If this is your first visit, click here to see what the hell it is we’re doing. If you want to see a picture of a Wookie playing baseball, click here. It’s okay. You can do both.
Speaking of Wookies (nice), remember how awesome the whole Star Wars thing was before Jar Jar Binks brought his special CGI brand of suckage to the franchise? A good bar is Star Wars. Bad service in a good bar is Jar Jar Binks.
All the colours of the rainbow. Well, two of them.
SHE’S A BRICK. HOUSE. The Different Drummer is a red hot spunk of a bar to look at. Drunkenly walking the tightrope between quirky and contemporary, it bathes itself in red light, bare brick, turquoise padding and artsy burlap, excusing itself to burp out a few endearing accessories. Really, of all the wall-mounted, three-dimensional, mirror-tailed peacocks we’ve seen, this one would have to be in the top five.
You may make your cock joke... NOW.
This decor is ON like Donkey Kong. No, seriously. They have Donkey Kong. See?
You have to get the thing up the... thing. To save the thi- yeah, we've never played this game.
They also have a spiral staircase. Spiral staircases are like speed for us. BECAUSE THEY FUCKING ROCK!!!
There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold. And she's buying a cocktail.
A two-level establishment, the Drummer (see how cool we are? We’re on a second-name basis with a bar) has three sections downstairs (front bar, mid-section tables and back covered courtyard), and an additional two rooms upstairs, good for functions and being able to see. Downstairs is so dark you can barely see your hand in front of your drink, but we likes our drinking to be done in the dark. We don’t know if this is a comment on our self esteem, but it just makes us feel more willing to get amongst it. The darkness isn’t a problem unless you’re trying to take notes, doing arts and crafts or defusing a landmine. Luckily, we were only doing one of those things. We might be good at drinking, but we suck at multi-tasking.
Lorin and Kage order by braille.
The red light boxes that run the walls of the establishment help with the visibility. Whoever doesn’t think that red is an amazing colour is obviously colour blind. You know what else is sexy? An illuminated fish tank. This bar just wants me to get it on and I haven’t even had a drink yet.
Sorry, but Lorin and the lighting concept would like to be alone.
DIGGING YOU LIKE A... YOU KNOW Now, in most of our reviews, we mention the music in bars as a kind of aside, using words like ‘unobtrusive’ and ‘background’. Not so for the funky Drummer – music is a feature, and a perfectly matched and joyously executed one. When we arrive, Triple J’s Like A Version compilation is playing, and then the DJ starts. A tiny DJ booth (and ‘booth’ is generous – let’s say ‘bit’) in one corner was used to magnificent effect with original vinyl crackly motown, soul, funk and jazz. Cat knew what he was doing, man, and Linda Lyndell clearly approved. Hands up who doesn’t like Motown? Oh, you don't? While it’s been a pleasure to write for you, I think this relationship has run its course and it’s time for you to leave. Now. No, just go.
Now look what you've done. He's packing up his ace choons and going home.
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT Clientele is primarily late-twenties Glebesque – fedoras next to puffy sleeves next to floppy ankle boots next to questionably necessary spectacles and stovepipe scruff – an interestingly groovy throng who probably know the definition of ‘irony’.
THE TOILETS AIN'T HALF BAD, NEITHER The toilets are black-tiled and red-doored, with possibly the most consistently roomy cubicles in Sydney. You could do high-kicks in there while you were spending a penny, if you were better at multi-tasking than we are.
NOSH ME BABY, ONE MORE TIME One of the most endearing things about the Different Drummer, though, is the food. Oh, sweet unicorns in space, the food is good. It’s all non-traditional tapas style, and arrives quickly, ready to be crammed first onto your table and then into your mouth. We tried the pan-fried potatoes with garlic mayonnaise (crispo-delicious), duck wontons with hoi sin sauce (cruncho-spectacular - you should probably know that these are little gifts from heaven) trevally & chive croquettes with wasabi mayonnaise (hot, tasty and yes I’ll have a bath in that mayonnaise please, my god how I love thee) and rare chunks of eye fillet with a blue cheese and vodka sauce. Jesus Marvin Christ. If sex tasted like cheese and vodka, this would be the most pornographic dish ever. Wait a second – sex does taste like cheese and vodka! Does... doesn’t it?
Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES!DRINKY DRINKY
First things first: impressions of the two barmen on main drink-constructing duty. Very attractive gentlemen (although Bill Cosby is gonna be pissed when he realises one of his jumpers is missing). Both of them approached us to take our order, and we were a little excited to be served by them. This feeling didn’t last too long, as when we placed our order they just rolled with the punches, no chit chat, no nothin'. We’ve seen more warmth in a polar bear’s nipple. Fine, don’t make us think we have a chance, we don’t even care. FINE.
Theeeeen, one of them put the straws into our drinks with his fingers right over the mouth-holes. Yep. Anyway....
Have you ever seen Jo's impressed face? Yeah, this isn't it.
LORIN: Vodka and dry: Not a bad drink, they didn’t ask what kind of vodka I would like but what they used was quite nice. The dry was well balanced but on the weaker side of things. Squeezed lime, tick.
Cocktail: When we went to order our next drinks I decided to ask the bar tender if he had any suggestions, giving the man a chance to demonstrate his knowledge and skills while enabling him to talk himself up. The conversation went as follows: Him: What would you like? Me: What would you suggest? Him; (shrugged) what do you like? Me: Nothing too sweet, I don’t mind a bit... this is where I trailed off as the man then turned around to make our other drinks and did not listen. I thought maybe he would realise I had stopped talking and turn back around to ask me to continue, but no. At this point I turned to Jo and said “Well, I guess that conversation is over” and it was. WHAT?! What the F@#k is that about? He didn’t seem to be in a bad mood at all, that just seemed to be his style. He really just seemed like he had better people to serve than me. Ok, you’re attractive and can make a drink, this does not mean you have to be an arrogant twat.
These glasses are the warmest things in this photo.
Anyway, I ordered from the seasonal menu and got a Umbercue, which was muddled cucumber, Hendricks gin, lemon and tonic. I reluctantly tell you it was awesome. The bastard is arrogant, but he can make a cocktail. Not too sweet, ridiculously refreshing, and went down WAY too easily. This cocktail was so refreshing it felt like I should be out playing a game of tennis. If only you were allowed to smash the bar tender instead of the ball, I’d be set.
Pretty colours and an empty tip-tray.
JO: First up, my gin and tonic was really good – a barely perceptible sweet note pushing through cold, fresh sharpness with a wedge of lime. Serve that in a thick-walled, tiny glass crammed with ice, though, and you’ve got about three big sips’ worth. Drinks are very reasonably priced, but I still would’ve liked more for my money.
Must... get... more... up... straw.
The first cocktail I tried was from the regular cocktail menu - a Mexican Slipper – tequila, melon liqeur, lemon and pineapple juice. It was one of those cocktails that tastes non-alcoholic, so I could’ve knocked them back like water, pausing only to pluck the cherry garnish from its stem in that adorable way I do. Not too sweet or face-slappingly tart, the balance of flavours was just right. Speaking of face-slapping, our companion Kage’s Ginger & Apple cooler (vodka, ginger & apple syrup, apple juice, dry ginger ale) delivered a knockout punch with rings on. My last drink, and currently a dangerous habit, was a dirty gin martini, which was generous with everything including the olive brine, which isn’t always a good thing. Salty as hell, but otherwise fine.
Both cloudy and fine. And a little bit squiggly.
This bar does a lot of things well, and happy hour daily from 6 - 7:30pm, two for one cocktails is great value in anyone’s book. They don't just stick to the classics - they have a few sours and mexican delights to fill out the menu, and with the average price of a cocktail beng around $15, you can get quite a bit of value for yourself. All in all, decent drinks, gorgeous surroundings and incredible food were tarnished by snotty, couldn’t-give-a-shit service. When you feel like apologising to a barman for inconveniencing him by having the gall to ask for a drink, something’s wrong. We’d much prefer to go somewhere that made us feel welcome than go somewhere too cool for normal human interaction. With the simple addition of friendliness, the result would be vastly different.
We should be scoring higher, but alas, we can only offer two and a half three dimensional wall peacocks out of five.
Pfffft. We said ‘cock’.