Gorgeous George Bar
This extravagant bar is named after a famously OTT 1950s wrestler.
It has extremely rare Japanese whisky, a $30 wagyu katsu sando and gold-flecked cocktails. We think Gorgeous George, the platinum-haired, flamboyant 1950s wrestler, would approve of his new namesake bar in Sydney.
Run by the team behind fellow Darlinghurst bar The Long Goodbye — Flynn McLennan, Kirsten Snitzer and Dennis Jen — Gorgeous George is a far cry from its speakeasy-style sister. McLennan says the bar, like them (and like George), is "not very serious". Instead, it's "a little bit flamboyant, a little cheeky and a bit fancy".
The space, formerly home to Mister Pocket, is certainly fancy, decked out with gold, burgundy and lush leather banquettes, and with antique bottles lining the exposed brick walls. It's a bit cheeky, too — you'll find a drawing poking fun at the US president on the back wall.
The flamboyant third of the equation is reflected in the drinks. As well as the aforementioned gold-flecked Tiger Mask (made with green tea gin, champagne and yuzu), there's a red velvet twist on a rob roy with cacao vermouth, beetroot and peated scotch; a hot poached pear drink made with glühwein reduction and armagnac; and the Fight Milk, which blends smoked porter, vanilla-bean infused rum and brandy custard.
Then, there's the drink we think George would most certainly choose: the Chanel No 10. As well as draping himself in furs and lace, one of George's more extravagant habits was to spray down the wrestling ring with 'Chanel No 10' perfume before each match. This drinkable ode to the perfume is made with saffron and rose-infused lillet blanc, vodka, gin and is served with a spray of osmanthus fragrans (sweet olive) mist. According to McLennan, it's like a "really intense, very dry martini".
As well as all the cocktails, the bar is pouring some very rare whiskies, koji spirit and gins that the team picked up on a recent trip to Japan. You can try drops from now-closed distilleries, including the final vintage of Hanyu, a special bottle of Gingko and a 21-year-old Hibiki. Despite some of these bottles costing as much as $4000, McLennan is selling everything for under $100 a shot (a relative bargain).
Like the spirits, the ten-item food menu (with one rotating sweet option) has a distinct Japanese lean. It's overseen by chef Jack New (Icebergs, Sokyo) and features gochujang chicken wings (which you may've tried during his stint at Darlinghurst's now-closed Edition), crispy salt and sancho pepper enoki and sweet and salty kombu almonds.
Bigger items include the 'sushi tacos' — where tortillas are replaced by sticky rice and served with nori sheets and salmon — and one very luxe wagyu katsu sando. Coming in at $30 ($4 more expensive than this $26 french dip we wrote extensively about), it's made from Cornflake-crusted highly marbled wagyu, crustless white bread and shiitake mustard.
In the near future, Gorgeous George is looking to start up weekend brunches and invite-only omakase dinners for regulars. We'll let you know when any of those launch.
Images: Kimberley Low.