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By Monique Lane
February 03, 2013

Hinky Dinks

Step off Darlinghurst Road and into a 1950s where milkshakes have bourbon in them.
By Monique Lane
February 03, 2013

Step off Darlinghurst Road and into the 1950s. The boy's hair is quaffed, the floor is black-and-white chequered, and creamy, frozen drinks come in tall, frosted sundae glasses. Except it's like an American adult milk bar because here, those drinks have (a lot of) bourbon in them.

Hinky Dinks is the kitsch-cool brainchild of Dan Knight and Jeremy Shipley. "We both really love the '50s, in our own personal style as well as the drinks and the lifestyle culture of the era," says Knight. "We were really informed and had a clear vision of what we wanted our bar to look like." It is indeed a very specific theme here. Every detail has been considered, from the uniforms and cherry-red bar stools to the original 1950s Crosley fridge that took four people to move.

Shipley and Knight collaborated with interior designer Rachel Luchetti to achieve the sensory interiors that are modeled on a 1950s kitchen with adjoining lounge area. Every element has been custom built, including spearmint green kitchen cabinets and retro design touches everywhere.

Now, back to the bourbon milkshake. It is made with Makers Mark, in-house all-spice dram, milk, spices, and ice cream and served frappe style. Sitting at the kitchen counter-cum-bar, it's a cool clash between childhood, Americana history, and tasty booze.

Food here is a role call of all the trendy bar snacks kicking around Sydney at the moment — soft tacos, chilli squid, pulled pork sliders, and chicken wings — but here they are relevant to the theme and they are actually damn good. If you're looking for a healthy meal, however, it's probably best you count calories elsewhere.

The best part about Hinky Dinks, and the part that prevents it from falling into the Disney theme category, is the staff. They are passionate bartenders and in such a small space they really make it a warm and fun experience.

They take the time to make you a drink you'll really enjoy, using seasonal produce or twists on classics like the El Mexicano. A take on an Americano with chipotle-infused sweet vermouth, campari, chocolate bitters, soda and blood orange has a nice hum of smoky chilli and chocolatey bitterness, making a surprisingly delicious deviance from the original. There's a concise and approachable wine list and beers on offer, too.

"We wanted it to be fun, engaging, bright, and unique," says Knight. Well bottoms up boys, because that's exactly what Hinky Dinks is.

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