Gilt is Sydney's newest CBD hidey hole perfect for bona fide cocktail aficionados.

Tucked away between Topshop and Sydney's iconic State Theatre is Gilt Lounge. As QT Hotel's sultry grown up cocktail lounge, Gilt takes things to a whole new mixology level. And this place is tops, quite literally. Walk past Parlour Lane Roasters, up the elevators, through Gowings Bar & Grill and up another flights of stairs. Welcome to Gilt.

Gilt is the femme fatale of Sydney's bar scene: smoldering, secretive and sophisticated. Think eclectic, industrial chic for the interior; the large space is broken up into clusters of soft couches and dim mood lighting. As the name suggests, the venue is a place to linger and lounge. It's a destination, rather than a stopover, for conversation and cocktails. The steady stream after-workers passing in and out of the bar gives it an upbeat buzz without feeling over crowded.

And what you're really here for are the expert cocktails. Shakers will be tossed in the air and drinks finished with a flourish. A must-try is the Applewood Bacon Old Fashioned ($19), a wild combination of Applewood bacon-infused buffalo trace bourbon, black peppercorn-infused demerara sugar, creole bitters chocolate covered bacon and flamed orange. Yes, you read right. Chocolate. Covered. Bacon. It's a flavour fusion gamble that definitely pays off.

Another hit is the Sweet Lady ($18) — ciroc vodka, lemon balm, sugar, fresh lime, egg white, mint bitters — a twist on the classic One Lady cocktail. This is a great option to accompany food; the lemon balm provides a palette cleansing burst while avoiding that minty aftertaste that stops you from enjoying following flavours. A good match is the Bringing Back The Vol-Au-Vent ($15) that is filled with house-made ocean trout tartare, sterling caviar and quail eggs.

The bar menu is considered. Choose from sub-categories such as snacks, bite-size nibbles, sliders and more substantial. And we reckon after cocktail number two, three and four you're going to need to indulge some of Gilt's tasty bites.

Gilt is Sydney's newest CBD hidey hole perfectly suited to sneaky after work drinks for couples, small groups and bona fide cocktail aficionados. The only kind of guilt you'll experience here is that of not having come earlier.

Published on November 19, 2012 by Prudence McKendry

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