Though opening bars faster than most residents can attend them all is wont for Sydney, staying ahead of the curve in the globally competitive scene that is haute-mixology is another story. The Langham, however, is one group that knows a little bit about the importance of super premium beverages: their London incarnation being the home to “World’s Best Bar”, Artesian.
It’s only fair then, that the anticipation for the opening of their Sydney venue, Observatory, was high, with the stage set for one of the best cocktail bars in the country. During an opening party last Friday evening, the venue proved that it could deliver, and then some.
With Australian-inspired cocktails, free-flowing champagne (literally from a fifteen-litre Nebbuchadnezzar of Pol Roger), and some of the best “bar snacks” (we’re reluctant to use this term, it doesn’t quite feel like it does justice), industry dignitaries and celebrities mingled with media for what turned out to be hours of celebrating a fantastic new venue that has already got tongues wagging around Sydney’s elite social circles.
The deliberately left-of-centre cocktail list has been carefully tweaked to be as confusing as it is refreshing; to reflect unique Australian ingredients as much as it brings some of the world’s best ingredients to Sydneysiders and includes such gems as the Green Ant Martini (Australian Green Ant Gin, Salt Bush, Lemon Myrtle aromatics and Green Ants).
Or a Neap Tide (homemade finger lime sugar syrup, Ironbark distillery wattleseed gin, a splash of Australian sparkling wine, paperbark smoke, a Sydney rock oyster, fresh finger lime and violet), which includes some of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, such as sea asparagus and paperbark smoke.
The man behind such potable curiosities is David Green, previously of Hilton Hotel’s Zeta Bar, and the Hyatt Regency’s Zephyr Sky Lounge–both venues that allowed him to hone his craft and adjust his recipes before taking the helm at The Langham’s flagship drinking hole.
“I wanted to create an exclusive menu and experience that offers our guests the chance to try hard-to-find spirits, rare whiskies and gins, without having to leave Sydney,” says Green, who spent most of the event run off his feet coordinating the most comprehensive beverage offering we’d ever seen at any cocktail party, launch or event.
“The Langham hotels are known for our world famous bars like the award-winning Artesian at The Langham, London. I am proud to present the Observatory Bar, introducing the most evocative cocktails in Sydney curated by our celebrated mixologist, David Green,” added The Langham Sydney General Manager, Gaylord Lamy.
Observatory Bar’s wine list has been written by sommelier Julia Zhu, who spared no expense in decking out the cellar with some seriously opulent drops, including a 2009 Dom Perignon, available by the glass for a cool $160.
Comprehensive drinks program aside, the food offering has seen equal amounts of love, with thanks to star chef Dave Whitting, who said, “The menu takes inspiration from the coveted ‘bar snack’, but we’ve reintroduced them with our own twist and flavour to ensure they make the perfect complement to our cocktails.”
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Observatory though is that, above all else, it’s fun. Though intimate and filled to the brim with astronomical gadgetry, fancy glassware and expensive liquids, it’s a great place to kick back, sink into a chair, or kick up and enjoy the night.
Ours ended with Delta Goodrem wearing a cowboy hat. How will yours?