Swashbuckling pirates and their landlocked mistresses can find solace from the high seas at Manly's Moonshine Rum and Cider Bar.
Deep red leather chesterfield booths are dimly lit by overhead lanterns, providing a mellow and intimate setting. Casanovas be warned, this is not the setting for a romantic evening for two. On Thursdays and Sundays live folk rock music leads the crowd from a toe tap into a full-blown jig, giving you the sense that the rigging scattered throughout the tavern style room is the only thing keeping the hedonistic excess from spilling out onto the streets.
The Moonshine crew takes their craft seriously and their house policy is clear, nailed above the bar for all to see: 'If you seek cocktails, try Hemingways'. With over 100 rums to choose from, staff simplify the process by stowing their personal favourites in a hammock strung up above the lengthy distressed timber bar. The burly, bearded, bikie/pirate lookalike behind the bar recommends the El Dorado, which is smooth and served, as it should be, on ice with lime.
If you don't share the same fire in your belly for rum, try one of the many boutique ciders on tap, brewed across Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The barman's choice for something sweet is the Apple Thief Pink Lady Cider, which is lightly carbonated with a clean flavour, and tart finish. Our choice is a pint of Batlow Premium Cider, which packs a fuller flavour than most.
Moonshine stands out from the usual Corso crowd — a happy blend between Manly's picturesque waterfront setting and a venue that knows how to baton down the hatches and have a good time.