From the industry legends that brought us Sydney institutions Tio’s, Cantina OK and the Cliff Dive comes the next great nocturnal adventure: Bar Planet, a psychedelic Inner West dive-bar re-imagining the world's most divisive cocktail, the Martini.
Located smack-bang on gritty, emerging drink and dine strip Enmore Road, Bar Planet illuminates the well trod sidewalk with its signage’s neon blue hue. Inside, bent-up wrought iron light fittings reminiscent of space junk, loom over patrons while they snack on paper bags full of popcorn at the intergalactic themed bar.
Worthy of a stint in a gallery, the bar top is designed by terrazzo-wizard and artiste extraordinaire David Humphries. Studded with chunks of onyx, quartz and bright jewel-toned glass, offset with sparkling stars, glow-in-the-dark galaxies and explosive suns; it’s a bonafide showpiece.
Upon easing into the bar we were offered a ‘mouthful Martini’ — a martini shot poured from spectacular heights from an impressive Spanish carafe. At once we wonder how we’ve wasted our lives shooting other spirits, while a fellow patron can be heard exclaiming: "That was a romantic explosion in my mouth."
Of course we had to try the Bar Planet classic Martini made with Infinite Spirit and garnished with a green olive stuffed with lemon jelly. The Infinite Spirit is a world first. Co-owners Jeremy Blackmore, Daisy Tulley and Alex Dowd worked on this at Marrickville’s Poor Tom’s Distillery. A seasonal gin made with local produce (in this case heritage apples from Borry Gartrell at Borrodell Estate) they plan to continually spike the master batch with seasonal fruit, creating an ever evolving gin stock. Who needs bone-broth in winter when there’s gin?
The drinks menu is short, snappy and carefully considered. The cocktails are subject to seasonal change, like the Scorpino, for example. Sparkling wine and vodka, topped with a market-fruit sorbet. Today’s is muscat grape and yes, it’s delicious.
As the early evening wanes, an eclectic mix of late '70s punk, early '90s grunge and indie pop roars from the speakers and lets you know it’s time to get weird. Our next cocktail is the Bee Sting, a delicious, fizzy, frothy concoction made with Archie Rose ‘Eau de Bee’ and Palo Santo, a sacred wild tree native to South America.
On this evening, we had the pleasure of being served by general manager, Harrison Kenney. Ex-Cantina OK, he’s one of the best young bartenders in the country and has brought an all-star cast with him. With venues such as Tio's, the Gidley, Bulletin Place and Shady Pines Saloon collectively below their belt, they know a thing or two about affable, world-class hospitality.
The Bar Planet team has managed to pulled the ultimate party trick. They’ve taken an old, stiff drink with a reputation for being elitist and outdated, and transformed it into a fun, unpretentious, and out of this world experience.