There are a growing number of small bars in Newtown, but not many with an outdoor terrace. Tandem’s sunny back patio is best enjoyed on balmy evenings with a cocktail in hand. They’re made with lesser-known spirits and the help of a lot of local and NSW providers.

There’s the gentle, aromatic Brookie’s Slow Gin made in Byron Bay using Davidson plums rather than sloe berries; the grass-scented Husk Distillers pure cane, a rum from Mt Warning in northern NSW made with sugar cane juice rather than molasses; and from Sydney’s CBD, PS40’s richly spiced aquavit, the Scandinavian answer to gin that uses botanicals such as fennel, caraway, dill and cinnamon myrtle in place of juniper.

“Being a start-up bar, we’re trying to keep things as exciting as we can with our resources,” says owner Peter Lynn.

That means looking nearby for ingredients and products to use. The Martini Aurora is a take on the Martini. It’s made with PS40’s cardamom and caraway gin. Lightly Buzzed features sparkling wine, Marrickville’s Poor Toms gin and gelato from vegan gelataria Gelato Blue up the road.

“We use Redfern raw honey in our cocktails; we use espresso from Campos next door and we also make an orgeat [a sweet syrup] out of Campos’s stale almond croissants,” he says. “Right now four of our drinks are collaborations, but eventually I’d like it to be the whole menu.”

Bucking the trend of bars serving snacks, Tandem’s remit is a bold one: to focus on drinks alone. “I don’t see the point in trying to be something we’re not. There’s so much great food in Newtown, but there aren’t enough cocktails.”

That said, there is a small cheese platter that goes well with the exclusively Australian wine list, and if you do feel like a bigger meal, you can eat takeaway pizza from next door’s very hard-to-get-into Bella Brutta, and BL Burgers delivers a limited menu to the bar. “We take the money and order here, ring them up and they run the food over for us.”

Tandem
127 King Street, Newtown

Hours:
Tue, Wed & Thu 4pm–12am
Fri & Sat 3pm–12am
Sun 12pm–9pm

tandemnewtown.com