This underground rum bar below Clarence Street is named after Cuban sugar baron Julio Lobo. A cluttered but cohesive mix of flamingo tiles, rattan chairs, banana palms and crumbling patina surfaces provide weathered Cuban charm. But the real visual focus is the bartenders. They create with precision. And fire, if you order the Old Grogram.
Slip into the Chesterfield booth seating and prepare for a fabulous tiki mini-break for your mouth (the kitsch cocktail illustrations on the menu will help you decide on a destination). The White Negroni Daiquiri is tart, puckered perfection, made with white rum, Lillet Blanc, Suze (a herbal, bitter spirit from France that’s gaining popularity in Sydney bars), lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Coco’s Old Fashioned is a creamy pick for rum heads with a sweet tooth, as is the Rum and Rye Old Fashioned, especially if you choose the Fiji-spiced rum as the starring booze. And the Bajan Julep – a Bramble-Mojito lovechild with practically a whole mint tree pressed in – is very refreshing.
The bar snacks are hella good, too. The empanadas are spicy little pillows of deliciousness and the three-cheese papas rellenas are smoky and soft. If you need something big and filling, order the house take on a Cuban sandwich that is packed with ham and pulled pork, cheese, mustard and pickles. There’s a whole lot of talent behind the bar here, and they take pride in a job well done. The bottom line? Make tracks to this plantation paradise, stat.