It's no secret that Darlinghurst's most recently renovated underground hangout, Tatler, has somewhat of a past. Previously a preferred destination for the who's who in and around Sydney to hide away until the early morning hours, among other (ahem) things, it is now, you'll be pleased to know, a sophisticated, late-licensed venue with a mighty fine drinks menu and an open door for all.
Well, by 'all' we mean it's certainly the place for you if the kind of post-soiree leftovers you find in your kitchen could make a cute little cheese or meat board, as according to Tim Clark (previous staff member at ye olde Tatler and one half of the Sydney duo behind the reopening), that's the food menu's exact inspiration. If this isn't you, then fear not, you're still in luck. For at this dark and stylishly broody cocktail lounge, the most important elements are just that.
The cocktail list has been created with an eye for flavour infusion (and by the looks of the tiki-tattooed bartender, lots of love) and there are plenty of magical libations for one to sip on. My standout was the Macka from Brasil of Cachaça Sagatiba (premium Brazilian rum), fresh muddled limes, strawberry, ginger beer and orgeat syrup ($18): the sweetness was delightfully balanced and, you can't go wrong with fruity and flamboyant in this particular eastern suburb.
Those of you who love a show, if it's not too busy, order up an Old Fashioned Diplomatico. This take on the classic comes with vanilla syrup, orange bitters and Diplomatico Reserva Rum and for an extra dollar or two, is smoked in front of your eyes under a heavy glass cake lid ($19). Another notable concoction is the Bums Rush a sweet tequila-based number served in a tiki mug ($19) but be wary of the four-part Negroni if you're not a fan of the fourth part. It's a little port-heavy.
Forget the sins of tampering with a classic for a second, however, because throw in a seriously fabulous, custom-crafted gold ceiling; plenty of handpicked furniture; an entirely unrecognisable outside area and local photography hanging from the sandstone walls across four, distinctly different areas, and you're likely to while away many an hour.
It's not perfect just yet, but with the kitchen staying open until close, live DJs and jazz throughout the week, it looks like Tatler might just make a whole new name for itself.