Friday, May 20, 2011

Shirt Bar: Hanging with the suits and shirts

Another week, another new city small bar. I won’t pretend that I don’t like it and I won’t deny that I’m drinking more often – but it’s quality and not quantity.

Shirt Bar is located in the very corporate Sussex Lane; a pedestrian laneway onto which Small Bar spills out, connecting Kent and Sussex Streets behind Erskine Street. On a Friday evening, the suits almost outnumber the shirts; the latter being the ones hanging for sale in half the space that is the retail side of Shirt Bar (brands on sale currently are Ganton, Jensen and Louka & Sabina).

Mojito at Shirt Bar, Sussex Lane, Sydney
The front page of the menu consists entirely of whiskies; and there are quite a few bourbons, rums and tequilas to follow; just one each of gin and vodka; two each of white and red wine, and bubbles; and two Peroni beers. Nothing like a strong hand to guide you towards dark spirits.

Cocktails are limited to two on the menu, but the bar staff were also happy to do a mojito of Havana Club Anejo 7 dark rum and raw sugar syrup, stirred in a short, mint-rubbed glass with soda, lots of ice and mint garnish.

Espresso martini
One of the menu cocktails is the espresso martini – made with FAT Coffee which is served in the café. I’m not a decaf person but after a buzzy morning coffee, I went for the caffeine-free to the endless amusement and chagrin of the barista/barman.

The espresso shot is shaken with vanilla-infused vodka, Illy coffee liqueur and sugar, and ends up in the glass with an airy crema intact. And for the garnish, frothed milk (forgot to ask for skim, but not sure if that may have gotten me thrown out), a few shakes of nutmeg and three coffee beans – a work of caffeine and alcohol art.

For a coffee it was a bit watery, but for a cocktail it had just the hint of alcohol beneath the coffee flavour and creamy top – quite the ideal pick-me-up-and-put-me-down-gently drink for after work.

Olives with grissini

The peckish among us chose from olives, cheese or charcuterie to nibble on. A dainty teacup filled with savoury olives – black and green – of all sort of sizes was just the thing, the miniscule ones just as satisfying too.

The grissini seemed to be home-made and simply fabulous – like miniature, super crunchy baguettes – and so adored that it warranted another order of olives to help down the next round of drinks and shirts/suits watching.

The suits seemed bemused with the shirts on sale as they stood around with their Peronis, while the staff were equally well-shirted and extremely obliging. I’m not a fan of shirts at work, but I’m certainly a fan of Shirt Bar after work.

Shirt Bar on Urbanspoon


Zina @ tastedbytwo said...

Ooo! I heard about Shirt Bar on Springwise, what a cool concept.

Christy said...

Lovely place to hang out!:D

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Interesting concept but I guess it's more retail than a bar as I certainly won't go there just for a drink unless I'm looking for a suit or a shirt :)

Blair James said...

This is pretty interesting. My husband would love to see this. It's more like a shopping store with a glass of wine which is totally not allowed in a real shopping store.

Thanks for sharing!

shaz said...

Never been more magical words than Espresso martini :) Great to meet you tonight!

Tina said...

Hi Zina - Pretty unique, could probably just do with a slightly bigger menu

Hi Christy - I agree, it's good fun.

Hi chopinandmysaucepan - It's equally bar and retail, so you're not under any obligation/pressure to buy a shirt... :)

Hi Blair - No probs :)

Hi Shaz - Lovely to meet you too

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Oh how interesting, literally a bar which sells shirts ;D mmm that espresso martini sounds like the perfect pick me up at the end of the working week :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

There are so many little themed bars popping up everywhere now! Interesting concept!

Rebecca @InsideCuisine said...

Espresso martini is definitely all the rage! Thanks hadn't heard about this particular one ... @frombecca

hollypop said...

now i wanna go!
like i don't have a long enough list of places to get tipsy at.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Hi Angie - Yep. I hope Shoe Bar is next!

Hi Lorraine - Yep, loving the small bars :)

Hi Rebecca - No probs :)

Hi hollypop - Same here - an ever-growing list...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm yum! My friend recently fell in love with espresso martinis so it's time to take her here!

Tina said...

Hi minibites - I must admit that this was my first espresso martini... and I like!


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