the ladies I’ve been here with (and who inevitably ended up rejecting me) were all happy with them. Furthermore, to give the bartenders some credit, when I asked them to make me a whiskey sour they did, and it was excellent.
These days the club seems to be winding down – when I last visited, on a Friday, the place was closed although I’ve contacted De Nom and they assured me the place is still open on Fridays and Saturdays (and it used to be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays – although now that’s only for private functions). Still, if you’ve never checked it out then it’s worth a look.
De Nom, 231 Oxford St (on the top floor), Darlinghurst, Sydney (located above Ruby Rabbit). Phone 9332 9197 or see the De Nom website. Open Friday and Saturday until late. Don’t even bother getting there before nine unless told otherwise.
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate De Nom?