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Since I Left You

This Sydney courtyard bar could be your CBD paradise.
By Monique Lane
February 25, 2016
By Monique Lane
February 25, 2016

Let's get the obvious out of the way: yes, the bar is named after the song from The Avalanches. I can't imagine how many times a night they get asked this, but the bar staff remain good humoured about it. "I liked the opening lyrics," says owner Nick White. "Watch the steps, get a drink, have a good time, now, welcome to paradise."

It's no secret the small bars of Sydney are facing some tough times at the moment, so it was great to revisit Since I Left You (SILY) a few years on and see that not only is it still open, but things are looking — and tasting — better than before. 

The bar, located near Wynyard, recently acquired a lively urban courtyard, decorated with a large mural and softened by some plants and twinkly lights. It's a great setting for the regular live music and, in the current climate of lockouts and restrictions, does restore a sense of humanity to the bar scene.

SILY's cocktail list is the creation of bar manager Sebastian Gonzales. It's a good looking list, though a few drinks few veer on the sweet side for my tastes. A standout drink features the super smooth Hakushu Japanese whisky rounding out a concoction of plum wine and ginger Cognac in the Simpsons-referenced cocktail A Single Plum, Floating in Perfume, Served in a Man's Hat ($20). The Torch Carrier ($18) — a riff on a pisco sour — is pleasantly sharp, and a classic Negroni is made with care and precision.

Crostini is a word that normally fills me with dread, but here it's DIY with toppings and golden toasts arriving separately. You assemble a mouthful to your own liking — in this case with pickled octopus , 'nduja, piquillo peppers and aioli ($18). Which had me liking a lot. 

The toasties are seriously good too, and the exact kind of thing you want at 11pm. There's a good range of local and international wines and a few beers and ciders. With outdoor seating and a CBD location, it's not surprising SILY is packed with the post-work crowd and lots of third dates. Paradise is hard to find, but we certainly got a drink and had a real good time.

Images: Bodhi Liggett

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