After closing down the lauded Der Raum to start Gamsei, “a produce driven Der Raum 2.0” in Munich, Matt Bax has left Bar Americano (and soon to come Bar Economico) in its wake. But far from an ode to the past, this wake is all about the liqour. A side-step off a dogleg, Bar Americano is a small cocktail bar in the CBD with a nod towards prohibition America both in its off the beaten path location and its dedication to good drink.
The cocktails served are classic too in their austerity of ingredients so this isn’t the place to come for the fruit-juice-in-a-jug cocktail. Three is the magic number when it comes to most drinks, like their Negroni made from gin, Campari, and vermouth, perhaps with orange bitters to taste, but not to hide the alchohol as they’re more fond of the stiffer drinks here.
Inside the bar is decorated with the subtle swagger you’d expect to find in Sean Connery’s den: lacquered wood and copper sit in proud contrast to white tiling on the walls. The smaller size lends itself to quality control as there simply isn’t room for anything extraneous and as Bax says: “with a bigger size comes compromises, I’m not good at compromises”. Though pulling up a crate for a coffee outside isn’t frowned upon, seating at the bar is for the meek as standing is the norm. This suits their clientele who come for a quality drink or two after work rather than stay for hours and drink themselves into a stupor. And because Bar Americano comes from fine breeding you can be guaranteed that the drinks are quality, especially as the bar is headed by Hayden Lambert, whose cocktail menus have won numerous awards throughout the U.K. and internationally.
Americano has a regularly revolving menu so they are “only using produce when it should be used”. Although, if you meet Negroni’s and Fernet Pallini amaros with a blank stare then the personal element of the bar will work in your favour because as well as the menu offerings, the bartenders encourage you to discuss your tastes with them so they can concoct a drink for your pallet. This style of service is a homage to the class of European hospitality which in its emulation of the ‘American bar’, exceeded what Americans were used to in service.
Adding to that personal element is the ‘no photos’ policy’. “I want people to enjoy their drinks fresh and cold. Drinking should be about socialising and being in the moment not blogging or flashing cameras spoiling the ambience and disturbing other guests” comments Bax, and we couldn’t agree more.
Head down to Bar Americano for a taste of everything that Australian drinking culture should be. Open from 8:30am to 1:00am daily for the best in coffee, edibles, and drink.
20 Presgrave Place
(03) 9428 0055