It’s 22 storeys above Sydney. It’s Vegas. It’s Mafia-chic. It’s the Rat Pack and Mad Men and Frank Sinatra. But, somewhat astonishingly, it’s not a cliché. 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. The ultimate charm of Dean & Nancy comes from the total suspension of reality. Few and far between are venues where you’ll be met by a siren's song, a double bass and a baby grand piano, the musicians dressed to the nines in full golden age garb. This place is special and Very Grown Up, which is why we love it.
Our respect goes to anyone who opens a cocktail bar in Sydney: you’re playing with the big kids now. We can be smug indeed about the breadth and depth of our cocktail bar scene, which has won more international gongs than Cate Blanchett and boasts something to satisfy every whim. Do you enjoy chugging your tipple of choice from bespoke glassware? Do you love nothing more than a grandiose tropical cocktail thanks to that P&O cruise you took back in the '70s? Are you hankering for a bit of theatrical showmanship when the bartender grabs the shaker? Sydney's bar scene has your back.
But the times, they are a-changin' too. We’ve finally come to grips with the fact that single-serve pre-batched cocktails aren’t the work of the devil and can in fact improve customer service. We’re seeing bartenders engage in an arms race as they hunt down rare, artisan spirits crafted for specific mixes, and more than a few are making their own spirits for truly unique drinking experiences.
It’s all terribly exciting but the good news is, you don’t have to be a card-carrying cocktail tragic to enjoy Time Out’s Best Cocktail Bar shortlist. Simply order your next mixed, mingled, shaken or stirred beverage safe in the knowledge these bars have done the thinking so you can enjoy the drinking.