If you’re a retrosexual like me then Honey Rider ticks all the boxes. Named after a James Bond girl? Check. A bar counter up front with leather stools you can perch on with a devil may care swagger? Check. 70s-style lounges down the back where you can lure the North Shore women with pick-up lines straight from a Playboy magazine? Check – not that any of the lines work for me.
What really impresses me, though, is the blackboard behind the bar counter that shows all the different bourbons and rums they can make an Old Fashioned cocktail with.
I opt for the Bulleit bourbon Old Fashioned ($17), made with vanilla sugar and orange bitters, and watch as the bartender slowly adds the bourbon, then some ice cubes, and stirs, before adding more bourbon and stirring again, and repeating the process a third time. Whether or not this is the best way to make an Old Fashioned is arguable – some say it is, others believe it dilutes the drink too much. However, as I’m always hungry for any attention that’s bestowed on me – or my drinks – I’m happy to watch the repetition of stirring and pouring. My only quibble is that the bartender then serves it without any orange peel – but the other bartender (possibly the manager) notices this and then comes up to flame a peel and twist it into my drink to finish it off, which I appreciate.
With that note of cocktail nerdery out of the way I can now quickly deal with the ambiance: blues music is playing, upside down pot plants hang from the ceiling, there are exposed brick walls, a collection of old siphons above the back bar, wooden floorboards and lots of women. Then again, every bar I go to in the North Shore has more women than the bars in the inner city – perhaps it’s time I gave up on my pseudo hipster ways and moved north.
PS oh yes: I forgot to cover other basic details that should go in a review such as:
- Food: there’s pizza from $9.50
- Beer: they have 4 Pines Heffenweizen beer (which I love) for $7
- Girly cocktails: available, such as the Cham 69 – Chambord, Smirnoff black, Amaretto, fresh lime juice and lemonade for $16
- Classic cocktails other than the Old Fashioned: include mojitos, Vespers and the negroni
- Conclusion: A cute, stylish bar with counter stools, a love of classic drinks and just a hint of swagger.
Honey Rider, 230 Military Road, Neutral Bay. Open Tuesday to Saturday until midnight, Sunday until 10pm. See the Honey Rider website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Honey Rider?
View Larger Map