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Sydney’s Classiest New Underground Cocktail Bar Is Now Open

Sydney’s Classiest New Underground Cocktail Bar Is Now Open

Sydney cocktail bar

Melbourne is often called the NYC of Australia, thanks to its impeccably stylish locals and cool, underground cocktail bars. However, it seems Sydney may be about to give it a run for its money, with iconic New York speakeasy bar Employees Only opening its first Australian location this week.


First opened in NYC in 2004 and with locations in Miami, Singapore and Hong Kong, Employees Only are known as pioneers of the modern speakeasy and are regulars on “best bars” lists. Now, they’re bringing their signature understated elegance to the Sydney CBD, in a heritage-listed basement in Barrack Street.

Image: Employees Only

The cosy speakeasy is the perfect spot for post-work drinks or date night. Much like the bar’s other locations, the space has a mystical, Harry Potter-esque vibe, featuring the trademark “Psychic” signs, a ouija board and an in-house clairvoyant.

If your psychic reading reveals your fate involves copious amounts of cocktails (most likely), there’s plenty of delicious options to choose from. Employees Only’s signature cocktails like the Manhattan and the Ginger Smash are on offer, as well as a new drink developed by the local team, The Down Payment, an unusual combination of Barsol Pisco shaken with avocado, fresh lime, Strega, Suze and Aqua Faba.

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With two French chefs,  Aurelien Girault and Leo Garnier, at the helm, the menu features NYC bistro classics with a modern Australian twist. Think risotto with local charred Hawkesbury calamari, lamb chops wrapped in pancetta and the EO beef burger with jalapeño Monterey Jack, Bois Boudran relish, pickles and pancetta.


Employees Only officially opens its doors to the public this Saturday night. Our prediction? Sydney is about to get a whole lot classier, now that Employees Only is in town.

Where: Employees Only, 9 Barrack Street, Sydney

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