Newtown bar Tandem lives up to its moniker in a multitude of ways, but, mainly, it speaks to the coming together of community that really makes a neighbourhood bar your local.
"I was inspired by the level of togetherness I felt during my time working in bars in Copenhagen," explains owner Peter Lynn. "Something about riding your bike to a friendly cafe and having someone remember your order is both wholesome and satisfying."
To that effect, the intimate Scandi-influenced cocktail bar boasts four distinct spaces, designed with that famed hygge in mind; you'll feel cosy no matter how many people are spread throughout the venue. There's the main bar, a comfy lounge dubbed the 'living room', an outdoor courtyard complete with fairy lights and a roomy upstairs 'loft'. Its vibe is comparable with that of Corridor, which sits just a few doors down on King Street, but with more space and a lighter, well, Scandi design.
The thoughtful approach and community vibe extends its reach to the drinks offering, which shines a spotlight on passionate local businesses and producers. An environmentally conscious cocktail lineup features sips like the Lightly Buzzed, blending Adelaide Hills sparkling wine, Sydney's own Poor Toms Gin and eco-friendly sorbet from Gelato Blue down the street. Most of the bar's perishable ingredients get a second life, too, thanks to some clever upcycling in cocktails like the Thrift Shop Fizz, crafted with Scandinavian spirit aquavit, lemon, tonic and a foam made of recycled rosemary and orange garnishes.
Overall, it's a drinks list designed to inspire a sense of adventure and break you out of the ol' comfort zone. Especially with a part of the cocktail menu dedicated entirely to the gin-like aquavit. Similar to how gins must have juniper as its dominant botanical flavour, this spirit requires a heavy dose of caraway and/or dill seed in order to receive its 'water of life' moniker. Enjoy it simply with tonic or in a tasting flight, or opt for one of the seven aquavit cocktails available. The Copenhagen Spritz offers a new take on the summer's number one drink with aquavit, French herbal liqueur Suze, earl grey oleo and soda, and the Martini Aurora combines Australian native ingredients with the Scandi native, mixing together aquavit, pepperberry, dill, orange bitters and dry vermouth.
You'll also find beers from female-led Two Birds Brewing on tap and in tins alongside local brews from Grifter and Wayward. There's an almost all Aussie selection of wines, too. As for food, the menu is small but stays in theme with the likes of sweet pickled herring on rye or 'Danish Burgers' provided by local burger joint Loaded by BL.
Tandem is a spot where your comfort is number one, so get cosy and neighbourly in the open front window or nestle into the courtyard. Time your visit right, and you may even arrive just in time for the very comfy happy hour, offering $6 pale ale and $12 Aperol spritzes Tuesday to Saturday from 5–7pm.
Images: Newtown Photography.