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Konichiwa bitches! There’s a boozy new karaoke joint in town
It was a mammoth job transforming the old Tailors on Central into a Japanese booze and snack palace. The first round of the extreme makeover covered the basics, but the space still felt deserted on a quiet night. Round two has finally banished the last vestiges of that dreary tavern – it's now Goros, a low-lit bar decked out in splashes of rainbow neon, figurines, lanterns, bamboo and three kickass-looking karaoke booths.
That’s right. You can loosen up those vocal cords over drinks before cranking out your best J Cash rendition without having to change venues.
This is the place for a tankard of Kirin. Back it up with an Asahi or Sapporo in a properly chilled glass, and you've got a refreshment hat trick on your hands.
Our friendly bartender is only too happy to steer a sake novice towards what he calls the sauvignon blanc of sake – the Yoshinogawa ‘Gensen Karakuchi’. We’re told that "it’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, but it’s a crowd pleaser." And he’s bang on the money.
Unless you like your drinks cordial sweet, opt for the highballs built on Japanese whiskies. There’s Kakubin mixed with lemon juice and soda or Yamazaki, amaro, orange blossom and soda. Like your spirits neat? They also boast an impressive line-up of Hibiki, Yamazaki and Nikka drams behind the bar.
Perhaps the Unusual Negroni is more your speed. They keep the Campari and gin from the original line-up, and add a sweet fruit liqueur (umeshu) and bitters. The result is a very distant cousin to the classic cocktail, and has a flavour reminiscent of Big Red cinnamon chewing gum.
Too many big beers and your power ballad skills might get sloppy, so be sure to fortify yourself with some snacks. Share plates arrive piled with golden fried cubes of salt and pepper tofu, or tender, silky gyoza. Those mayo-laced dumplings are conveniently available until the wee hours, along with fried chicken and two-minute ramen for late-night recharging. It’s also worth ordering some tasty things on sticks – there's chicken thigh, wagyu, mushrooms, salmon, lamb and pork belly.
When you’re not making your own sweet music in the iPad-operated karaoke booths, the playlist is a hip-hop greatest hits mix racking up Afrika Bambaataa, Pete Rock, Big Boi, and that Max-a-Million cover of 'Sexual Healing' that crops up on all '90s playlists if you listen long enough.
Early in the week things can get quiet, which means one of the bamboo booths is easy pickings. But once the weather warms, you’ll find us out to one side in the open courtyard, which is strung with lanterns and Japanese bunting.
It may have been a work in progress earlier this year, but Goros has hit its stride and now brings after-hours, Tokyo dive bar vibes to Sydney. Come here for low-key drinks and snacks in the middle of the week, or go all out on a boozy karaoke jamboree to celebrate the weekend. It's all a good time.
84-86 Mary St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed noon-midnight; Thu noon-1am; Fri noon-3am; Sat 5pm-3am|