The quality of Sydney’s small bar scene is somewhat under appreciated. Recently we were in Wellington and were amazed at the quality of food and drink, but it all honesty you don’t need to travel to New York, London or Wellington to sample some of the world’s best cocktails because Sydney offers it in droves.
Hinky Dinks is truly one of Sydney’s hidden gems. Strangely I handed stepped foot in the retro inspired venue before attending an event there one evening. Even stranger, I didn’t try one cocktail at that event because it was a wine tasting – it was the exceptional food that brought us back!
It’s a shame that these small businesses have been burdened by ‘lock out’ laws when the clientele that visit them are interested in attacking nothing but quality cocktails and delicious food. After addressing the topic with owner Dan we jumped straight into sampling some of Hinky Dinks signature drinks with head bartender James Irvine at the helm.
To say James harbours a wealth of knowledge regarding mixology is probably an understatement. He recently created and marketed ‘The Old Man and The Daiquiri’, a mix of Bacardi, maraschino, pomegranate, fresh lime and champagne which earned him a top 5 spot in the Bacardi Legacy competition. Outside of his Bacardi Legacy efforts he is an encyclopaedia of modern and classic cocktail know how and makes sitting at the bar the best seat in the house.
We kicked things off with a plate of Polenta chips, the very item that brought us back (I can’t recall eating anything so moorish) while James began mixing up some of Hinky Dinks house specialities, a tiki style Zombie and an ultra refreshing Gypsy Blood. A Jimmy’s Painkiller and a Chipotle Tommy’s followed in quick succession and we soon came to realise the depth of the cocktail list providing a great range of tastes, styles and ingredients.
Hinky Dinks is one of those places where you can get carried away, very easily. The continued quality of food and drink begs you to sample more and once James starts chatting to you about your favourite cocktails, and suggesting things he thinks you’d like (which are obviously spot on), you’re double parked with an Aviation and a Mary Pickford, making tomorrow’s 6am cycle seem very unlikely.
Fortunately, a tasty snack isn’t too far away. Dan has ensured his food offering is as solid as his cocktail list and is well-known for his sensational Parmesan and Olive sandwich, Jalapeño croquettes and Hinky Zinger burger, among other menu highlights.
Dan is a seriously likeable chap, and unsurprisingly has created a seriously likeable bar with a great atmosphere – perfect for a quick drink or a night of indulgence. If you’re yet to visit Hinky Dinks, you’ve got a very pleasant surprise waiting for you.
185 Darlinghurst Rd