Nothing says summer is coming like the very first rooftop bar to open for the sunshine season. Old Mate's Place is the latest destination bar added to the impressive CBD roster of drinking dens, and if the faces behind the bar look familiar, it's because Dre Walters used to sling drinks at Lobo Plantation and Kittyhawk, his wife Gabreille is formerly of Black by Ezard, and Dan Noble clocked serious time at Ramblin' Rascal Tavern. It's fair to suggest your drinks are in very good hands here.
One hundred lucky Time Out readers were able to pip bar hounds at the post by scoring an exclusive sneak peek at the new bar, which is themed like a 19th Century library that's slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. One long wall of the fourth floor bar is arched bookcases stacked with vintage volumes and old timey curios.
Upstairs under the festoon lighting was the perfect spot to crack open a frosty Red Stripe Jamaican lager and look out at the city. You feel like you're in a secluded crows nest up there, hidden amongst the plants.
Also on offer were cocktails. The Retox defied expectations, with the mix of Wild Turkey rye, activated charcoal, basil, coconut sugar, Montenegro and lemon sounding harsh but blending into a soft, herbal relaxer that's light on the palate. Rum, sherry, lemon, grape, rhubarb and pistachio combined in the Pistacia channeled serious European summer vibes, while the Mandy was a love letter to our favourite winter citrus, starring mandarins, sherry, gin, lemon and sake.
Cheese and charcuterie go with everything, but do yourself a favour and make sure you order up a Philly cheesesteak on your visit - soft roll, tender beef, onions, peppers and cheese holding it all together. It's the perfect foil for a late night out.
Old Mate's Place is now open, so if you fancy a drink with a side of gothic academia styling, seek out Old Mate's Place up on the fourth floor.
Old Mate's Place, 4/199 Clarence St, Sydney 2000. Tue-Sat 5pm-2am; Sun 2pm-2am.