There weren’t any small bars in Sydney when I launched Bar Zine over four years ago. Back then people were still campaigning for the licensing laws to be changed and my friends didn’t understand why I would launch this site in Sydney rather than Melbourne.
To me, however, the answer was simple: I liked the challenge of finding great cocktails in a city that wasn’t renowned for them. I liked the idea of finding a hotel bar that made a great martini, or a restaurant bar where the bartenders would punch far above their weight (and I’m thinking especially of the now-defunct Rambutan here).
These days, however, the challenge of writing bar reviews has gone for me – and that’s a good thing. There are so many small bars that I think Sydney now rivals Melbourne, and the quality of cocktails has risen so much across the board that when I go to a bar and ask for a sazerac (a cocktail I used to struggle to find in bars) the bartender will usually know how to make one.
Charles Bukowski once wrote a poem called So you want to be a writer that I’ve always loved. It’s a poem that begs people not to write unless the words burst and roar out of them, unless “it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut”.
I desperately wish more journalists and bloggers would take that advice.
Well, now that there are countless other sites that review Sydney bars, I don’t see a need for me to continue writing reviews – and so I’m going to change Bar Zine considerably. I’m not entirely sure what it will become yet, but I do promise that it won’t become a cat blog, that the design will become more minimal, the focus will be more on spirits and cocktails than individual bar reviews, and that I’ll only ever write when the words roar out of me.
Hopefully you’ll stick around for the journey.