Palmer and Co

Bars , Cocktail bars Sydney
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Photograph: Daniel Boud
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It’s a prohibition bunker party and everyone is invited

God damn Palmer and Co smells good! As soon as you get to the bottom of the stairs that lead down from Abercrombie Lane, it hits you. It’s a potent combo of melted cheese and salty meats, the main culprits being the mac ’n’ cheese, meatballs and a malty cheese and ale fondue that comes with a warm pretzel. It’s a siren song that demands you sit down, order drinks and get to snacking.

The underground space is massive but Palmer and Co has a devoted following and stays open late so there’s never stacks of seats to spare. Once you’re comfy it’s time to let the deft, vintage-styled staff take care of you. Cut through all the rich bar food with a Blind Tiger that starts with a foundation of Maker’s Mark bourbon and then adds rich oloroso sherry, nutty house made orgeat, cumquat for a citrus bite and cardamom bitters. It sounds short and potent but is actually served long over ice so all the flavours have room to mingle. Even though you’re deep under the city, there’s still summertime vibes to be found in a classic El Diablo, a tasty devil cloaked in white tequila, blackcurrant liqueur, lime juice and ginger.

Your soundtrack to this underground shindig is care of the live jazz band doing swing covers of Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Wish’ and the White Stripes’ marching anthem ‘Seven Nation Army’. It’s weird, but it totally works, as does the army of guys and dolls in their ’20s-themed get up. The commitment to theme gives this bar an immersive quality that makes you want to keep coming back for a old-timey top up.

Time for another round? The house special on our last visit was a Paperback, and the designer clearly had tastes that aligned with our own, because the boozy, bitter orange beverage that arrives features all our favourite things in a late-night tipple – Glenmorangie that’s been aged in sweet wine barrels, apricot brandy, bitter Cynar, cold drip coffee and a double bitter hit from Fernet-Branca.

Some late-night haunts take a turn for the worse when the clock strikes midnight, but Palmer and Co is for the devilishly attractive, not the demonically boozed. We’re not hiding our hijinks from the prohibition unit, but here is an excellent spot to hide out from the lockout chaos above ground with ace cocktails and cheesey bar snacks for company.

Venue name: Palmer and Co
Contact:
Address: Abercrombie Ln
2000
Opening hours: Mon-Wed, Sat 5pm-late; Thu, Fri noon-late; Sat, Sun 5pm-late
Price: Up to $100
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