If you want a real education then keep walking past Sydney University and head into Kuleto’s, where you can drink old and often forgotten standards such as the Pina Colada, Manhattan and the Red Corvette (Midori, Frangelico and strawberry liqueur blended with fresh strawberries and crushed ice).
Kuleto’s has a reputation for luring uni students thanks to its happy hour (Monday – Friday, 6-7:30pm and Saturday, 6 – 7:00pm) – after all, there aren’t many places where you can get two cocktails for $14 – but the question is, are they any good?
Even though I’ve been here in the past and have hazy memories of martinis and margaritas, all of which I recall being decent but not particularly memorable, I decide in the name of investigative journalism to come back with a friend who orders a Pina Colada while I opt for the Manhattan.
The Pina Colada is white, frothy, tastes a little like a tropical ice-cream and is much nicer than I’d have thought – in fact, even though this drink has lost most of its cred with modern bartenders I have to admit I wouldn’t mind trying it again. The official drink of Puerto Rico, it’s made with light rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice.
The Manhattan, however, is more to my taste and is a drink that should definitely come back into vogue. Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters (and served with a maraschino cherry) this has a strong, clean and slightly sweet taste.
Kuleto’s has changed since the last time I was here and in addition to a paint job it now has two upper levels, including the rooftop – which is just as well considering how packed the ground floor bar can get. With its brothel-red walls, lounge music and dark, almost retro atmosphere, however, it is still the kind of cocktail bar that every student in need of basic training should visit at least once.
Kuletos, 157 King Street, Newtown. See the Kuleto’s website
Now it’s your turn – how do you rate Kuleto’s?