I like a beard as much as the next person. And Star Wars even more. But there’s one thing that trumps both, and that’s beer. Combine the three, add some nana style seating, and you’ve got for yourself Cartel – the only bar on Caxton Street that delivers in hops, Han Solo and hair.
Propped just across from Lefty’s, a dozen steps from Barracks, and equal distance between Casablanca and Oz Kebab (convenient) Cartel isn’t as hidden as it sounds, but is a gem none-the-less. Predating the recent Caxton facelift that saw Brewski, Statler and Waldorf and Lefty's set up shop, this homely bar sells itself on more than just comfy couches and craft beer – it’s got service as well.
Brace yourself. On ordering you’ll probably get asked how you are? If you like the beer? What’s in store for the evening? And it won’t sound forced either. The guys here have legitimate, non-snobbish sincerity about them which is often lost in the new, boutique, prim-proper-and-proud bar scene. Relish this.
Notably, Cartel has a finely curated collection of all the best craft beer behind the bar, and crisply refrigerated like a good beer should be. They stock a healthy range of Little Creatures, Holgates, Mountains Goats, Brooklyn Breweries and the palest of ales. If you haven’t had a Whale Ale before – here’s the place to have it. Or if you’d rather something less… beery? opt for a Twisted Tea or Lick Pier.
In absence of food service at Cartel, comes freedom – if you want food, you go get it, bring it back and politely share (this isn’t a Cartel rule, but didn’t your mum teach you manners?). There’s Caxton Thai down the road, a Crust that will deliver and a Coles at Barracks that has a pretty great dip selection - even the ones with two dips in one container.
Whether you’re craving the comfort that comes in having a ‘local’, need a quiet joint to predrink, or haven’t watched Back to the Future for a while, Cartel is your more-than-one-stop shop. Hike on over, give them a hey, grab a beer and sit back, and relax in the grog loving geek’s Mecca.