Tired of only having sugary, soulless mixers to pick from in Sydney bars? PS40 might have a solution to that, having opened the newest bar concept by the creators of PS Soda, an all-natural soda line.
"Instead of an open cellar door, we have an open soda door," says co-founder Michael Chiem (ex-Sokyo, Bulletin Place and the Star's Black by Ezard). Along with business partner Thor Bergquist (ex-Experimental Cocktail Club (ECC) and Der Raum) and creative director Livia Lima (ex-Maud), it's an all-star crew behind this factory's curtain.
This warehouse gem is well-hidden down Skittle Lane and designed with a modern and bright fitout. "It's a soda factory, so we want it to be super playful," says Lima. "Everything is handmade and hand-designed."
The homemade motif extends to the bar, with all PS sodas sourced from local, native produce and made with community input at that; Archie Rose Distillery helped to develop the tonic that would complement their gin and LP's Quality Meats' Luke Powell helped create the lemonade.
An eight-tap bar will include soda taps, with one tap left open for experimental releases, like their collaboration soda made from leftover pomace supplied by Hunter Valley's Thomas Wines. "Collaboration is a big thing for us" says Chiem. "We have close relationships with our suppliers and want suppliers that care about what they're doing." The local love doesn't stop there, with the wine list curated by Lo-Fi Wines and taps from Sydney brewers Wayward and Young Henrys.
All PS Soda will be made and bottled in-house and used for the line of signature cocktails available at PS40. "A mixed drink is the sum of its parts and making our own sodas gives us 100 percent control over the final flavour," says Chiem.
The cocktail menu is as unusual as the sodas, each with its own story. The Stockholm Syndrome ($18) is inspired by Bergquist's time in Sweden. "I wanted to pack all of the flavours of Sweden into this drink — from the gravlax to the pickled things," says Bergquist. We gave it a whirl, and the drink does taste of fresh sea air with a mixture of cumin and dill infused vodka, Aquavit, lemon and pink Himalayan salt.
Double the Funk ($19) is another crazy concoction that just works — bourbon mixed with passionfruit husk, fermented pineapple and pickled raspberry. "This drink is a bit of a tropical kitsch," says Bergquist.
Many of the ingredients found in the cocktails will be reflected in the food menu, which is focused on "preserves and reserves" made in-house along with a selection of Banh Mi inspired by Chiem's mum.
Images: Alana Dimou
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