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Dean and Nancy on 22

  • Bars
  • Sydney
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. The dining room at Dean and Nancy on 22
    Photograph: Dan Boud
  2. The main bar at Dean and Nancy on 22
    Photograph: Daniel Boud
  3. The Rosella cocktail at Dean and Nancy on 22
    Photograph: Daniel Boud
  4. The Make it a Double cocktail at Dean and Nancy on 22
    Photograph: Daniel Boud
  5. The Rhapsody in Blue cocktail at Dean and Nancy on 22
    Photograph: Daniel Boud

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Take a time warp back to the golden era of 1960s New York without ever stepping outside of Sydney

For a Sydney bar to be considered as having a great view, it's usually mandatory to have the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the line of sight. Or at the very least, an unobstructed glimpse of some water. But at Dean and Nancy on 22, its seemingly duff location, surrounded on all sides by CBD skyscrapers, is very much part of the appeal. Summoning the spirit of a 1960s New York cocktail lounge, you could very well mistake Sydney’s city blocks for those of Downtown Manhattan (if you don't look too closely). Sure, it may not be quite Madison Avenue, but George Street will still do.

Created by the team behind multi-award-winning cocktail bar Maybe Sammy, this lofty lounge isn’t just resting on the laurels of its penthouse perch, 22 storeys up atop the A by Adina hotel tower. George Livissianis’ interiors are a glossy timewarp of tiger-striped carpets, dusky-veined black marble, leather upholstery and brushed brass accents that mirror both the amber sunsets that dance off every polished surface in the afternoon and the golden illuminations that light up the double-height ceilings after dark. It’s Vegas. It’s Mafia-chic. It’s the Rat Pack and Mad Men and Frank Sinatra crooning to Monroe and Kennedy. But (somewhat astonishingly) it’s not a cliche. This is largely thanks to the tongue-in-cheek charisma that underpins the vision for this bar, reminding you that, for all its luxe finery, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Far from being the sole haunt of the New York elites of yesteryear, everyone is welcome to have a good time here. 

Look no further than the cocktail menu to see this writ large. Sticking with Maybe Sammy’s pedigree of play, every carefully crafted drink has some kind of trick up its sleeve. Rolling a Double – a refreshing mingle of coconut water, Agricole rum and Havana 3 garnished with a pineapple leaf, ideal for a sundowner – comes with a pair of dice. Roll a double and you’ll win a complimentary glass of bubbles. A Rhapsody in Blue – a rich, syrupy combo of Martell VS Cognac, Arbeg 10 and PX Sherry, with a wafer of candied banana to bring it together – comes with a QR code cleverly printed onto the garnish. Scan it, and you’ll be served up a Spotify link to the Gershwin masterwork that inspired it.

Other drinks are more experiential than interactive. The Rosella – a light yet complex mix of citrus, vodka and curaçao – comes crowned with a bubble filled with aromatic mist that envelops the drinker in a puff of vapour on their first extremely ‘grammable sip. 23rd & Broadway – a clever riff on a classic Old Fashioned using Madeira to sweeten the deal – also blows some smoke, with a piece of smouldering sandalwood that leaves a hint of char on the inside of an earthenware cup you then decanter your beverage into.

The dining menu is perhaps less playful but no less showstopping. Much of it is designed for sharing, so go big and splash out on the impressive seafood tower, stacked with a selection of seasonal maritime delights words could only fail to do justice to. There are also smaller bites for more intimate visits, like the kingfish tartare, an Asian twist brought together with white sesame oil, mirin, and pickled ginger, or the chorizo croquettes accompanied by a spicy mayonnaise. It’s a cleverly ambidextrous food offering by executive chef Jane Strode (formerly of Rockpool and Bistrode) that can cater to a dinner crowd in search of a substantial feed within the main dining area, or to a more casual clientele in the smaller north-facing bar, who may just want a tasty sidekick to accompany their cocktail.

Maxim Boon
Written by
Maxim Boon


2 Hunter St
View Website
Opening hours:
Wed-Sat 4.30-11.30pm
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