Life was already pretty dandy for the residents of Summer Hill. This leafy inner-west slice of paradise is well-known for its large family parks, tennis courts, trendy cafes and a local barber who stands out the front of his shop greeting everyone who walks by. Now, just to rub it in our faces, they have a really awesome small bar.
Located on the main intersection, where Smith Street meets Lackey, The Temperance Society sprawls over two narrow levels, weaving in and out of rooms like a family home. Upstairs there’s a brightly wallpapered library filled with Chesterfield lounges, leather-bound books and the smell of rich mahogany. It looks like they’ve taken inspiration from Ron Burgundy’s apartment. Downstairs there’s the bar, a fairy-lit courtyard and various intimate nooks on the way.
The primary focus is the drinks list, which showcases quality bevvies from within a 7km radius. On tap there’s Young Henrys cider; a fruity German-style Zonnebeke witbier by Marrickville’s Batch Brewery; a malty, red rye ale by Chippendale’s Ironbridge Brewery; and a clean and grassy Convict Lager by The Rocks Brewing Co. Drinks can be bought via the pot/pint/jug ($5/$10/$17.50) depending on the intensity of your night, and for most, it’s just a short stumble home to bed anyway. Lucky bastards.
Cocktails also play up the local theme. The Lackey Street Lush ($14) combines vodka and cloudy apple, every 20-year-old’s favourite drink, or there’s the Smith St Society Classic ($18), a thick and spicy tropical punch filled with hunks of fresh orange, dark rum, caramelised brown sugar and ginger beer. The crowd-pleaser is the Little Myrtle ($18), which is made with Botanica’s lemon myrtle liqueur, elderflower syrup and a toothpick threaded with blueberries. It has the delicious lemon fizz of a melted Calippo.
The star of the spirits list is the Sullivan’s Cove ($68), a luxury small batch whisky recently named best Australian single malt at the World Whiskies Awards, although you’ll need to have a few drinks first before you’re convinced to hand over the cash.
Bar snacks consist of quick and easy cold charcuterie platters. Choose from a rabbit, quail and pistachio terrine ($9), sourced from Marrickville’s Black Forrest Smokehouse and served with pickled green tomatoes, or there’s a cheese plate ($9) with Hunter Valley Cheese Co. cheddar, pickles, onion and relish. The dip platter ($5.50) includes two dips homemade by a local Lebanese resident and served with a mountain of sliced sourdough. For the ridiculously cheap prices, it’s surprising to find the serving sizes extra generous. One plate between two will have you cancelling your dinner plans.
The Temperance Society is a charming old-world bar serving quality local drinks at unbeatable prices. I hate you Summer Hill.